2022 Black Hills Stock Show Silver Spur Hall of Fame: Haven Stuck
From the vantage point out his ninth floor office window overlooking Rapid City and the Black Hills, Haven Stuck can see the place he calls home.
Stuck, a lawyer, has been living in the Black Hills since he graduated from law school in 1975.
Four years after graduation, he became a member of the Central States Fair Board and in 1982, he became chairman of the board.
He is the 2022 inductee into the Silver Spur Hall of Fame for the Black Hills Stock Show.
Stuck’s involvement with livestock goes back to his rural roots.
Growing up on a farm near Mellette, S.D., his family raised and sold registered Angus cattle. He showed cattle at the S.D. State Fair in 4H and open class and at other shows as well.
After earning an animal science degree at South Dakota State University and his masters in economics in 1972, he decided to attend law school, graduating from the University of South Dakota in 1975. His ROTC service in college segued into two years with the US Army as an officer, assigned to the headquarters of the Third Armored Division in Frankfurt, Germany.
Stuck was chairman of the fair when it moved from the fairgrounds to the Civic Center in 1982.
The rodeo had moved to the Civic Center a couple years prior, but it was time to move the horse and cattle shows and sales due to a lack of room and facilities that weren’t winterized.
There were logistics to work out when moving hundreds of head of horses and cattle and people as well, and all the equipment it takes to house the animals.
“The real question,” Stuck said, “was how could the Civic Center be home to that much livestock over a ten-day period? Can the HVAC system handle it? How do we prepare the Civic Center for it, and how do we get everything moved out and back to normal at the end?”
The decision was made to give it a try, he said. The first year “wasn’t real smooth, but the lumps got ironed out, and it’s been great.”
He credits the volunteers who serve on the committee.
“We have a tremendous number of volunteers, and many of them have done specific jobs over the years so they are very well trained, and they can carry on things like the horse and cattle sales and shows, so that really helps.”
Stuck served on the board for the Central States Fair from 1979-1982 and has continued to volunteer his time.
As a lawyer, he has helped with legal assistance, such as trademarks, copyrights, contracts and insurance issues.
In 2004, he set up the Central States Fair Foundation, a 501-c-3 organization, and has been chairman of the foundation board since it began.
The foundation helps in raising awareness and financial assistance for the Central States Fair and the Black Hills Stock Show. It hosts several fundraisers, including art auctions, calcuttas, and more. Monies raised go for improvements such as a new sound system, LED lighting, an electric sign at the entrance, and restoration of the older buildings on the grounds that have historical significance.
“We’re trying to do something every year,” Stuck said. “Over the years, the foundation has funded many improvements.”
He and the board are working to cultivate the foundation. “We’re a fairly small foundation. But we’re trying to make it grow through sponsored events, gifts and legacies. We have a permanent endowment, so we can do scholarships and other things that help the fair and the stock show.”
He’s been with the Lynn Jackson Shultz and Lebrun law firm for over 46 years, focusing mainly on business and real estate work. In addition to his legal work, he ranches. With the help of his daughter, Taylor, he has a cow/calf operation in Pennington County. Their barn has been the venue for many events hosted by local and national organizations.
He and his wife Terri, married in 1984, have traveled extensively, visiting all seven continents and seventy countries. The law firm offers a sabbatical program, allowing its employees to take extended trips to “get away from things, do something different and see something different.”
The couple has been to Antarctica, which he “really recommends, the icebergs, the seals, the penguins, the whales.” They’ve been to the Himalayas in Bhutan and Nepal, have visited the Outback in Australia, and been on wildlife safaris in Kenya and Tanzania.
Traveling “really opens your eyes to what’s happening with other people and it gives you a lot of respect for and knowledge of people in other countries.”
His role as a volunteer with the Central States Fair and the Black Hills Stock Show has been fulfilling, especially when he sees the people who come to town for the stock show, and later in the year, for the fair and rodeo in August.
People “really enjoy coming to Rapid City from hundreds of miles away, spending time here. I love seeing the activity that surrounds the stock show. The restaurants and hotels are full and there’s a lot of activity in and around the Civic Center and the fairgrounds.”
One of the biggest changes Stuck has seen with the stock show is an increase in the number of exhibitors and livestock. The show has added several new cattle breeds, and the horse sale used to last a day and now it lasts “a long two days,” he said. And the number of visitors has grown as well. “We’ve seen a lot of growth. It’s become an even more popular event.”
The growth in events and people has filled to capacity the large Civic Center Complex. Some events and part of the trade show now take place at the James Kjerstad Events Center at the Fairgrounds.
His life as a lawyer, rancher and volunteer with the stock show has a common thread: agriculture.
“I grew up raising cattle and being a part of the state fair in Huron,” Stuck said. “It was a natural for me to get involved here, and to get back into the cattle business. And the law practice melds into that, too.”
In addition to his daughter, he and Terri have a son, Logan, and his wife, Lotus, who live in the Netherlands.
Stuck’s resume also includes stints as the chairman of the boards of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce, and the South Dakota Investment Council. He is a member of the South Dakota Stock Growers Association, the Western South Dakota Buckaroos, and Custer’s Trail Riders.
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