2022 Black Hills Stock Show Silver Spur Hall of Fame: Haven Stuck
From the vantage point out his ninth floor office window overlooking Rapid City and the Black Hills, Haven Stuck can see the place he calls home.
Stuck, a lawyer, has been living in the Black Hills since he graduated from law school in 1975.
Four years after graduation, he became a member of the Central States Fair Board and in 1982, he became chairman of the board.
He is the 2022 inductee into the Silver Spur Hall of Fame for the Black Hills Stock Show.
Stuck’s involvement with livestock goes back to his rural roots.
Growing up on a farm near Mellette, S.D., his family raised and sold registered Angus cattle. He showed cattle at the S.D. State Fair in 4H and open class and at other shows as well.
After earning an animal science degree at South Dakota State University and his masters in economics in 1972, he decided to attend law school, graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1975. His ROTC service in college segued into two years with the US Army as an officer, assigned to the headquarters of the Third Armored Division in Frankfurt, Germany.
Stuck was chairman of the fair when it moved from the fairgrounds to the Civic Center in 1982.
The rodeo had moved to the Civic Center a couple years prior, but it was time to move the horse and cattle shows and sales due to a lack of room and facilities that weren’t winterized.
There were logistics to work out when moving hundreds of head of horses and cattle and people as well, and all the equipment it takes to house the animals.
“The real question,” Stuck said, “was how could the Civic Center be home to that much livestock over a ten-day period? Can the HVAC system handle it? How do we prepare the Civic Center for it, and how do we get everything moved out and back to normal at the end?”
The decision was made to give it a try, he said. The first year “wasn’t real smooth, but the lumps got ironed out, and it’s been great.”
He credits the volunteers who serve on the committee.
“We have a tremendous number of volunteers, and many of them have done specific jobs over the years so they are very well trained, and they can carry on things like the horse and cattle sales and shows, so that really helps.”
Stuck served on the board for the Central States Fair from 1979-1982 and has continued to volunteer his time.
As a lawyer, he has helped with legal assistance, such as trademarks, copyrights, contracts and insurance issues.
In 2004, he set up the Central States Fair Foundation, a 501-c-3 organization, and has been chairman of the foundation board since it began.
The foundation helps in raising awareness and financial assistance for the Central States Fair and the Black Hills Stock Show. It hosts several fundraisers, including art auctions, calcuttas, and more. Monies raised go for improvements such as a new sound system, LED lighting, an electric sign at the entrance, and restoration of the older buildings on the grounds that have historical significance.
“We’re trying to do something every year,” Stuck said. “Over the years, the foundation has funded many improvements.”
He and the board are working to cultivate the foundation. “We’re a fairly small foundation. But we’re trying to make it grow through sponsored events, gifts and legacies. We have a permanent endowment, so we can do scholarships and other things that help the fair and the stock show.”
He’s been with the Lynn Jackson Shultz and Lebrun law firm for over 46 years, focusing mainly on business and real estate work. In addition to his legal work, he ranches. With the help of his daughter, Taylor, he has a cow/calf operation in Pennington County. Their barn has been the venue for many events hosted by local and national organizations.
He and his wife Terri, married in 1984, have traveled extensively, visiting all seven continents and seventy countries. The law firm offers a sabbatical program, allowing its employees to take extended trips to “get away from things, do something different and see something different.”
The couple has been to Antarctica, which he “really recommends, the icebergs, the seals, the penguins, the whales.” They’ve been to the Himalayas in Bhutan and Nepal, have visited the Outback in Australia, and been on wildlife safaris in Kenya and Tanzania.
Traveling “really opens your eyes to what’s happening with other people and it gives you a lot of respect for and knowledge of people in other countries.”
His role as a volunteer with the Central States Fair and the Black Hills Stock Show has been fulfilling, especially when he sees the people who come to town for the stock show, and later in the year, for the fair and rodeo in August.
People “really enjoy coming to Rapid City from hundreds of miles away, spending time here. I love seeing the activity that surrounds the stock show. The restaurants and hotels are full and there’s a lot of activity in and around the Civic Center and the fairgrounds.”
One of the biggest changes Stuck has seen with the stock show is an increase in the number of exhibitors and livestock. The show has added several new cattle breeds, and the horse sale used to last a day and now it lasts “a long two days,” he said. And the number of visitors has grown as well. “We’ve seen a lot of growth. It’s become an even more popular event.”
The growth in events and people has filled to capacity the large Civic Center Complex. Some events and part of the trade show now take place at the James Kjerstad Events Center at the Fairgrounds.
His life as a lawyer, rancher and volunteer with the stock show has a common thread: agriculture.
“I grew up raising cattle and being a part of the state fair in Huron,” Stuck said. “It was a natural for me to get involved here, and to get back into the cattle business. And the law practice melds into that, too.”
In addition to his daughter, he and Terri have a son, Logan, and his wife, Lotus, who live in the Netherlands.
Stuck’s resume also includes stints as the chairman of the boards of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce, and the South Dakota Investment Council. He is a member of the South Dakota Stock Growers Association, the Western South Dakota Buckaroos, and Custer’s Trail Riders.
2022 Black Hills Stock Show Stockmen of the Year: Ray and Linda Gilbert
Anyone who is lucky enough to take home a pint of Linda Gilbert’s canned beef is getting a treat.
