South Dakota: Rodeo buddies gather to fish June 4 at 3rd annual UCRA tournament |

South Dakota: Rodeo buddies gather to fish June 4 at 3rd annual UCRA tournament

Courtesy photoTerry, Eddie and Pat at last year's UCRA Fishing Tournament.

What could be better than swapping old rodeo tales with friends and competitors that have competed in the same sport? Doing just that, while also reeling in a big fish.

That’s what prompted Joe Ford, Jr., his brother Jd, and friend Shawn Freeland to form the Usta’ Could Rodeo Association, or UCRA. The organization will host their third annual fishing tournament on Saturday, June 4, at the South Whitlock Resort, west of Gettysburg, SD.

Boats check-in from 7-7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, and competition begins with a shotgun start. Last year’s event drew 10 boats, which Ford hopes will double this year, despite the massive water concerns in that part of the state.

Entry fees to participate are $100 per team, which can range from 2-4 fishermen. “There must be at least one cowboy in the boat that was a card-carrying member in a rodeo association – be it 4-H or PRCA,” Ford explained.

A custom belt buckle is the reward for the fisherman who can reel in the biggest walleye, and a Star Of The West custom made hat is given to the person with the biggest “other” fish. Another award goes to the team with the most pounds of walleye caught. Other prizes awards throughout the day include gift certificates, equipment rentals and a night’s stay in a hotel.

“There are several other side deals a person can get in on if they want,” Ford said.

The UCRA donates part of the fishing tournament’s entry fee money to the Shane Drury “Nothing But Try” scholarship. Drury, a local bull rider who qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in that event, lost his battle with Ewings sarcoma on Oct. 31, 2006. Last year UCRA gave $250; this year its goal is to award $500, and ultimately donating a $1,000 as the fishing tournament grows. The scholarship is awarded to a college student who has faced diversity and continued on.

Fishermen and women are welcome to pre-fish on Friday, June 3. UCRA will meet that night at the South Whitlock Resort Dinner Club to finalize details of the tournament.

editor’s note: check out “usta could rodeo” on facebook; learn more about shane drury and his scholarship at:; or contact joe ford, jr. at 605-222-1049 to learn more about the fishing tournament.


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