Vol. 23, No. 16; Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

Jan 5, 2023 | Parker's Midweek Update | 0 comments


This is the issue that brings you our Parkie Awards for the year 2022. You will find them at the bottom of this Midweek Update.


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
— Oprah Winfrey


This week’s schedules:
Gymnastics: at Aberdeen Central triangular, 5 p.m.
Boys basketball: at Sioux Falls Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Girls basketball: home vs. Sioux Falls Lincoln, 7 p.m.
Boys wrestling: at Lyman invitational, 11 a.m.
Girls wrestling: home vs. Harrisburg, 7 p.m.
Boys wrestling: at Lyman invitational, 9 a.m.
Girls wrestling: at Lyman invitational, 9 a.m.
Gymnastics: at Brookings invitational, 11 a.m.
Girls basketball: at Sioux Falls Washington, 3 p.m.
Boys basketball: home vs. Sioux Falls Washington, 4 p.m.
Boys basketball: home vs. Winner, 7 p.m.
Wrestling: at Harrisburg, 7 p.m.

Boys basketball (5-0): The Governor boys remained perfect with two wins in the Black Hills last weekend. Pierre rolled Spearfish, 61-41, and did the same at Sturgis, 45-26.

Girls basketball (5-0): The girls likewise are still unbeaten after beating Spearfish, 57-44, and Sturgis, 63-45. Tuesday’s game against Lincoln was postponed to tonight (Thursday).

Wrestling: Idle over the holidays, the Governors were to have resumed wrestling Tuesday, but the match against Harrisburg was weathered out and will be made up next Tuesday.


This week’s schedules:
Gymnastics: at Aberdeen Central triangular, 5 p.m.
Girls basketball: at McLaughlin.
Boys basketball: at McLaughlin.
Wrestling: at Lyman invitational.
Wrestling: at Lyman invitational.
Girls basketball: at Redfield Classic.
Girls basketball: at Philip.
Boys basketball: at Philip.
Gymnastics: at Pierre dual.
Girls basketball: at Potter County.

Boys basketball (1-4): After a season-opening win over Miller the Buffaloes have lost four in a row, including 58-25 to Winner, 63-40 to Herreid-Selby Area and 60-39 to Highmore-Harrold.

Girls basketball (1-6): The girls lost to Winner, 52-15; won their first game of the year over Herreid-Selby Area, 48-44, and lost to Highmore-Harrold, 53-45.


This week’s schedules:
Boys basketball: at Highmore-Harrold.
Wrestling: at Lyman invitational.
Girls basketball: home vs. Highmore-Harrold.
Girls basketball: at Redfield Classic.
Wrestling: at Lyman invitational.
Girls basketball: home vs. Aberdeen Roncalli.
Boys basketball: home vs. Aberdeen Roncalli.
Boys basketball: at Ipswich.

Boys basketball (0-2): The Charger boys have still played only two games. They lost at Winner, 65-38, as Wesley Wittler scored 20 points, and they lost to Lyman, 56-47, as Landon Hepker had 26 points and Wittler seven.

Girls basketball (4-0): The Chargers defeated Lyman, 46-34, led by Lydia Hill’s 16 points and Ally Wittler’s 11, then beat Philip, 53-23.

Volleyball: Lydia Hill and Stevie Wittler were named first-team all-conference in the Yellowstone Trail Conference. Caitlin Birney was named to the all-conference second team.


Jan. 6, 2022: U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, said, “We are in the fight of our lives to save the American democracy.”


1 day: Georgia Morse Middle School concert (Jan. 6).
2 days: Inauguration events in Pierre (Jan. 7).
2 days: Pierre Athletic Hall of Fame inductions (Jan. 7).
3 days: FCS national championship game, ABC-TV (Jan. 8).
4 days: FBS national championship game, ESPN (Jan. 9).
5 days: Legislative session begins (Jan. 10).
5 days: Golden Globes awards, NBC-TV (Jan. 10).
9 days: NFL playoffs begin (Jan. 14-15-16).
11 days: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16).
15 days: Pierre girls wrestling invitational (Jan. 20).
16 days: Pierre boys wrestling invitational (Jan. 21).
22 days: Rodeo Rapid City and Black Hills Stock Show (Jan. 27-Feb. 4).
22 days: Riggs High one-act play (Jan. 27-28).
28 days: State one-act play festival, Sioux Falls O’Gorman (Feb. 2).
30 days: ESD gymnastics meet, Pierre (Feb. 4).
31 days: Grammy awards, CBS-TV (Feb. 5).
36 days: State gymnastics meet, Aberdeen (Feb. 10-11).
38 days: Super Bowl, Fox-TV (Feb. 12).
40 days: Valentines Day (Feb. 14).
42 days: ESD girls wrestling tournament, Brandon (Feb. 16).
44 days: Regional boys wrestling tournament, Mission (Feb. 18).
46 days: Presidents Day (Feb. 20).
49 days: State wrestling tournaments, Rapid City (Feb. 23-25).
50 days: Pierre Players’ “The Outsiders” (Feb. 24-26, March 2-4).
51 days: Minnesota Loons MLS season opener (Feb. 25).
54 days: Georgia Morse Middle School musical (Feb. 28, March 2).