And each jar, sealed with cubes of beef and rich gravy in it, is a symbol of what Linda and her husband Ray Gilbert stand for: taking what the grass and the cattle give them, and turning it into sustenance for friends and family.
The Gilberts are honored as the Silver Spur Stockman of the Year for the Black Hills Stock Show.
They ranch ten miles southeast of Buffalo, S.D., with a commercial Angus cattle and a cow/calf operation.
Ray was thirteen years old when his dad, Lloyd, passed away, leaving the fourth generation, Ray, his sister and their mother, Helga, to run the place.
Linda was born to Ken and Ruth Halligan in Valentine, Neb., and grew up near Pierre on a ranch.
The two met while in school at South Dakota State University and married in 1970. They came back to Buffalo and began ranching.
It wasn’t always easy. Prices were low, days were long, and there wasn’t always enough money to pay bills.
But they persevered, learning and adapting as times changed.
The climate in the northwest corner of the state is harsh, nearly arid, with sandy soil. It required a delicate balance between caring for the land and making a profit on a ranch.
The Gilberts found that balance. Forty years ago, they changed their operation to rotational grazing, adding twenty miles of electric cross fencing and not putting cattle out to graze till June 1, to allow the warm season grasses a chance to get started.
It was a good move. Since then, they’ve doubled the carrying capacity of the ranch and improved the quality of the grasses, too.
“We had a lot of prairie sand reed grass,” Ray said, “so we were just trying to figure out a way to get some use out of it. One of the things we researched was we could rotate graze it, and we did. And we’re still getting tremendous use out of it.”
They’ve noticed the native grasses are returning because of the rotational grazing, he said. “We’re getting a lot of western wheat grass and blue grama, a variety of grasses coming up within those pastures.”
They don’t put up a lot of hay, either, allowing cattle to graze instead of feeding them bales. “We feel like the cattle are the best way to harvest that grass,” Linda said. “We try to use the resources that are here.”
At one time, they added yearlings and sheep to supplement income, and Linda went back to college, cramming 54 credit hours in seven months, so she could teach school. She taught for three years, getting them over the financial hump, “paying for insurance, all those things a ranch wife does.”
The couple competed in rodeo in their younger days, Ray as a steer wrestler in high school, college, and the pros, and Linda barrel raced in college. But once they came back to the ranch, they quit. “It was too hard to travel and be gone” from the ranch, Linda said.
Ray and Linda have two children: a son, Lloyd, who is married to Patty, and a daughter, Andrea. Both of them competed in rodeo; Lloyd won championships in high school and college as a steer wrestler. Now the next generation is getting in on it. Lloyd and Patty’s daughter Sawyer and son Grey are rodeo competitors. Sawyer was just crowned the 2021 WPRA Breakaway World Champion. Ray and Linda were in Las Vegas to watch her compete. “It’s pretty fun to cheer for a world champion,” she laughed. “I can’t deny that.”
Grey is a junior in high school and competes in the steer wrestling, like his dad and granddad did. His great-granddad, Ken Halligan, rode broncs. Grey is the 2021 S. D. High School Rodeo steer wrestling champion and won fourth at the National High School Finals.
The kids and grandkids are part of the team on the ranch that Ray’s parents incorporated in 1962. “They’re very involved in it. They know about the grasses, the rotation, they work really hard. We really miss them when they’re gone and we have to work cattle without them.”
“As we sit here, Sawyer is taking out salt and mineral,” Linda said. “We like to keep it real. We don’t put them on a pedestal.”
The grandkids are just as capable as their parents and grandparents, Linda said. “We could walk away today and Sawyer and Grey could run this ranch. They’ve been out there from the beginning.”
The Gilberts are well-invested in their community, too. Ray and Linda have served as directors of the S.D. Stock Growers Association. Ray was on the Resource Ag Council for the BLM, was a Harding County Stock Growers director, a director and president of the Western S.D. Buckaroos, a volunteer with the group that hosted the Harding County High School Rodeo, and, in college, a regional director for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Linda was a S.D. High School Rodeo director and state secretary, was on the Harding County School Board, the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation, the S.D. Grasslands Coalition, and was appointed to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Both she and Ray were 4-H leaders when their kids were young.
“We feel really strongly that you need to give back to your community,” she said.
They are always trying to learn new things. “We try to be lifelong learners,” Linda said. “We utilize what we have, because it’s a gift that we’re given, to have this land, and we need to take care of it.”
Linda’s canned meat ends up at fundraisers and auctions, and in the hands of friends and strangers. She’s given it to people who have never tried it and they are hooked on its good flavor.
She calls it “steak in a jar,” and with a good seal, it lasts indefinitely.
It’s even been found in the trailer of their granddaughter Sawyer, the world champ.
“I sent jars of it with her in her trailer,” Linda said. “So no matter where she is, she has a good protein source. Maybe that’s what made the world title for her,” she laughed.
She and Ray find pleasure in their kids and grandkids.
“It’s exciting to see ideas come to fruition,” Linda said. “The beef industry is always a tough one. There’s never been a big margin and you’re always on the edge of being broke, or a big drought, or something.
