SDSU rodeo team’s ‘Buckles and Bling’ event kicks off Jackrabbit Stampede



Event attendees honor the SDSU rodeo team at previous Buckles and Bling fundraiser in Club 71 at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. Last year’s Buckles and Bling had 275 people in attendance and raised over $28,000.

Jessica Kott, Reporter

The SDSU rodeo team is getting ready for the ninth annual Buckles and Bling fundraiser Thursday in Club 71 at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

The event is geared toward kicking off the Jackrabbit Stampede, held March 31-April 1. Last year’s Buckles and Bling event had 275 people in attendance and  raised over $28,000. The money is raised through silent auction items, live auction items and tables. 

The money raised then goes to practice expenses for the team, as they have to rent the Swiftel Center during the winter for practices. The team also uses the money to buy or lease practice stock and feed them. Scholarships awarded at Buckles and Bling are given to incoming students and current team members. 

Scholarship winners from Steer for State are also announced during the event. Steer for State is an opportunity for ranchers and farmers to donate a calf to the rodeo team, where it eventually goes to the SDSU research farm near Beresford and is then sold as fat cattle.

This event isn’t possible without coach Ron Skovly, his wife and the rodeo team. 

“That night, everyone helps out,” Skovly said. 

The team helps set up for the event, auctions off items and tears down at the end of the night. Each team member also has to help get auction items for the night and table sponsors. The president of the rodeo club manages the Calcutta, which is when people can bet on certain rodeo members, team info and accomplishments in the event program and profiles of team members.

The event also gives the rodeo team an opportunity to get dressed up and hang out with their friends and family outside of the practice arena. Senior rodeo team member Prairie Retzer has only gotten to experience two Buckles and Bling fundraisers due to COVID, but she said she is thankful for the community and those who attend the banquet and show up to support the rodeo team. Retzer also said the team enjoys meeting the supporters and interacting with them as well as showcasing the rodeo athletes. 

“My favorite part of Buckles and Bling is seeing all the different businesses and community members come together to support SDSU rodeo and the Jackrabbit Stampede,” Retzer said.

Skolvy said having the event right before the Jackrabbit Stampede is the best time so parents don’t have to make two trips to Brookings. It helps boost attendance for the event and the rodeo in the days to follow. 

Before One Day for State, Buckles and Bling used to be the major fundraising event for the rodeo team, now, the event functions more as a tradition to kick off the Jackrabbit Stampede. 

One of the event’s biggest supporters of this event is Dana Dykhouse and his wife LaDawn, who have sponsored the meal the last five years. They also donate a NFR and PBR package to the auction. SDSU alumni members Jim Wooster and Don Richert are also frequent supporters.

SDSU’s rodeo program has a rich history of 1,200 rodeo team alumni dating back to its first meeting in 1952. The team is affiliated with the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and it averages between 40-50 members a year.

The event started in 2011, when President Barry Dunn took over as dean of CAFES and saw that Texas A&M had a fundraiser. The first event had around 120 people with over $9,000 raised at the event.