Oahe Capitals boys varsity: The Caps drilled Huron, 8-1, as Colin Lee had to make only eight saves while his offense was red hot. Ashton Griese achieved a hat trick, Barret Schweitzer had two goals, and Jarron Beck, Devin Dodson and Aidan Dozark each added a goal. The Caps hit the road out to Rushmore for an 8 p.m. MST game Saturday.

Oahe Capitals girls varsity: The girls defeated Huron, 6-4, as Emily Nemec, Brenna Ullmann, Ava Lavinger, Katherine Reiss, Micah Buffalo and Sara Bierne each scored a goal, and Sophia Peshong in the net made 18 saves. The Caps lost to Brookings, 5-1, with Lavinger scoring the only Oahe goal and Abigail Stewart-Fromm making 21 saves. In a 3-0 loss to Sioux Falls Fromm made 23 saves in 48:52, and Peschong made one save in 2:08 in goal. The girls’ next game is at Brookings at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 15.

Badlands Sabres (Mason Martin): The Sabres lost twice to Bozeman, 3-2 and 4-1. Badlands next plays Jan. 13-14 at home vs. Yellowstone.

Rapid City Rush: The Rush lost twice more to Wichita, 5-1 and 7-4, then took two of three from Tulsa, winning 7-4 and 4-3 in overtime and losing 5-1. Rapid City is home Thursday, Friday and Saturday vs. Utah.

Aberdeen Wings: The Wings beat St. Cloud twice, 3-2 in a shootout and 2-1. Aberdeen goes to Austin Friday and Saturday.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild lost to San Jose 5-2, beat Winnipeg 4-1, lost to Dallas 4-1, beat St. Louis 5-2 and last night won over Tampa Bay 5-1. Minnesota next plays Buffalo Saturday, St. Louis Sunday and the New York Rangers Tuesday.


11 a.m.: Legislative oaths in the House and Senate chambers. Free and open to the public.
Noon: Executive oaths in the Capitol Rotunda. Free and open to the public.
1:30 p.m.: Receiving line on first floor of the Capitol. Free and open to the public.
6 p.m.: Capitol Ball in the Capitol Rotunda with a grand march at 7:30. $25 per person.
8 p.m.: Inaugural Ball at the Ramkota Hotel with a grand march at 9:30. $25 per person.
(For tickets go to www.sdinaugural.com.)


Sept. 2: at Indiana
Sept. 9: Youngstown State
Sept. 16: Western Kentucky
Sept. 23: at Notre Dame
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Purdue
Oct. 21: Penn State.
Oct. 28: at Wisconsin
Nov. 4: at Rutgers
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Minnesota
Nov. 25: at Michigan

Aug. 31: at Minnesota
Sept. 9: at Colorado
Sept. 16: Northern Illinois
Sept. 23: Louisiana Tech
Sept. 30: Michigan
Oct. 7: at Illinois
Oct. 21: Northwestern
Oct. 28: Purdue
Nov. 4: at Michigan State
Nov. 11: Maryland
Nov. 18: at Wisconsin
Nov. 24: Iowa

Aug. 31: Nebraska
Sept. 9: Eastern Michigan
Sept. 16: at North Carolina
Sept. 23: at Northwestern
Sept. 30: Louisiana-Lafayette
Oct. 7: Michigan
Oct. 21: at Iowa
Oct. 28: Michigan State
Nov. 4: Illinois
Nov. 11: at Purdue
Nov. 18: at Ohio State
Nov. 25: Wisconsin

