Beef Bucks program celebrates its fame on family fun show, Wheel of Fortune

Kelli Fulkerson, Assistant Editor

Since 1975 America has enjoyed the television game show Wheel of Fortune. Thousands of contestants have taken their chance at spinning the big wheel in hopes of winning a top prize. Prizes include cash, automobiles, dream vacations and Beef Bucks. No, that is not a misprint – Beef Bucks, a De Smet, SD, nonprofit organization appeared as a $1,000 gift tag on the big wheel during the Jan. 9 weekly airing of the show.

In celebration of Beef Bucks being featured on national television, many beef enthusiasts across North America hosted Wheel of Fortune viewing parties.

“My grandmother and grandfather are in Mexico vacationing and hosted a Beef Bucks Wheel of Fortune party,” said Courtney Nolz of Mitchell, SD. South Dakota had several places celebrating the excitement; Minervas Restaurant in Watertown; 1481 Grille in Arlington; and Bravos in Brookings.

The Brookings party featured free wine tasting, mini beef kabobs, grilled beef tenderloin tips and tenderloin tips in a signature J. Lohr red wine sauce.

“The Beef Bucks event was fun to plan and host, the people surrounding this industry are fantastic,” said Kip Pharis, owner and chef of Bravos. The guests of the night were beef producers, industry professionals and consumers. Attendees cheered when Jody, a Wheel of Fortune contestant on Monday night, won $1,000 worth of Beef Bucks.

The Beef Bucks program, developed in 1997, promotes the American beef industry as well as educating consumers. Beef industry volunteers throughout the state of South Dakota manage the Beef Bucks program. The overall goal is to offer beef to anyone, anywhere, without the need of refrigeration.

“This program is as grassroots as can be; it’s done through all personal finances. No breed associations or beef checkoff dollars are used. It’s strictly our policy to promote beef, the best quality industry on the planet!” said Bob Montross, Vice President of Beef Bucks.

Beef Bucks is available in two forms, pre-paid checks or VISA debit cards, which are sold on a dollar-for-dollar exchange. Two financial institutions back pre-paid checks: First Dakota National Bank of Yankton, SD or Wells Fargo Bank of De Smet, SD, in the amounts of $5, $10 and $20. Checks have been used in more than 40 states at various establishments when purchasing beef or beef meals. VISA debit cards are loadable from $25 to $500 and are valid anywhere that VISA is accepted.

“Beef Bucks is the next form of American currency,” Montross said.

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