“But the excitement, when your children can saddle their own horses, and they talk about what bulls they want, and when you see the calves that come in, that makes us feel like we’ve done something right.
“It’s easy to second guess yourself in this business. Your faith has to be strong, that God will be with you, but also that you’re where you want to be.”
The couple has great hope for the next generations.
“I think our generation was lucky because we could stay so focused. For Lloyd, Patty and Andrea’s generation, they have outside influences, and it’s certainly going to be very different for Sawyer and Grey. They will all have different goals and that’s a good thing for this industry.
“And there’s room for everybody and everybody’s ideas.”
2022 Black Hills Stock Show Horse People of the Year: Paul & Jana Griemsman
Paul and Jana Griemsman of Griemsman Performance Horses were “shocked” to hear that they had been selected for Horse People of the Year by the Black Hills Stock Show committee, but for anyone who knows their reputation, it is no surprise. The BHSS livestock and marketing director, Amanda Kammerer, says the Griemsmans are huge players in the horse industry and are very involved in the horse sale. They were chosen by a nomination process and selected by the committee.
2022 will mark two decades the Griemsmans have consigned horses to the Black Hills Stock Show Truck Defender Horse Sale. According to them, it’s their primary sale of the year. “We don’t prepare anywhere close to this many horses for any other sale,” they said.
Paul and Jana met while attending college at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming in 1995. They dated for several years, were married in 2002, and have a son, Laken, who is 7 years old.
Paul has roped, trained, and marketed horses for his entire life. He is most notably a “switch-ender,” as capable of winning on the head side as the heel side. As a header, he won the 1995 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association title, is a Mountain States Circuit Champion, and in 1997 was 16th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings. As a heeler, he was the 2010 Badlands Circuit Finals Champion and Dodge National Circuit Finals Champion. These abilities with a rope complement his career perfectly, as he is able to use his talents to put solid foundations on rope horse prospects.
Jana has an impressive rodeo resumé, as well. She was the Badlands Circuit reserve champion barrel racer in 2007, and ten years later, she was crowned the Badlands Circuit Finals Average and Year-End Champion in 2017. The same year, she was 18th in the world, nearly making the National Finals Rodeo, until her horse tragically got sick and later passed away. She was inducted into the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center’s Hall of Champions in 2021.
Jana, along with her sister, NFR qualifier Jill Moody, has always enjoyed riding barrel horses. Jana was a radiology technologist for 10 years in Rapid City, but later found her true calling was right at home. “I’d be at work all day and come home and try to ride, and I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t what I want to do,’” she says. Paul was more than supportive and told her, “Quit–and let’s do this together.”
Both Paul and Jana ride their sale geldings, but Jana also tends to the finer details that keep the operation running. Like most rodeo and ranch wives, she wears many hats: at-home veterinarian, cook, cleaner, videographer, but says that her most important role is being a mother.
It takes a unique relationship to work together on a daily basis, but the Griemsmans work toward a common goal, which makes it simple. “We’re both working for what is ours. The better we work together, the more we grow our business and the better it is for our horses. We know what needs to be done and we do it,” says Jana.
Most of all, the pair love horses. “We do this to make a living, but yet we do it for the horse,” they say. They always encourage potential clients to come try horses and visit with them to find the right fit. “We want them to go to their forever home,” they say. The end goal is a happy horse and a happy owner.
Their motto is “Honest horses, honest answers,” and the Griemsmans strive to maintain that reputation with every interaction. With their combined decades of expertise, they are able to determine whether a horse is right for a person or not. “Obviously you can’t make everybody happy, but we really do try,” says Paul.
Samantha Johnson of SJ Equine Promotions does the bulk of the marketing for Griemsman Performance Horses and plays an indispensable role. She takes professional photos of sale or promotional horses, takes and produces videos, manages websites and social media accounts. Working with Paul Griemsman sparked her business. “I give Paul all the credit for getting my business started. In the beginning he even set my prices for me because I had no idea what I was doing,” she says. Paul and Jana are grateful for her work, as it leaves them time to spend with their horses and family.
The couple are enjoying teaching the next generation, their son, although there is no pressure from them to compete. Paul and Jana believe that raising Laken in the western lifestyle, surrounded by grounded people, will provide their child with the foundation to respect people and animals and show kindness to all.
The Griemsmans appreciate the work the BHSS committee does with the horse sale, saying that it gets bigger and better every year. “We love it. We think the location change has been a huge convenience for the buyers and the sellers, which keeps everybody happy,” they say. Overall, the committee is a pleasure to work with, open to suggestions, and they have always been pleased with the job they do. “It’s our hometown Stock Show, so we’ll do everything we can to promote it,” Jana says.
In the past, the Griemsmans have consigned the high selling horse at the BHSS Summer Sale in 2019, and they have also been the second-high sellers in the winter sale. In 2022, they will ride 12 total horses in the sale, with three personal and nine customer horses.
Acording to the Griemsmans, the Black Hills Stock Show draws “friends from near and far” to Rapid City during the winter months. It gives ranchers a chance to come to town, and it gives Griemsmans a chance to visit with their previous clients and customers, a testament to their ongoing friendships and good reputation. “It’s all about reputation,” says Jana.