Denver Broncos: The Broncos, after their head coach was fired early in the week, played a respectable game and gave Kansas City a good game before losing 27-24. Now 4-12, the Broncos close the season this weekend at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Minnesota Vikings: Playing at Green Bay, the Vikings were embarrassed to the tune of 41-17 and fell to 12-4. While they are in the playoffs for sure, they are at risk now for dropping from the #2 seed to the #3 seed. Actually losing to the Bears this coming weekend would likely keep them at #3, and the Vikings would then avoid playing Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs if the Packers make it. Or if the 49ers win their game over Arizona, the Vikings would remain the #3 seed and would host either the Giants, the Lions or the Seahawks in the first round on Jan. 14, 15 or 16.

NFL games on live local TV this week:
— Saturday, 3:30 p.m.: Kansas City at Las Vegas, ABC and ESPN.
— Saturday, 7:15 p.m.: Tennessee at Jacksonville, ABC and ESPN.
— Sunday, noon: Minnesota at Chicago, Fox.
— Sunday, noon: (game to be determined), CBS.
— Sunday, 3:05 p.m.: (games to be determined), Fox and CBS.
— Sunday, 7:20 p.m.: Detroit at Green Bay, NBC.


In Contest #19, which covered a pair of bowl games and eight NFL games over Christmas weekend, found losses by Baylor, the Eagles and the Dolphins fouling up our contestants. But at 8-2 were Terry Tousley, Jon Boer, Christian Hess and Thomas Voeltz. At 7-3 were Randy Pool, Kyle Richards, Levi Neuharth, Beth Rinehart, Mikal Kern, Nathan Vetter and Dawn Magee. At 6-4 were Eric James, Seb Axtman, David Ludwig, Jason Noyes and Debra Bollinger.

In Contest #20, which covered 10 bowl games, our contestants found that predicting bowl winners is not as easy as forecasting NFL games. But at 7-3 for 10 points each were Jon Boer, Jason Noyes, David Ludwig, Gary Richter, Thomas Voeltz and Beth Rinehart. At 6-4 for 9 points apiece were Eric James, Laurie Johnson, Debra Bollinger, MIkal Kern and Nathan Vetter. At 5-5 for 8 points each were Levi Neuharth and Kyle Richards.

In Contest #21, losses by the Dolphins to the Patriots as well as bowl losses by Utah, Michigan and USC plagued out contestants. At 7-3 for 10 points each were Seb Axtman, Dawn Magee and Jon Boer. At 9 points each with 6-4 marks were Mikal Kern, Levi Neuharth and Nathan Vetter. At 5-5 for 8 points each were Jason Noyes, Randy Pool, Kyle Richards, David Ludwig and Thomas Voeltz.

In Contest #22, we eliminated the suspended Bills-Bengals game, so with only nine games to consider, Mikal Kern, Jon Boer and Thomas Voeltz had 7-2 records for 10 points each. At 6-3 for 9 points each were Jason Noyes, Seb Axtman, Dawn Magee, Kyle Richards, Levi Neuharth, Eric James and David Ludwig. No one earned 8 points with 5-4 records.

Contest #23 (send your 10 winners to parkerhome16@hotmail.com by SATURDAY noon):
(1) FCS national championship: SDSU vs. NDSU.
(2) NFL: Tennessee at Jacksonville.
(3) NFL: New England at Buffalo.
(4) NFL: Baltimore at Cincinnati.
(5) NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle.
(6) NFL: Cleveland at Pittsburgh.
(7) NFL: Arizona at San Francisco.
(8) NFL: Minnesota at Chicago.
(9) NFL: Detroit at Green Bay
(10) BCS national championship: TCU vs. Georgia.


PGA Champions Tour (Tom Byrum): After a holiday break in the schedule the Champions Tour schedule for 2023 begins with the Mitsubishi Electric championships in Hawaii Jan. 19-21.


Midco Sports Network live games this week:
Men’s basketball: USD vs. UND, 7 p.m.
Women’s basketball: USD vs. UND, 7 p.m. (MS2).
Men’s hockey: UND vs. Lindenwood, 7 p.m.
Men’s basketball: SDSU vs. UND, 1 p.m.
Women’s basketball: SDSU vs. UND, 2 p.m. (MS2).
Men’s hockey: UND vs. LIndenwood, 6 p.m.
Girls basketball: Sioux Valley vs. Hamlin, 6:30 p.m.
Boys basketball: Sioux Valley vs. Hamlin, 8 p.m.

