South Dakota's new professional rodeo team met its fans and introduced itself to the public and the rodeo world, both locally, and nationally, at the 2011 Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo this month. The new format for the team concept for professional is being crafted in similar fashion to Team WYO, next door to the west. Team South Dakota is being developed and promoted by South Dakota Rodeo Hall of Famer, Paul Tierney, of Oral, SD. Tierney is a former World Champion Calf Roper and All Around Cowboy.
South Dakota rodeo athletes who are veterans of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas are eligible for potential membership on Team SoDak, making the state's professional rodeo team an elite collection of the best of the best rodeo athlete cowboys and cowgirls, from across the state. By using the model that Team WYO has been implementing, Team SoDak would have thirteen potential members presently.
Throughout the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, South Dakota's professional team athletes met and greeted fans from the Team SoDak booth in the lobby of the rodeo arena in the Civic Center. Rodeo stars signing autographs there included: Todd Suhn, steer wrestler, from Hermosa; JJ Elshere, saddle bronc rider from Quinn; Jessie Bail, bull and saddle bronc rider from Camp Crook; Joe Gunderson, bareback rider from Agar; Jake Rinehart, steer wrestler from Highmore; and rodeo legend, Paul Tierney, calf roper, steer wrestler, heeler and steer roper from Oral.
In an effort to help raise seed money to aid getting the state professional rodeo team up and running, the state's top rodeo stars donated many personal rodeo items, gear, and clothing to be sold in a silent auction. Todd Suhn's WNFR Casino Mirage black leather jacket brought the highest price, followed by JJ Elshere's WNFR Casino Mirage brown leather jacket; Jesse Bail's WNFR Casino Gold Coast vest; Jake Rinehart's Rodeo Houston Steer Wrestler Champion Vest; and Jesse Bail's signed competition shirt. Other auction donors included WNFR barrel racer Lisa Lockhart, the Black Hills Health and Wellness Center, and EquiMedic USA, Inc.
The successful Team SoDak operating model calls for a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, similar to how Team WYO has operated for the past five years. The working partnership assists the state in taking advantage of the wide ranging travels of the state's rodeo athletes, and the target market audiences who gather to experience the sport all over the nation and the world, and admire our local rodeo athletes.
With rodeo as South Dakota's adopted natural sport, and the fact that rodeo is a sought after vacation destination, rodeo athletes have great potential in attracting thousands of vacationers to the state's many rodeo opportunities as well as its western culture way of life, and its many natural and scenic wonders, also sought by the same audiences who crave more of the cowboy experience. The Team SoDak mission would take advantage of their national exposure, and notoriety as ambassadors for tourism for the state.
Current vacation interest trends indicate that the western lifestyle and cowboy persona are making a dramatic come back in the favor of vacationers and travelers. A national trend towards enjoying not only the nation's natural scenic wonders, but the simpler and more honest way of life of the western and cowboy culture, stands out as a potential increase for the state's many tourism destinations.
Additional information and interview opportunities
can be obtained from South Dakota Rodeo Legend,
Paul Tierney: 605.424.6192