The 2022 BHSS Truck Defender Horse Sale begins Friday, Jan. 28 at 8 a.m. with the preview, followed by sale at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 29 the preview is at 8 a.m., sale at 1 p.m.
2022 Black Hills Stock Show Agribusiness of the Year: Marc & Jill Hotchkiss, The Livestock Link
Technology in agriculture is nothing new, but the way it is being used and implemented is always evolving. Today, you won’t find many people without a phone in their pocket, many of which have direct access to the internet. Mark Hotchkiss saw this trend more than a decade ago and knew it had to be a part of his business, so he created the Livestock Link, a livestock marketing company dedicated to videos and online sales. This year, Mark and his wife Jill Hotchkiss are honored as 2021 Agribusiness People of the Year by the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo.
The Agribusiness Person of the Year Award has been bestowed on many people since the conception in 1992 showcasing the humble families in the region. “We are thrilled this year to honor the Hotchkiss Family,” said Amanda Kammerer, Black Hills Stock Show marketing and livestock director.
A working relationship between the Livestock Link and the Black Hills Stock Show has been ongoing for about 10 years, according to Kammerer. A clerking program written by Hotchkiss is part of what makes The Livestock Link attractive for many producers, especially those at the Black Hills Stock Show. With more than 200 different consigners during the BHSS livestock sales, keeping buyer and seller information, as well as animal information, can get a little hectic.
“The program is cool because (Mark) designed it, and he can fit it to your needs,” said Kammerer.
Kammerer says the best part of the program in her opinion is the ability to share information so seamlessly. The computers store all of the consigner information, so when a buyer invoice is printed, the consigner information is on the invoice as well. It works the same for consigners; on the check they receive, buyer information is printed and easy to find. At the BHSS, consigners are in charge of changing papers, so having buyer information on their checks when they are getting paid is easy and convenient.
“It (the program) will do media reports, averages, and so much more so they have all of the data on-hand right after the event,” said Kammerer.
When Hotchkiss started the Livestock Link in 2009, there weren’t a lot of people navigating the video sale space. Working many sales as a representative of Hereford America, a company he and his wife also own, the first video sale Marc saw was the Cross Diamond Sale in Nebraska. There were many things he liked about the video sale, but one issue he didn’t like was the layout of all the screens. At this particular sale, there were small screens spaced about 30 feet or so along the wall and the auctioneer had a few small tv screens in front of him as well.
“It just didn’t cut the mustard for me,” said Marc, “people were distracted, they weren’t keeping eye contact with the auctioneer.”
The Livestock Link started with projector screens to really get the size right. Three screens would be set up in the front of the sale block, similar to how a ring would flow. One computer would be used at the front for clerking and running the videos, and two computers would be in the back, checking out customers while the sale was going on.
For Hotchkiss, it was important to get people to turn their attention to the auctioneer and the front of the sale. By running a video sale, auctioneers are able to keep their momentum without worrying about live animals in the ring. Often during a live sale animals will cause a ruckus, chase down a ring man, or hold up the sale, with a video sale format that becomes a non-issue.
“It really makes a difference,” said Hotchkiss. He says more animals can be sold in a shorter amount to time thanks to the video sale format and the Livestock Link screen set-up.
Hotchkiss recalls writing the first clerking program in 2009 in just three months. It was tested out during a dispersion sale, and then BHSS became one of the first to use the program. Before the Livestock Link clerking system, the BHSS sales were all clerked by hand, which was time-consuming and took a while to gather the results. The Livestock Link allows buyers to check out before the sale is over, letting buyers pick up their animals and hit the road before dark.
In the early days of the Livestock Link, people were less trusting of videos and still images. Hotchkiss has seen it differently though. Video sales have helped producers sell livestock even when the weather is awful and live sales would have been a disaster. Video sales and online bidding open up the door for many more buyers to participate.
“I have never seen a guy switch to video sales and ever go back to a live sale,” said Hotchkiss.
According to him, more people are liking the video sale format with online bidding (which they started offering a few years ago). Hotchkiss says the video sales bring large payoffs, like fewer disruptions which halt bidding, producers can hire half (or less) help than usual for sale day, and clerking becomes a breeze.
Hotchkiss said The Livestock Link does a little more than 50 sales a year with the clerking program, as well as videos, and edits sale prospects for more than 70 customers each year.
“The Hotchkisses are super easy to work with and are very customer friendly,” said Kammerer, “they continue to get better and better each year and it has become somewhat of a one-stop-shop for livestock producers.”
As far as being honored as BHSS Agribusiness People of the Year, Hotchkiss says it has been humbling.
“I have always looked up to those people who have receive this award in the past,” said Hotchkiss. “It makes me humble that we have something like that to hang on the wall as well.”
2022 BHSS Premier: Jim Sutton Jr. inducted into 2020 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
Jim Sutton is the patriarch of Sutton Rodeo, a six-generation family operation still running strong. Sutton Rodeo is based in Onida, S.D. Jim and his wife, Julie, were the recipients of the 2017 PRCA Donita Barnes Contract Personnel Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sutton Rodeo has had three PRCA Horse of the Year awards: saddle bronc horse Deep Water in 1979, bareback horse Big Bud in 1985 and saddle bronc horse Chuckulator in 2012. Chuckulator also was the top saddle bronc horse of the 2012 NFR. Sutton Rodeo stock has been selected to perform at every NFR since its inception in 1959, except one.