Summit League update:
* USD (6-8): Defeated St. Thomas 92-84; defeated Western Illinois 80-63.
Upcoming games: Thursday at UND, Saturday at NDSU.
* SDSU 7-8): Defeated Western Illinois 71-64; defeated St. Thomas by the same score.
Upcoming games: Thursday at NDSU, Saturday at UND.
* USD (7-8): Defeated St. Thomas 58-56; lost to Western Illinois 76-67.
Upcoming games: Thursday home vs. UND; Saturday home vs. NDSU.
* SDSU (11-5): Defeated Western Illinois 85-63; defeated St. Thomas 61-51.
Upcoming games: Thursday home vs. NDSU; Saturday home vs. UND.

Sioux Falls Skyforce: The Force lost to Oklahoma City, 112-108; lost to Ontario, 99-95; beat Ontario, 123-110 and last night edged Texas 132-130. Sioux Falls plays at Rio Grande Valley Friday and Saturday and at Stockton Monday.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves had a losing streak that extended to six games, concluding with losses to Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Mmilwaukee and Detroit. Since then they have beaten Denver, 124-111, and last night beat Portland, 113-106. Now 18-22, Minnesota plays the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, Houston Sunday and Detroit next Wednesday.


Plant seeds every single day that you know who you are, you know what you’re about and you know what goals you’ve set for yourself.
— Steph Curry


Mary wrestling (Lincoln Turman): The Marauders return to action at the NWCA national duals in Louisville Friday and Saturday.

South Dakota State swimming (Morgan Nelson): The Jacks’ next meet is a dual vs. St. Cloud State on Jan. 14.

South Dakota men’s basketball (Max Burchill): The Coyote men won two Summit League games. In a 92-84 win over St. Thomas, Max had two rebounds, one assist and a steal. In an 80-63 win over Western Illinois he had three boards, two assists and a steal. Now 7-8 overall and 2-1 in the league, USD goes to UND Thursday and to NDSU Saturday.

The next scheduled meets for indoor track-field teams:
— Northern (Addison Cumbow): dual vs. Jamestown Jan. 14.
— USF (Jessica Lutmer): Mount Marty Open Jan. 14.
— Dakota Wesleyan t(Cobey Carr, Abby Ferris): Dordt Open Jan. 14.
— South Dakota Mines (Erick Colman): BHSU meet Jan. 14.
— Minnesota State-Mankato (Maya Shorter): home meet Jan. 13.
— Black Hills State (Frank Becker): home meet Jan. 14.

Dakota Wesleyan wrestling (Aric Williams, Tyson Johnson): The Tigers return to the mats at the Hastings Open Saturday.

Augustana swimming (Ella Ward-Zeller): The next meet for the Vikings is a dual vs. Omaha Jan. 19.

Mount Marty men’s basketball (Lincoln Jordre): The Lancers lost to Dordt, 82-73. Mount Marty returns to action tonight (Thursday) against Concordia, then plays at home vs. Northwestern next Wednesday.

Augustana women’s basketball (Katie Bourk, Aislinn Duffy): The Vikings won a league game over Wayne State, 80-77. Aislin was 2-of-7 for four points with three rebounds, four steals and two assists. Now 12-2 overall and 6-2 in the NSIC, Augie goes to Northern Friday and to MSU-Moorhead Saturday.

North Dakota State football (Grey Zabel): The Bison play SDSU for the FCS national championship in Frisco, Texas, at 1 p.m. CST Sunday on ABC-TV.

South Dakota State football (Regan Bollweg): The Jackrabbits take on NDSU for the FCS national championship in Frisco, Texas, at 1 p.m. CST Sunday on ABC-TV.

Dakota Wesleyan men’s basketball (Nick Wittler): The Tigers won over Viterbo in LaCrosse, Wis., 78-75, and Nick was 1-of-4 (1-of-3 in threes) for three points with one rebound. Tuesday’s game against Briar Cliff was postponed to tonight (Thursday) by the blizzard in eastern South Dakota. DWU then plays at Concordia Saturday and at home next Wednesday vs. Midland.


