RAPID CITY, S.D. — Roundups and rodeos are a vital component of South Dakota living and history, and West River now boasts two major award winners. Rodeo Rapid City took home Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year, while Black Hills Roundup received Medium Rodeo of the Year.
“Its always an honor just to be nominated,” says Keith Anderson with Black Hills Roundup. “There’s some pretty tough rodeos out there that we’re in the same category every year, and to get a win is pretty amazing.”
The Black Hills Roundup in Bell Fourche has been going on for 102 years, and organizers say their success comes from staying true to their roots.
“We try to do our best job to take care of our contestants, they’re the ones that vote and we’re very grateful that they do and recognize us, and just try to stay old in the tradition and the heritage of the Black Hills Roundup,” Anderson adds.
Rodeo Rapid City, in its 44th year, also credits commitment to tradition to their victory. Kim Sutton with Rodeo Rapid City spoke about the representation of agriculture in this form of sports entertainment.
“Rodeo is Ag, rodeo started on the ranches,” she says. “We had our first rodeo on our ranch in 1926 and it was the cowboys from ranches around challenging each other to ‘I can ride a horse better than you!’”
After decades in the Barnett Arena, Rodeo Rapid City will be at the new Summit Arena, and organizers and participants alike are waiting with excited anticipation for the last week of January.
“The fans are going to get the fabulous experience of the Summit. There’s a lot of things we’ll be able to do with pyro and technology and entertainment-wise that will have a new fan experience,” Sutton explains.
There will also be a warm-up area for contestants, which was long-awaited by competitors. Ultimately though, the Suttons say they are proud of the connections and joy the rodeo brings to the community, providing a winter vacation to hardworking farmers and ranchers, and continuing to cling to tradition in a growing city.
“There’s so much going for Rapid City, to be the top indoor rodeo of the world, Rapid just has a lot to offer and we’re just really proud to be able to pull it together and do it,” Sutton says.
Rodeo Rapid City begins January 28 and runs through February 5, and the Black Hills Roundup is in Belle Fourche around the 4th of July.