“It’s my birthday (today, April 20), so this was quite the gift,” said Sutton, 85, of the notification of the induction. “This is something I really appreciate. I have been inducted into a half dozen halls of fame, and if there’s one I wanted to be in, this would be it. This is the best award I have ever received.”
Jim and Julie took the company to the next level with a focus on production and innovation. Jim began the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo in 1978, which later became Rodeo Rapid City, a rodeo nominated 15 times for PRCA Indoor Rodeo of the Year, winning the award in 2002-03. It won Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year in 2021.
Jim originated the Wrangler Bullfights and the Bailey Bail-Off. He is famous for his pageantry and colorful rodeo openings, including the openings at the NFR in 1995-96. Jim has been nominated four times as Stock Contractor of the Year.
“I put up with 20 of the best bullfighters in the world for 20 years, I thought that was a pretty good feat,” Jim said.
“I don’t know how it could be any better,” said Sutton. “This is a pretty big deal when you get in with people like Casey Tibbs. I really never thought about being in the (ProRodeo) Hall of Fame. I tried to rodeo as good as I could and figured I wasn’t going to get in the Hall of Fame that direction. I think our rodeo company and the people in it who are mostly family have all done well with their part, and you add it all up and it turns out pretty good.”
The induction ceremony was postponed from 2020 to July 17, 2021. Jim’s wife, Julie, passed away from cancer on July 21, 2021.
“You could give her the credit for everything,” Jim said. “When we cranked up to start with, she was doing about everything. It wasn’t just the show in Rapid City, she’s been involved in every rodeo we’ve had, and probably more-so than any of us.”
The roots of the Suttons being involved in the rodeo business can be traced to 1926 when the Edwin Sutton family – Edwin was Jim’s grandfather – began producing rodeos on the home ranch in Sully County, S.D.
James H. Sutton Sr. took Sutton Rodeo to the next stage in the 1950s when he entered a partnership with Erv Korkow. As one of the first members of the Rodeo Cowboys Association, Sutton/Korkow stock performed at the first National Finals Rodeo in Dallas in 1959.
James was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1982. “I don’t know anybody else I would rather follow,” Jim said.
In 1968, James (Jim) Sutton Jr. became a partner with his dad, forming Sutton Rodeo Company.
2022 BHSS Premier: Rodeo Rapid City Named Back-to-Back PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year
The Monument, in Rapid City, South Dakota, is excited to congratulate Rodeo Rapid City on their win as the PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year for the second time in a row. The announcement was made at the PRCA Awards Banquet at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, on Dec. 1.
“We are honored to win this award and thank everyone who had a hand in helping us do it,” says Steve Sutton of Rodeo Rapid City. “The personnel, our labor crew, the great contestants and stock and the staff of The Monument all work together to make this the best rodeo in the world. This event means so much to our entire family and we feel blessed to do what we love. We also want congratulate Belle Fourche for chalking up another win as Medium Rodeo of the Year and the Burke Stampede for their recognition in the Hesston Sowing Good Deeds category. It was another big year for South Dakota!”
Rodeo Rapid City has won this award three times previously, most recently in 2020 along with 2002 and 2003 and has been nominated for Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year twenty times. Contract personnel, committees and the top 100 in each PRCA rodeo event placed their votes at the end of October. The 2021 Rodeo Rapid City included $80,000 in prize money along with nearly 600 contestants.
“We have worked many years with Rodeo Rapid City and the Sutton family and we couldn’t be more proud to have them in our facility,” says Craig Baltzer, executive director at The Monument. “I can’t wait to see what the 2022 rodeo brings as they move over to Summit Arena.”
Rodeo Rapid City is produced by Sutton Rodeo of Onida, SD. Sutton Rodeo is a sixth-generation rodeo company, founded in 1926, best known for award-winning PRCA events including Top Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year, Bucking Stock of the Year and NFR and Hall of Fame Stock Contractors James Sutton, Sr. and James Sutton, Jr.
2022 BHSS Premier: Amy (Sutton) Muller awarded 2021 Ag Woman of the Year
Amy Sutton Muller was named 2021 Ag Woman of the Year by the South Dakota Women in Agriculture.
“Amy exemplifies SD Women in Agriculture in all she does every day. She is a sixth generation rancher, a partner with husband Steven in Midwest Sonatech, as well as a partner in Sutton Rodeo Inc. Amy and Steven have two children, son Shaden (8) and daughter Shally (4). Amy also raises Hereford cattle, supporting youth by providing excellent bloodlines and success in the show ring. Outstanding bucking horses are another thing Amy raises successfully,” said Amy Pravecek, SDWIA past-president.
Kim Sutton, Amy’s mom and partner in many of her activities said, “Steve and I are so honored to see Amy chosen as SD Ag Woman of the Year! Women are the backbone of agriculture at home and in business and Amy definitely is that for our family.”
Amy’s grandpa, Jim Sutton, says, “Her skills on social media have boosted not only Sutton Rodeo, but all the elements of agriculture from her posts on the production work, hard work, showing the love and care for our animals. It is a true showcase of western family lifestyle on a ranch.”