  • At the bottom of this Midweek Update we present the Parkie Awards for 2022, and we suspect some of the recipients will not be pleased at their being “honored.” Oh well. Others will be, so it’s all good. There are no gold medals, no trophies, no certificates, just the glory of being mentioned in print. If you try very hard—especially if you’re a politician in this state—the chances are good you will find yourself in this list of awards for the smart or dumb things you did or did not do during 2023. So get to work! (And remember, this is all in fun, even if you are offended.)
  • Some sports notes: The Summit League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be five days in length instead of four because there are 10 teams involved in each instead of eight. ….. The Big 10 women’s conference basketball tournament is at the Target Center in Minneapolis this March. ….. Some of our Dakota schools’ schedules in the Missouri Valley Football Conference will have new looks this fall since Murray State joins the conference beginning this fall. Murray is located in far southwestern Kentucky, very close to the southeastern tip of Missouri and the southern tip of Illinois, so it is relatively close to other MVFC schools such as Missouri State and Southern Illinois.


Thursday, Jan. 5:
Bowen Goehring, Mary (Hight) Wire, Maren Formanek, Mike Shoup, Jeff Schlekeway.

Friday, Jan. 6:
Stephanie (Ellenbecker) Vandel, Patrick Baker, Bradley Dean, Brad Englund, Nancy McKenney, Ruth Ann Scharnweber, Scott Lovald, Dan Currier, Crystal Ortbahn, RIley Hausmann, Deneen Clausen.
— 1st anniversary, Anthony/Angie (Iverson) Hoekman.

Saturday, Jan. 7:
Alisa (DeMers) Bousa, Amber (Russell) Lockwood, Ellen (Gormley) Hopper, Jordan LaBrie, Hannah Waack, Eileen Briggs, Lucy Bradley, J.D. Pohlman, Bryan Beck, Kim de Hueck, Peter Mickelson.

Sunday, Jan. 8:
Drew Garry, Grayson Hunsley, Bruce Pearson, Perry Job, Keaton Schneider, William Coolidge, Erik Osterkamp, Hudson Jarecke, Schelle Fuchs, Sigrid Wald.

Monday, Jan. 9:
Mabel Kusler (#87), Dan Rounds, Phil Howard, Aaron Chittum, Dan Rasmussen, Amy (Tate) Mancuso, Jamie (Jaeger) Spaid, Earl Lindell, Gavin Picchietti, Melissa Foss, Katie Douglas, Cheri (McComsey) Wittler, Susan Pietrus, Deb (Marshall) Harkless, Carol Uecker, Chiles Heien.
— 13th anniversary, Merlin/Nicole (Mikkelsen) Schwinler.
— 7th anniversary, Max/Kylie (Mundt) Erickson.

Tuesday, Jan. 10:
Ryan Fowler, Kelli Koll, Tara (Dieken) Mangan, David Johnson, McLean (Thompson) Kerver, Rich Zabel, Jason Irion, Landon Russell, Evelyn Rounds, Ben Gloe, Mallory (Petersen) Dekker.

Wednesday, Jan. 11:
Mitch Foth, Ben Kramer, Terri Disburg, Chris Mangan, Kyle Kurth, Lowell Gordon, Michelle Rose, Laura Truax, Susie Rilling, Kristie (Hallock) Moore, Nolan Bisbee, Naomi Lors, Beverly Mickelson.
— 3rd anniversary, Cody Tibbs/Laurie Johnson.

Thursday, Jan. 12:
Lyndsey Ring, Terry Woster, Meaghan (Anderson) Neuberger, Nicole Mosiman, Randy Sprenkle, Ripley Joy, Trey Owens, Sheila (Beougher) Lee, Lane Kozel.
— 5th anniversary, Stuart/Heather Stofferahn.


“The Republican party used to believe in a big tent, which welcomed the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Now we shelter the ignorant, the racists, who only stoke anger and hatred to those that are different than us. Our constituents voted us in based on our beliefs, but we cannot use our faith as a sword and a shield while ignoring the fact that we are all children of God, that we are all Americans.”
— U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger in his last speech in Congress


