Rodeo could be new state sport


Tara Bordewyk, Community News Service

PIERRE (CNS) – Rodeo may become the state’s official sport under a bill that passed the Senate Feb. 20.

State Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, said rodeo represents a sport that brings forth South Dakota’s history. Thirty-eight world rodeo champions are from South Dakota, he said.

“Rodeo is the perfect marriage of two of the most important industries in South Dakota,” State Sen. Eric Bogue, R-Faith, said. “And that is agriculture and tourism.”

Bogue said after Mount Rushmore and the Corn Palace, tourists come to South Dakota to see powwows and rodeos.

Miss Rodeo South Dakota, Danci Anderson of Meadow, said passage of the bill will send a message to the nation that South Dakota’s citizens are grassroots people with family values. Rodeo represents family values and traditions, she said.

Rodeo is part of South Dakota’s heritage dating back to days of settlers, World Rodeo Champion Paul Tierney, said. Cowboys and cowgirls are of a lifestyle that continues in South Dakota, he said.

The bill passed through the Senate State Affairs committee with little opposition, but caught a snag in floor debate.

State Sen. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, said rodeo isn’t popular in all areas of the state. He said some people boycott rodeo and consider it the “beating up and traumatizing of farm animals.”

He said he wonders why the state would not choose football or soccer, since they represent teamwork and leadership.

Currently, South Dakota does not have an official sport.

House Bill 1075 passed 27-8 in the Senate. With the governor’s signature, rodeo will become the official sport of South Dakota.

#1.887307:189866237.jpg:rodeo_queen.jpg:Miss Rodeo South Dakota 2003, Danci Anderson, poses with Rep. Larry Diedrich, R-Elkton, and Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, outside the South Dakota Senate on Feb. 19. Anderson lobbied in both the House and Senate for passage of a bill that would make rodeo the state sport for South Dakota. The bill has been passed by both houses of the Legislature and was delivered to Gov. Rounds for his consideration.:Community News Service