For the Record: Rapid City |

For the Record: Rapid City

Change is often in the air at the Rapid City, S.D., rodeo. From what started at a meeting in a laundromat in the 1950s, Rodeo Rapid City has evolved into one of the biggest rodeos of the winter run and is the second-largest event in South Dakota, following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

An estimated 331,000 people attend the Western festival that features 120 different livestock, horse and rodeo events, according to

In 1958, members of the Rapid City Chamber Ag Committee had a meeting at Rapid City Laundry to discuss a plan to incorporate rural lifestyles into the urban community of Rapid City. It was at that laundromat that the first plans for the Black Hills Winter Show formed.

At that time, 12 percent of the population lived on farms or ranches. The ultimate fear was that someday the rancher would be an endangered species. With the hopes of protecting agriculture communities and lifestyles, planners made a commitment to preserve the Western heritage in South Dakota, according to

The first Winter Show was held at the Central States Fairgrounds. Only three breeds of cattle were shown that year – Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn. However, the first years showed potential for the winter extravaganza as it slowly grew, adding more breeds of cattle year after year.

In 1966, the Rapid City Chamber Ag Committee passed the reins of the Winter Show to the Black Hills Exposition (Central States Fair, Inc.). At that time, the name changed to the Black Hills Stock Show.

In 1978, the Central State Fair contracted with Sutton Rodeos to produce the first Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo at the civic center. At the time, the competition was called the Winter Rodeo. Two years later, the stock show moved from the Central States Fairgrounds to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Nearly 40 years later, in 2017, the rodeo’s name was changed to Rodeo Rapid City.

The name has changed, but the history has not, as the rodeo’s fastest steer wrestling run of 2.9 seconds was made in 1983 by Ron Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s PRCA career lasted from 1980-88. During that time, the Le Mars, Iowa, bulldogger accrued $10,735 in winnings, and his impression on the steer wrestling world holds strong to this day.

Zimmerman’s record, and others, could be topped at this year’s Rodeo Rapid City, which runs from Jan. 25 through Feb. 2.

Rodeo records

Total payout: $237,396, 2011

All-around: $8,081, Landon McClaugherty, team roping and tie-down roping, 2013

Bareback riding: 89 points, Tom McFarland, 2003 (174 points on two head, McFarland, 2003)

Steer wrestling: 2.9 seconds, Ron Zimmerman, 1983 (7.1/2, Bob Christophersen, 1991)

Team roping: 3.8 seconds, Garrett Tonozzi/Kinney Harrell, 2009; Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 2013 (9.1/2, Blaine Linaweaver/Richard Durham, 2009; 16.6/3, Nick Pullara/C.L. Morgan, 2007)

Saddle bronc riding: 87 points, Dan Mortensen, 2006 (168/2, J.J. Elshere, 2008)

Tie-down roping: 7.3 seconds, Jud Nowotny, 2011 (17.3/2, Hunter Herrin, 2011; 27.2/3, Trevor Brazile, 2001)

Barrel racing: 12.21 seconds, Shandi Metzinger-Scales, 2002 (24.63/2, Lisa Lockhart, 1998; 37.27/3, Tamra Musick, 2008)

Bull riding: 93 points, Terry Don West, 2003 (175/2, Brian Curtis, 2008).


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