SDRA makes another year of history | TSLN.com

SDRA makes another year of history

Starla Lyon

The list of rodeo champions who started through the ranks of the South Dakota Rodeo Association (SDRA) is exhaustive. Any rodeo fan or competitor would love the opportunity to sit down with any one of the greats who started right here. The SDRA wrapped up its season recently and from what the tallies say, numbers are up as far as fan attendance as well as that of contestants.

More than simply a stepping stone, the SDRA is geared toward keeping the official sport of the state alive. The state of South Dakota has sent competitors all over the nation representing every event in rodeo. From bareback, bulls, barrel racing to bull dogging and everything in between, the state has proven time and again that top hands and double tough stock abound. The stock is often comparable to that of the PRCA and so is the competition.

“I was really pleased with the turn out at the Finals,” said Bareback Director and SDRA Board Member Travis Bechen. “Everyone came together and the horses bucked very well – you had the choice between winning it or getting bucked off. Everyone stood a fair chance at making money.”

This year’s crowd pleasing SDRA finals proved to be a success with several past champions and upcoming names in attendance.

“The committees were just outstanding all year long,” said SDRA Barrel Racing Board Member Cathy Pirrung. “There are so many unsung heroes out there. Whether it’s someone pushing a calf for a friend or borrowing a horse, we’re all family. It was just neat to see so many people still going to the rodeos this summer with the fuel prices.”

Piedmont cowgirl and SDRA Barrel Racing Board Member Jana Griemsman shared similar sentiments.

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“Sioux Falls did a great job,” she said. “The stock was good and we had more entries in the barrels than usual this year.”

“I thought the Finals went real well,” said Stock Contractor Lance Lesmeister. “The reason you see so many South Dakota kids out there doing well is because most stock contractors are there to help them and promote the sport.”

Don Nixon brought several bulls to rodeos throughout the season. A man of few words, he said, “Those who cracked out had a chance from what I could see. Back when I was going, I didn’t get treated that good.”

The SDRA has a history that stretches further back than the PRCA. With humble beginnings back in 1955, an organization was founded that just keeps gaining momentum to this day. Countless hours of dedication have gone into this group of cowboys and cowgirls who strive toward the betterment and the future of their sport. Towns and counties throughout the state of South Dakota continue to embrace the tradition of rodeo and welcome the crowds and celebrations that ensue. Sponsors, competitors and contractors alike continue to take pride in sending America’s best off to colleges or the PRCA. In addition, home town athletes still get the chance to take a stab at a pay check in an arena within the state or even their home town. In the true essence of what the SDRA was born of, everyone stands a chance.