Nancy (Hartwell) Stirling-Neuhauser, 88, passed away on Christmas Day. Her funeral was held Dec. 30 at First United Methodist Church. Nancy grew up in Pierre. She married Richard Stirling in 1949, and they lived first on the Stirling homestead west of Fort Pierre. In 1964 they took their children and cattle herd across Oahe Dam to the Stirling Ranch near Highmore. Nancy served the community and the beef industry in many capacities. She was state president of the South Dakota CowBelles, chair of the 2005 National Beef Cookoff and national president of the National Cattlewomen’s Association. She worked as a waitress at the Fort Pierre sale barn, ran the cafe at the Highmore sale barn and was executive director of the National Buffalo Association. She married Raymond Neuhauser in 2000, and they lived on a ranch at Robbs Flat near Midland until retiring in Pierre in 2007. Nancy is survived by her husband, Raymond; her children, Kathy Heezen of Miller, Julie (Rodney) Fieldsend of Sioux Falls, Sandy (Randy) Sivertsen of Ree Heights, Allen (Fran) Stirling of Fort Pierre, Brett (Rhonda) Stirling of Hemingford, Neb., Carrie (Tom) Kelly of Gardendale, Texas, and Kristen (Mike) Grant of Whitewood; 30 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren, and Raymond’s four children.

Jaxin Melby, daughter of former Pierre/Fort Pierre resident Kyle Melby and his wife, Lisa, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Charleston in West Virginia with a bachelor of science degree in public health. Jaxin is now home with her parents in Nolensville, Tenn., while she applies to companies in the health care field.

The first baby of 2023 born at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital was Evelyn Leesa Schuetzle, the daughter of Luke and Trinity Schuetzle. She was born Jan. 2, weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces, and measuring 19 1/2 inches. She joins Fiona, Hayes and Quentin in the Schuetzle family who live primarily in Pierre. Luke, however, continues to make movies constantly and spends a great deal of time in Los Angeles.

Katherine “Kay” Hammond, 97, died in Gettysburg Dec. 15. A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Kay graduated from Brookings High School in 1943 and earned a home economics degree at South Dakota State College. She married James Hammond in 1947. They lived in Clark and Hot Springs before moving to Pierre in 1957. In 1965 Kay was the first director/teacher of the Head Start program in Pierre. She worked with Head Start until 1974 and served on its board for 21 years. She also helped the AAUW develop its preschool program in 1967 and was its director for five years. From 1977 to 1984 Kay was the early childhood consultant for the state Department of Education. She also taught at Pierre Indian Learning Center for two years. She is survived by her son, Mark (Kathy) Hammond of Pierre; her granddaughter Kelsey of Rapid City, and her son, Steve (Lynn) Hammond of Rapid City. Among those preceding her in death were her husband, a sister and her parents.

The theme of Dale and Eileen Bertsch’s Christmas letter was that “there is nothing like a grandchild to put a smile on your face, a lump in your throat and a warm feeling in your heart.” The children of Todd and Shantel (Kocer) are son August, a fifth grader, and daughter Ashlyn, a third grader. The children of Adam and Megan (Linn) are daughter Elliot, an eighth grader, and son Oskar, a third grader.

John Bothwell, 81, died Christmas Day at Avantara in Pierre. His funeral took place Dec. 29 at the Isburg Funeral Chapel. John grew up in Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ann Zapp in Maryland in 1960, and they raised three sons. In 1963 they moved to the Barrick Ranch northwest of Fort Pierre and worked for Roy Lathem until 1969. John bought his grandmother’s farm near Virgil. In 1979 he sold the farm and returned to the Barrick Ranch to work for Tommy Hickman until 2002. John spent winters working for Evergreen Caissons in Colorado and summers doing custom haying and working at a campground at Wall. In 2007 he retired and settled in Fort Pierre. In 2009 he married Lenette Oldfield and gained two stepdaughters. He is survived by his wife, Lenette; his brother, Chuck Bothwell; his sons, Steve, Thad and Shane (Darleen); his stepdaughters, Jeanie (Lorne) King and Joanie Oldfield; six grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

When the South Dakota Sportswriters Association made its annual year-end awards covering 2022, selected as the high school girls team of the year was the 2021-22 Pierre Governors girls wrestling team, which won the very first girls state team championship.

Nick and Mallori (Barnett) Johnson of Pierre have a daughter in their family as of Dec. 19. Riley Elizabeth Johnson weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and measured 19 3/4 inches in length. She joins brothers Grady, 6, and Griffin, 4, in their family.

