Cowboys, cowgirls represent every part of S.D.

Farm Forum

South Dakota high school rodeo is the great equalizer in small vs. big.

With a population of 156,592 residents, Sioux Falls has three of the 337 qualifiers for the State Finals Rodeo currently under way in Belle Fourche.

Meadow, population 35 in Perkins County, has six qualifiers.

The state’s second and third largest cities, Rapid City and Aberdeen, have a combined population of around 100,000. They have a combined seven high school State Finals qualifiers.

Faith, population 424, has 14 qualifiers.

Fort Pierre (population 2,135) is sometimes a secondary thought when it comes to its neighbor just across the Missouri River bridge, Pierre (population 13,860). But when it comes to rodeo, Fort Pierre has four qualifiers and Pierre has three.

Not only that, many tiny South Dakota towns make their once-a-year appearance when our friends from the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association release its annual list of state qualifiers.

All of a sudden, South Dakota unincorporated communities, such as Caputa (population 150 in Pennington County), Enning (45 in Meade County), Holabird (184 in Hyde County), Ideal (175 in Tripp County), Saint Onge (191 in Lawrence County) and Zell (48 in Faulk), are in the headlines.

Specks of famous small towns on the South Dakota map shine again because of its high school rodeo qualifiers, such as:

Parade: This Dewey County town was the birthplace of NFL Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin and will be represented in the State Finals by Jett Peterson and Dayton Spiel.

Mound City (Campbell County): Sadly, we just lost one our state’s greatest political forces in Alice Kundert this week. The Mound City woman who made her state better in many ways was a consistent newsmaker as are the community’s cowboys and cowgirls. Currently, Ross Odde of Mound City is competing in the College Finals National Rodeo for South Dakota State, and the town will be sending brothers, Reece and Pearson Wientjes, to the state finals.

Pukwana (Brule County): Known for its legendary annual tur