Black Hills Stock Show Silver Spur Hall of Fame: Monte Lucas
Monte Lucas may spend his professional career immersed in dollars and cents, but he’s equally in his element surrounded by three-year-olds on stick horses.
A long-time ag and commercial banker in Rapid City, Lucas has been involved with the Central States Fair and Black Hills Stock Show for nearly 40 years. One of the highlights for him is helping with the youth events, including the World’s Smallest Rodeo, which usually involves around 100 contestants, all under the age of five.
The biggest highlight for Lucas, though, is seeing all the people the Black Hills Stock Show brings to Rapid City, listening to the people who are sitting around visiting, catching up with friends they may not have seen since last year. “It gives them a break from what they’re doing in rural America and brings the city cousins out to visit with the people in agriculture,” Lucas says, noting how important that connection is for keeping agriculture viable and successful in the state.
That’s a connection he’d like to see continue to strengthen through the Black Hills Stock Show and Central States Fair. He’s seen the entertainment and carnival become a bigger part of Central States Fair each year, while the ag connection has become somewhat overshadowed, but he hopes that’s changing with the youth events, as the 4-H and open class shows are rebounding.
In nearly four decades with the Central States Fair and Black Hills Stock Show, Lucas has been involved in many capacities. He has been on the board of directors for several years, serving as co-chairman of the livestock committee and president of the board.
“One of the first things I remember we, as the board of directors, did was a rawhide horserace in front of the grandstand. A number of us directors—Lyndell Peterson, Dick Bray—would get on a cow hide which was dragged behind a horse and we’d race in front of the grandstand during a rodeo performance.”
As a commercial lender for First Interstate Bank, he has represented the bank in promoting the horse sale and in many youth events, including the petting zoo, World’s Smallest Rodeo, Cattlemen’s Legacy and Burger Bust.
While he enjoys helping make these events possible, the events he anticipates attending are the ones that showcase the quality livestock drawn to the Central States Fair and Black Hills Stock Show, as well as anything pertaining to youth. “I like watching the goat show, because that has grown into such a huge event. I also enjoy watching the livestock shows during the BHSS, attending the horse sale with wall-to-wall full bleachers.” He said he always takes his grandkids to one of the PRCA rodeos, and has missed the Stockman’s Ball only one or two years. “I like seeing all the friends and neighbors you haven’t seen for a year, visiting with them.”
This year he’ll be on stage at the Stockman’s Ball, which is nothing new to the former president who has emceed more than one event in the last 35-plus years. But this time he’ll be receiving the Silver Spur Hall of Fame Award, rather than presenting it. “It’s humbling to be chosen for this. It’s a great honor to be recognized for things I’ve enjoyed doing for so many years,” Lucas said.
Lucas looks forward to the Black Hills Stock Show each year, though he knows how much time and energy goes into making it happen. “It’s an unbelievably great event. The Stock Show happens because of all of the volunteers. Some people give their heart and soul to this group to put on a fantastic horse sale, livestock sales, the booth rentals and the rodeo itself. The Stock Show happens because of all the volunteers, or we couldn’t put it on. You couldn’t afford to pay all the people who are involved with the fair and Stock Show.”
Lucas learned about the hard work and commitment that goes into any ag-related endeavor growing up on a ranch near Reliance, where his family raised cattle and sheep, and his dad was also involved in custom farming. “I spent a lot of hours on the seat of a tractor and windrower back when there were no cabs, heat or air conditioning,” he says.
He started in 4-H when he was ten and was involved with the program until he went to college at South Dakota State University, where he studied business and was on the livestock judging team.
Lucas’s community involvement extends far beyond the Central States Fair and Black Hills Stock Show, to the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, including serving on the board of directors and the chamber ag committee. He is also active in the Western South Dakota Buckaroos, is a lifetime member of the Custer Trail Riders and belongs to the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. His family also keeps him busy. He has been married to Laurie for 42 years, and they have three daughters and eight grandkids—five of whom have participated in the World’s Smallest Rodeo.
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