Jim Etzkorn, 95, died at home in Rapid City on Dec. 11. Mass of Christian Burial took place Dec. 30 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Rapid City, followed by burial at Black Hills National Cemetery. Jim grew up on the family farm at DeGrey. He attended high school in Pierre, milking cows to pay for his room and board in town. He married Ruth Shoemaker in 1950. Jim served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army between 1950 and 1952. Back in Pierre, he worked for 25 years as a heavy-duty scale inspector for the Public Utilities Commission. In 1979 he went to Kansas City to work as a federal scale inspector until 1982. He transferred to the Dairy Branch and worked till retiring in 1992. The Etzkorns moved back to South Dakota and settled in Rapid City. Jim is survived by his children, Catherine (Van) Simpfenderfer, Charles (Linda) Etzkorn, Carol (Tony) Boggs, Monica (Jeff) Honza and Robert (Teresa) Etzkorn; 11 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; his sister, Mary Aasby, and his brother, Terrance Etzkorn.

A.J. Stoeser has received the Farmer/Rancher of the Year award from the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce. A.J. is married to the former Amanda Huck, and they are the parents of four children.

Glenn Kietzmann, 96, died Dec. 22. His funeral was held Jan. 4 at First Congregational United Church of Christ. He graduated from Blunt High School in 1944 and served in the U.S. Navy. Glenn was a long-time drummer with local bands, concluding with Juell’s Combo who played their last job in 1999. Glenn married Janet Mulvaney in 1956, and they raised their family on Polk Avenue. He had a 40-year career with the Department of Transportation, working as a draftsman, as a drawer of statewide maps and maps of every county, and as one of the designers of the interstate highway system in South Dakota. He is survived by three children, Barbara (John) Antkowiah, Debra Ellsworth and Glenn (Tami) Kietzmann Jr.; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A benefit fun night fund-raiser for Darin Anderson is being planned for Friday, Jan. 20, at Drifters. Darin suffered a heart attack this past fall. He and his wife, the former Lynsey Meyer, are the parents of three children. The event at Drifters, hosted by the Oahe Home Builders Association, will involve a social at 5:30 p.m., blackjack and dart tournaments at 6 and a live auction at 8. For tickets go to this site: www.eventbrite.com/e/477693814057.

Onida native Jon Stahl, the longest-tenured uniformed member of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, has been promoted to the position of captain of District 4. Jon is married to the former Cathy Hansen of Pierre.

Speaking of Stahls in law enforcement, Jon’s older brother, Bill Stahl, this week was sworn in to begin his ninth term as sheriff of Sully County.

Sandra Peterson died Dec. 20. A memorial service will be held at a later date. She graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls in 1960. She and husband Ron lived in Sioux Falls, moved to Huron in 1967 and came to Pierre in 1972. She worked at the Country King fast-food restaurant for five years, then worked at the State Library until retiring. She is survived by her husband, Ron Peterson; her daughter, Rhonda Peterson of Pierre; her son, Jeffrey Peterson of Pierre; three grandchildren; a great-grandson, and a brother, Larry (Jeane) Kannenberg of Black Hawk.

Travis and Lauren Scharnweber took home their new twin daughters on Christmas Eve. Lucy Jo and Hazel Maria were born Dec. 22. Lucy weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and Hazel weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces. The Scharnwebers live in Laveen, a southern suburb of Phoenix and have an older son and daughter. Travis is a radiologist with SimonMed Imaging.

Mary Gales Askren, who for a time 20 years ago or so was an ace reporter for the Capital Journal, has retired from newspaper work after several years at the Madison Daily Leader. She is now working on a book contract with East River Electric Cooperative to first research and then write the cooperative’s 75th anniversary book. Personally speaking, three years after her cancer diagnosis, Mary is doing well and is part of a clinical trial with a drug that does not cure cancer but which prolongs life. Mary during 2022 was also selected for the Change Network, a project funded by the Bush Foundation to educate people to be change agents in their communities by teaching them to navigate difficult conversations and accomplish goals. On a partnership with Avera Healthcare System, Mary is writing a book on cancer as a spiritual journey, and that book will be distributed in May at all six of Avera’s cancer centers when their annual cancer walks are held.

Kip Eickhoff, 65, died at home on Dec. 24. A memorial service was held Jan. 2 at the Isburg Funeral Chapel. Kip was born in Pierre, then moved with his family to Valentine, Neb., where he graduated from high school in 1975. He married Janette in 1984, and they divorced in 1992. KIp moved to Pierre and worked at Petersen Motors, Harley Davidson and Titan Machinery, retiring in 2019. He married Tina Flynn in 2015 and acquired three stepchildren. Kip was a long-time member of Oahe A.B.A.T.E. and attended the Sturgis motorcycle rally for 43 consecutive years. Survivors include his wife, Tina; his daughter, Stephanie Peterson; his stepchildren, Jolene Juneau, Derek (Mandy) Juneau and Kayla Sandeen, and four grandchildren.

