South Dakota State University’s rodeo program has a rich history of over 1,200 rodeo team alumni, producing eight professional National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifiers since its start in 1952 and 103 College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifiers since 2009 alone.
The mission of the SDSU rodeo program is to provide an exceptional collegiate rodeo experience to talented student-athletes of strong character who are serious students and committed to graduating with a marketable degree from SDSU. To support this mission and to maintain the program’s strong reputation, the SDSU Rodeo Boosters was recently formed.
“I want everyone to know what a historic opportunity this is for SDSU Rodeo and the university,” said Dave Sietsema, chair of the SDSU Rodeo Boosters and SDSU Rodeo Coalition member. “With the progressive passion and leadership at SDSU, we are again separating ourselves from the competition through student engagement and community minded action. This group will lay the foundation for yet unrealized growth for the program and pave the way for the university to impact students in the future at, what I believe, will be at a global level.”
The SDSU Rodeo Boosters are committed to spreading camaraderie and support for the rodeo program through a network of interested alumni, former and current team/club members, parents of current team/club members and friends of SDSU and rodeo. This network is mobilized in various ways to promote friendships and to secure resources for state-of-the-art facilities, enhanced scholarship offerings, increased coaching and staff support, team travel and related operational expenses.
“We need to provide greater opportunities for our student-athletes who are Jackrabbits representing SDSU on a national level,” said Barry H. Dunn, SDSU President. “Our goal is to be a premier rodeo program in the nation and provide our students the resources to compete at the national level while pursuing their academic dreams that includes on-time graduation with a degree from SDSU.”
Heightening the Jackrabbit Definition of Excellence
The Boosters seek to grow the brand of SDSU and its rodeo program with engaged fundraising, marketing, and events. To imagine a bold future for the team and its fans, the group aims to help:
- Develop a collegiate rodeo team that consistently ranks in the top-5 nationally
- Recruit the best and brightest talent in the sport
- Link the SDSU rodeo program to SDSU’s Wokini Initiative and tribal nations
- Elevate enrollment and the team’s support base
- Provide future opportunities for SDSU’s rodeo club members and rodeo athletes
- Create new relationships while treasuring existing friendships
The Boosters encourage greater involvement and engagement with rodeo fans and SDSU alumni, transforming SDSU into a hub for collegiate rodeo competition and support for South Dakota’s state-designated sport.
“You can be ‘first out of the chute’ by being an inaugural member of the SDSU Rodeo Boosters,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “It is important that we continue to build upon our rich tradition of rodeo in South Dakota and support our state’s official sport.”
Five different levels of annual membership are available to those who are interested in becoming a member of the SDSU Rodeo Boosters:
- Platinum Trail Blazers: $5,000 or more
- Gold Trail Bosses: $1,000 - $4,999
- Silver Drover: $750 - $999
- Bronze Wrangler: $500 - $749
- Ranch Hand: $100 - $499
Additionally, there is a lifetime membership option for those who contribute a cumulative total of at least $50,000. Public recognition and appreciation will be provided regardless of membership level.
“We are very excited for the new SDSU Rodeo Boosters and how it will shape the future of our rodeo program,” said Ron Skovly, SDSU Rodeo Program Coach. “This first group of Boosters will be able to start connecting the dots immediately for these student-athletes and club members as they work toward graduation. Imagine how helpful it will be, for all those involved, to have a network to plug into when they are looking for advice, internships, future employment, and more, all because this group said yes to paying it forward.”
For more information about the SDSU Rodeo Program, rodeo schedule, Boosters and more, visit our Rodeo page. Those who are interested in becoming a member of the SDSU Rodeo Boosters can contact Ron Skovly, SDSU Rodeo Program Coach via email or 605-690-1359 or Clay Hoffman, Loyalty Giving Officer for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, by email or 605-697-7475 Ext. 1048.