She was named the 2018 Friend of Rodeo by the Sully County Fair board for all she does and contributes. She ultrasounds livestock, keeps all the books, runs production meetings and marketing for Sutton Rodeo Inc as a full partner with her grandfather, father and two brothers. At these rodeo events she has also implemented events for youth involvement, such as the 20X Rodeo and FFA Day held at Rodeo Rapid City. She has worked with legislators and testified at the State Capitol last fall to pass new livestock laws to help producers in the industry. Amy is also a professional rodeo timer at the highest level, including being selected numerous times to time at the National Finals Rodeo.
Not only does Amy work hard to educate and expose the public to agriculture through rodeos, she also serves on the Miss Rodeo South Dakota board, leading young women to be ambassadors for the western way of life and promotion of South Dakota.
“Amy is a smart, innovative, and hard-working woman in ag, who is always aware and promoting agriculture to all those who are increasingly disconnected to agriculture and where their food comes from,” Pravecek said.
Amy does all of this while raising two great kids with her husband Steven. She also serves as a valued member of her church and community, helping in various ways.
Kim says, “We all depend on Amy and she delivers with a reliable, smart, fun attitude that gets things done. I am incredibly proud of her and so grateful for her to be recognized as one of the amazing South Dakota Women in Agriculture!”
“On behalf of the SDWIA board, we couldn’t be more pleased to present Amy with this honor,” Pravecek said. “Thank you for exemplifying all it is to be a woman in agriculture, wearing many different hats, and living ag life to the fullest.”
–South Dakota Women in Agriculture
2022 Rodeo Rapid City Personnel
Wayne Brooks, Announcer
As a PRCA announcer, Wayne Brooks brings a fresh enthusiasm to the sport enjoyed by thousands across the nation. Like many announcers, his rodeo career began in the arena as a contestant. While competing in the roughstock events, he gained an insight into the sport, which he presents to the audience to make them truly a part of each performance. His broadcasting background has proven invaluable in rodeo promotion and sponsor recognition. Combining these experiences, Wayne creates an announcing style that is both informative and entertaining. Whether it’s wild and western or polished and professional, it’s excitement at its best!
A PRCA member since 1994, Wayne had the honor of being chosen as the 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 & 2016 PRCA Announcer of the Year, with ten additional nominations in this category. Wayne was selected as one of the announcers at the Wrangler National Finals in 2005, 2013-2019, 2021 after making his NFSR debut in 2000 with the legendary Clem McSpadden. He has announced the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, three times and the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-Out five times. Wayne has been the voice at the Canadian Finals Rodeo for the past eight years, as well as the Indian Nationals Finals five times. His resume also includes finals in the Mountain States, Turquoise, Columbia River, and Wilderness Circuits. He announces other such respected rodeos as the Calgary Stampede, Reno Rodeo, Pendleton Roundup, California Rodeo Salinas, Rodeo Austin, Red Bluff Roundup, Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo, and the Clovis Rodeo.
Though he was born in Prescott, Arizona, he was reared on the ranchlands of Wyoming and Colorado. He believes it was this raising that instilled in him the importance of preserving the heritage of the West. He continues to give credence to the mystique of being Western at each performance he announces. He believes “”being involved in rodeo has provided me the opportunity to do what I enjoy. It’s the people that make a difference-and rodeo has the best”.
When he’s not announcing rodeos, Wayne serves as a commercial voice talent. He and his wife, Melanie, have two daughters, Taylor and Sheridan, and a son, Ace. Although they travel across the United States and Canada, they make their home in Lampasas, Texas.
Will Rasmussen, Announcer
Will Rasmussen announces some of the biggest and best professional rodeos in the United States. He has been chosen to announce the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo four times, the Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo nineteen times and announced the first ever Wrangler Champions Challenge in Redding, CA. He was chosen to host the Cowboy Corral show at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo by Las Vegas Events. Will has been nominated for PRCA Announcer of the Year in 2018, 2019,2020, 2021 and was selected 2021 WPRA Announcer of the Year. A smooth, easy-listening voice, solid knowledge of rodeo and a style that is both entertaining and informative are the mix of elements that make him one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s most popular rodeo announcers.
The Choteau, Montana native’s love of rodeo stems from his experience as the oldest child of the “Rodeoing Rasmussens,” a family in which just about everyone was involved in the sport of rodeo and recently inducted into Montana’s Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. His mother was a timer and his father an announcer. One brother is a competitor, while his youngest Flint is an eight-time PRCA Clown of the Year.
Rasmussen says the thrill of announcing rodeos never gets old. “It’s a great reward to have thousands of people to respond positively to something that’s happened and to know you helped that along,” Rasmussen says.
Rasmussen’s trademark is his enthusiasm for the sport and his ability to involve the entire audience in each of the rodeo events. His commentary is down-to-earth, sprinkled with rodeo facts and trivia that make the show understandable and enjoyable for veteran fans and first-time enthusiasts. “My job is to educate the folks that want to learn about the sport and to inform the folks that are already educated…and to entertain everyone!!”.
J.J. Harrison, PRCA Barrelman
While it is the bull fighters’ job to protect the cowboys, the barrelman’s primary job is to entertain the crowd. It’s a job that J.J. Harrison takes very seriously . . . for a clown.
