Variety is the spice of life

Jane Green Special to the Farm Forum
Farm Forum

South Dakota has always been known as the Land of Infinite Variety. And the old saying relates that variety is the spice of life. So, it follows that with the vast variety of temperature swings and wind velocities in our state, South Dakota must be kind of a spicy place to live.

I agree with that statement. It’s a well-known fact that things here on the prairies can get a bit spicy to live with at times, but right now the spice in farm/ranch folks’ lives has nothing to do with the weather.

Now, hold your horses and hang on to your hats. A drum roll is in order before making this next grand announcement. The spice that’s causing many of us farm/ranch folk to hang on to our hats and putting excitement in the air is none other than the fact that it is Farm Show Time in South Dakota!

Howling like a banshee

Little does it matter that the temperature outside is a minus thirty degrees nor that the wind is howling like a banshee out of the northwest at forty knots; the farm shows go on no matter what. The farm and ranch home shows are a big deal in our farm communities. These shows vary in content and size from one locality to another, but the enthusiasm and excitement that they generate — well, it’s our spice in life and we love it! And the story goes like this…

The Sioux Empire Farm Show

Now, in our farm family, there are three main farm shows that come to mind. The first is the Sioux Empire Farm Show happening in Sioux Falls Jan. 23-27.

As in years past, this farm show is still jam-packed with lots of events happening at the same time. A person has to carefully pick and choose the who, what, where, and when events you want to attend on each day.

Starting with the 4-H/FFA calf shows, and then onto the huge swine shows, cattle shows, sheep shows, goat shows, market and feeder shows, ending with judging contests and the pony and draft pulling contests, there is something for everyone.

This farm show is noted for its great animal exhibits, cash and trophy awards, commercial exhibits and Mayor’s Round-Up and Sale of Champions. Lots of stuff going on all the time, and it was the show that our family really liked to attend because of the huge variety of people attending.

Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo

The second farm/ranch show that our family likes to attend is the Black Hills Stock Show taking place Jan. 26 through Feb. 4. In years past, we showed cattle in this one and enjoyed every minute of it. It’s the big one, indeed, with ten breeds of cattle shows and sales and also the vast variety of commercial exhibits. Naturally, the rodeo was and still is a big hit.

The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo catalog this year is 175 pages chucked full of entries and advertisements. It’s such a big show; well, words can’t describe it. Ya just have to go and see it for yourself. A salute to all those involved with this spectacular event.

Watertown Winter Farm Show

The third farm show is the granddaddy of them all. This will be the 73rd Watertown Winter Farm Show taking place Feb. 6-10 in Watertown. Naturally, this is the one that is near and dear to my heart because it takes place in my own back yard. Besides, my mother and father lived and breathed this farm show, and I inherited their genes. What can I say? I look forward to this event with great relish because it definitely has spiced up my life for a long time.

Nine different livestock shows and sales are jammed packed into this five-day event along with fantastic food, commercial exhibits, special programs, yummy food,, supreme row, trophies, prizes, and plenty of food. This takes some very careful organization techniques and a whole lot of volunteers to get the job done — especially that awesome kitchen crew.

Somehow, this Watertown Winter Farm Show comes off with a bang and is just getting better every year! Seventy-three years is a long time to keep something alive and kicking. Congratulations to everyone who has played a role in accomplishing this great feat!


And now, need I say anything more? I don’t think so. If you need a little excitement or cheering up this winter, just attend a farm/ranch home show. It will be good for what ails you.

Remember: Variety is the spice of life.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. Email her at