Partnership between CAFES and athletics continues to benefit students

The steer auction is a tradition of the Beef Bowl event with proceeds going to fund student athletic scholarships.

Dave Eggen

The steer auction is a tradition of the Beef Bowl event with proceeds going to fund student athletic scholarships.

Adrienne Lipinski, Ag Reporter

After taking a year off because of the pandemic, an SDSU tradition that has been taking place for 54 years is finally making its way back to campus. 

The SDSU football team faced off against and dominated Dixie State Oct. 2, only this game had an additional part to play. That part to play has become a well-established event called the Beef Bowl. 

The Beef Bowl has a long history at SDSU, and every year the community comes together to celebrate the beef industry. 

South Dakota is ranked No. 5 in cow production and agriculture plays a major role in the state’s economy.

“There’s a lot of fantastic people that work in the beef industry, not just raising cattle, but the veterinary community, the animal nutrition community,” said Cody Wright, animal science professor and Beef Bowl planner. “So, it’s a way to celebrate all those fantastic people.”

The Beef Bowl is put on by faculty, students and alumni and it is a part of a collaboration between the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences and the athletics department. 

During this one-day event, a barbecue, steer auction, and recognition of Friend of the Beef Industry happen. CAFES oversees handling the barbecue and starts planning a little over a month in advance to make it happen. On the other side, the athletic department helps with all the marketing and coordinating of the halftime events.

Food is ordered a month in advance before the game, and the meat is prepared by the SDSU Meat Lab. The barbecue meat this year was a tri-tip. The meat lab oversees trimming, putting a rub on it, smoking it, and bringing it to the barbecue site.

After a lot of preparation, the barbecue was sold on the north end of the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. This location is a great draw for tailgaters, said Wright. 

The meal consisted of barbecue and side dishes; meal tickets were sold for $10. Every year, 1,500 to 2,500 people attend the annual event. All proceeds go back to SDSU animal science students in the form of scholarships. 

This year it is estimated that $12,000-$13,000 was raised in scholarships for CAFES animal science students.

Tate Risse, a senior animal science major from Martin, South Dakota, is a direct benefactor of the scholarship program. He was awarded the scholarship his freshman year and has received $1,000 each year since then. 

“This scholarship has allowed for me to be more at ease knowing that not only will I not have to pay as much for my education, but also that the animal science department as a whole is backing me with support,” Risse said.

In addition to the barbecue, the athletics department auctions off several steers during halftime. The steers are purchased at the South Dakota State Fair. Just like the barbecue proceeds, all money from this auction goes to athletic scholarships. This year totaled to be over $27,000 in scholarship money. 

This game brought in 14,473 attendees. In the past it has been the second highest attended game.

“I think that since it’s such a well-attended game, students thrive off that, they like to come,” Christi Williams, associate athletics director as SDSU, said.

The Friend of the Beef Industry is also awarded during the halftime portion. This year’s winner was Dakotaland Feeds LLC. 

Overall, this event receives a lot of support from the community. First Bank and Trust has been a large supporter of the Beef Bowl by purchasing meal tickets for its customers to attend the event. In addition to First Bank and Trust, Hy-Vee, Empirical Foods, Kibble Equipment and others also offer their support for the event. 

“It’s a celebration of the beef industry and SDSU’s way of giving back and bringing people together,” Wright said. “And those of us who like to eat beef, even better.”