His dedication has not gone unnoticed: he has entertained on rodeo’s largest stages, including the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo for the last 6 years. He has also been nominated nearly every year in the last decade as one of the top 5 clowns in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
J.J. grew up in the Okanogan, Washington, where his love for the rodeo began. It wasn’t until high school when he decided to actually get involved in the events at the rodeo.
He took his passion to college with him and joined the rodeo team as a bull and bronc rider at Washington State University. “I gradually realized that I was a wimp and I migrated to team roping.” Harrison said. “I had a lot of fun and success roping over the years, but it wasn’t a career I could have.”
Harrison established himself in Walla Walla,Washington but didn’t expect his move to further his career in rodeo. Pat Beard of the Beard Rodeo Company was the first to recognize Harrison’s talents in Walla Walla, and hired him for a bull riding competition.
Harrison taught school for eight years. “I think I enjoyed that middle school humor almost more than the kids.” After a few years of balancing teaching and rodeo, Harrison was forced to choose between the two. “I think I’m the only clown with a Master’s degree.” He uses his abilities as an entertainer to bridge fans to contestants and rodeo in general.
JJ is the father of 5 and totes the whole family along the rodeo trail whenever possible. This is a way of life for the Harrison Family and they enjoy everything this rodeo world has to offer. In JJ’s off time, he is a pilot and spends as much time as possible in the mountains.
Though his love for the rodeo surpassed his passion for teaching, Harrison believes that his time in the classroom has influenced his witty and energetic act as a rodeo clown. “I’m a ball of energy that is quick witted and eager to find humor in every situation. I think it stems from natural ability and my experience in the classroom.”
What makes Harrison a good rodeo clown isn’t that scripted humor or set jokes most clowns use. It’s the off-the-cuff stuff and spur of the moment quick wit that are his best attributes.
Rider Kiesner grew up as a 5th generation Cowboy. He was given a Will Rogers trick roping kit at the age of nine and began performing a Wild West act in Professional rodeo with his family shortly after. Kiesner went on to become a 4X World Champion Trick Roper, 2X World Champion Gun Spinner, and a 2X World Champion All Around Performer. He got his own PRCA act card when he was 18. Rider has many accomplishments including:7X NFR performer, 9X Cheyenne Frontier Days, Ram National Circuit Finals, 2X Prairie Circuit Finals, California Circuit Finals and Mountain State Circuit Finals. Bethany Iles did not grow up in a horse or rodeo family but came to love horses when she took lessons at 9 years old. She saw a trick rider shortly after sitting on a horse for the first time and knew that’s what she wanted to do! She and her twin and little sister would go on to perform an act together for the rest of their childhood. Bethany’s dream was to trick ride at a professional level. She achieved that dream by getting her PRCA card at age 19. Rider and Bethany joined forces 3 years ago and have gone on to work the Mountain State Circuit finals and the Oklahoma State Circuit Finals. The couple’s biggest accomplishment has been winning PRCA 2020 Dress Act of the Year.
“Jersey” Jake Ostrum, PRCA Music Director
Growing up on the East Coast in Woodstown, New Jersey, professional rodeo music director Jake Ostrum’s love of America’s original sport of rodeo began at a young age. One would think rodeo would be hard to find in New Jersey, but Jake lived only 1 mile from the longest running weekly PRCA Rodeo in the country, the legendary Cowtown Pro Rodeo. It was at Cowtown where he spent his Saturday nights, every summer, for as long as he can remember. Jake has been a part of pretty much every aspect of rodeo from announcing to actually producing his own rodeo events. However, his heart kept bringing him back to his true passion of music. Jake’s talent with musical instruments took him across the country, and even to LA for two years, but he realized his true calling was a different kind of music on a different kind of stage, an arena. He began his professional rodeo career in 2010 as a music director and has since built a library of music of every genre that is second to none. He spends countless hours refining his playlist and cutting the perfect songs so that he can set the tone before, during, and after a rodeo. His songs and his ability to know just when to play them provides a level of entertainment that has been enjoyed around the Pro Rodeo world at events like The New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo, Kansas Largest Night Rodeo, and Rodeo Rapid City just to name a few. He has even been selected the last four years as the music director for the PRCA First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo. Sit back, relax, and be prepared to be taken on a musical journey from Hello to Happy Trails.
Brent Sutton & Donnie Moore, PRCA Pickup Men
In the sport of rodeo, a pickup man carries a huge responsibility. Some of their duties include: Ensuring that the cowboys dismount safely from the livestock; Maintaining the safety and well-being of the livestock in the arena; Loosening or removing the flank strap from the animals so that when the animal enters the stripping chute (where the animals go after a ride), they don’t get hurt in any way; Keeping the arena clear of livestock.
To be a pickup man, you must have great horsemanship skills. In one rodeo, a pickup man can ride up to six different horses! They rotate the horses out during the performance so the horses can get breaks to rest. Depending on the size of a rodeo, they might ride two horses during the bareback competition, two horses during saddle bronc, and one or two for bull riding. In terms of horsemanship, being a pickup man requires good balance, good judgement, and quick reactions. A career as a pickup man certainly doesn’t come without bumps, bruises, or broken bones; these men risk a lot to save the contestants and the livestock. It can take a toll on the body.
Aside from making sure the cowboys get back on their feet safely, the pickup men also keep an eye on the livestock and their safety. Stock contractors pay close attention to this since the animals that participate are like family to them. It is never just guaranteed that you will get selected to be a pickup man for PRCA rodeos. You have to be the best to work the best rodeos and Rodeo Rapid has two of the best with Donnie Moore of Lower Brule and Brent Sutton of Onida, SD, 2020 NFR Pickupman and 2021 Top Five Nominee for Pickupman of the Year.
PRCA Rodeo Photographer Clay Guardipee Biography
Clay Guardipee, a Montana native who now hangs his hat in Mitchell, South Dakota, is a three-time NFR Photographer and was a top five nominee for 2021 Photographer of the Year. He joined the PRCA in 2019. When he is not photographing rodeos, he can be found doing family, senior, engagement and wedding sessions. Clay also enjoys biking, grilling, beading, and eating desserts. Clay is the owner of RodeoReady which features Native American beading, photography, vintage and custom clothing, accessories, and more. Visit www.rodeoreadyshop.com for more information.
2022 Black Hills Stock Show Premier Cover Artist: David Dorsey
My roots run deep in the state of Nebraska. In 1857, John Wesley Dorsey, my great-great-great grandfather, made the journey by wagon from Indiana to what was then Nebraska Territory near Brownville. I have always admired the tenacity of the pioneers who were able to pick up and move to an unknown land and begin a new life. The fear of the unknown must have weighed heavy on those strong individuals, but they forged ahead. I think we all have within us a desire to experience the unknown, to move forward without knowing what the outcome will be.
My life has been on this unknown path since 2012. I forged ahead to pursue my love of painting and the pursuit of art as a career. Prior to this I spent my life on the family ranch located in the Sandhills of northern Nebraska. It was a big change to go from raising livestock and putting up hay, to working in the studio, but it has been a wonderful ride so far and it is far from over.
Art has always played a huge part in my life. Ever since I was little, drawing and painting have been something that I have always done. In fact I cannot remember a time when I was not intrigued by artists and the work they created. That aspect has not changed; I am still mesmerized by new styles of art that I have not seen before. I will never learn all that I want to in this lifetime, about painting and drawing, and I truly believe this is a good thing. We should never cease to learn, no matter what our age.
I am drawn to the land and the individuals that call this vast plains home. I can think of no finer calling than to raise livestock to feed this great nation, and the daily pursuit of being stewards of the land. These people, strong men and women, are truly what intrigue me as an artist. Each face has a story to tell, and their lives are so interwoven with the land that they call home. It is a never-ending tale of beautiful landscapes and hard working people that give me constant inspiration to capture images of the west, both past and present. I feel fortunate to be able to put brush to canvas and freeze a moment in time. Sometimes the simplest things in our daily routines can be the most beautiful. A horse and rider going through a sea of grass or riding through a water hole formed after a heavy rain, are truly the simple and yet magical images that I love to paint.
I’m still not sure where this artistic path will end up, but the ending is not the goal, it is the journey itself. I know there are many more images of the west left to paint, more faces with wonderful stories left to tell, and good cowboys and cowgirls that need to be captured on canvas for all the world to see. I am truly lucky to be an artist and look forward to the road ahead and all of those paintings out there just waiting to be painted. As for the unknown, here I come, paint brush in hand!
2022 Black Hills Stock Show Editorial: Things change, things stay the same
It’s probably the smell that brings back the strongest memories of the Black Hills Stock Show for me. The cinnamon and sugar of the spiced nuts, and the mini-donuts, the wood chips and cattle. That takes me back to being 9 years old and having a knot in my stomach as I got on the bus on Youth Day to judge livestock at the Fairgrounds in the frigid cold, to come back for the Burger Bust, and to wander the trade show all afternoon, carrying my coat.
The sounds of Kyle Evans bring back those memories, of when he opened for the rodeo. His vocals still haunt the trade show, as people still line up to buy his CDs from the next generation of musicians.
While a lot of the Black Hills Stock Show is still the same from when I first wandered the halls more than 30 years ago, things change, as you’ll be sure to see when you pull into the parking lot at The Monument (no longer the Civic Center). The addition of The Summit Arena means the Barnett Arena is now the Barnett Fieldhouse, where cowboys and cowgirls warm up, not where they perform. The transfer of the horse sale to the James Kjerstad Event Center on the Central States Fairgrounds has been well received, so is likely a permanent change.
The Fine Arts Theatre at The Monument is getting in on the action this year, hosting the Josh Abbott Band in concert after the rodeo on Feb. 5, and it is also being used for luncheons and award ceremonies.
Live music fans will have another opportunity to catch some favorites, with Brandon Jones, Trey Lewis and Casey Donahew performing at the Stock Show Stampede on Friday, Feb. 4. The Kjerstad Even Center will also host the annual Boots and Beer Festival, featuring Dirty Word and beer samples provided by local breweries.
Rodeo Rapid City tickets are now sold through www.themonument.live, in addition to the on-site box office, and by phone.
But Youth Day is still a draw for kids from all over the region (although it’s on the second weekend of the BHSS, not the first, this year). And there are more opportunities to see livestock, including the popular youth cattle, sheep and goat shows.
And the smell of cinnamon and sugar and wood chips will still greet you at the door.