The Christmas letter from Ashley (Iverson) and Jason Feyereisen up in the Watertown area says that Ashley is now in her sixth year with the surgery department at Prairie Lakes Hospital, and she has taken on the position of urology coordinator and keeps busy training new employees. Jason is still the “man in charge” at Tessier’s Inc. He works constantly in his free time as well, having completed one bedroom, a bathroom, a ceiling and a stone fireplace in 2022. As reported in the Iverson family letter, Mia will be 5 in April, and Sloane was born in November. The Feyereisens, with Sloane at home but Mia along for the ride, will be going to Honduras late this month for the wedding of Ashley’s cousin, and Ash is eager to show her husband and daughter her mom Rosa’s homeland.

It was a happy beginning to the new year for Tyler and Jill Merriam in Brookings where they were able to take home their baby boy Wyatt after 94 days of wires, tubes and alarms in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. This is a big week professionally for Tyler, too, as he gets to broadcast a national championship football game for his SDSU Jackrabbits for the second time in his play-by-play career. Just this week Tyler was named the 2022 winner of the Bill Schwanke Award as the top broadcaster in all of Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football nationwide. He has been the radio voice of SDSU football, as well as Jackrabbit men’s basketball and baseball, for more than a decade. He was one of seven finalists for the award, which is named in honor of long-time University of Montana announcer Bill Schwanke.

Succeeding Laurie Gill as secretary of the Department of Social Services will be Matt Althoff, who for the last 15 years worked for the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls and, among other things, helped develop the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House.

Sharon Smith died Dec. 13 after a battle against Alzheimer’s disease. A memorial service will be held in the spring. Born in Nebraska, Sharon moved with her family to Oregon at an early age. She married Kendall Smith, and they remained married for 65 years until his death in 2020. In Oregon Sharon was bookkeeper for the family farm, and during mint harvest seasons she ran the distillery alongside Kendall. The Smiths moved to South Dakota in 1981. Sharon worked as a legal secretary in the Kneip Building for many years. She and her husband were members of New Life Assembly of God. Survivors include two daughters, Kristi Smith and Trisha (Gabe) Moya; two sons, Kasey (Dawn) Smith and Kerry (Kathy) Smith, and five grandchildren. Among those who preceded her in death were her husband and a son, Bryan Smith.

Coach Steve Steele and his wife, Audrey, revealed on Facebook they are expecting their fourth child in June. The Steeles already are the parents of Simon, who will be 6 this year; Gianna, who will be 4, and Shay, who will be 2.

Dennis and Joyce Williams and their family held their Christmas family gathering at Thanksgiving time since past history has shown them that trying to schedule such events amid Christmastime weather is a bad idea. They had 18 people at their house for five days, seeing the bald eagles at the dam, feeding the Capitol Lake geese, inspecting the Capitol Christmas trees, hiking in Hilger’s Gulch and playing pickleball at Griffin Park. Oldest son Paul is still head girls tennis coach at Mankato East, and his daughter Samantha, a seventh grader, is #1 singles player on the varsity team. John is head boys tennis coach at Sioux Falls Christian and assistant coach for the girls team, and he continues to play league tennis and tournaments. Chris still plays in some tournaments and is teaching his four kids the game. Eight-year-old Weston and the 6-year-old triplets keep Chris and Lindsey occupied. Chris plays more pickleball than tennis these days. Marie (Williams) and Gary have sent their youngest, Brett, off to college at UND. Older brother Tyler is on a hockey team in Missouri and became engaged in 2022. Marie paid the price for being a loyal fan, getting hit with a puck at one of Brett’s games and needing six stitches. Brett will be home this coming summer to play baseball with their town team. The Williamses’ oldest granddaughter, Marissa, daughter of Paul and Christie, lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and will graduate in the spring with a degree in the medical field. John and Laura’s eight-year-old, Ericka, who endured tough younger years, has been seizure-free for four years The Williamses also have Kennedy, 5. As for Dennis and Joyce, a trip to Germany that was originally scheduled for the first COVID year of 2020 finally happened in 2022. A highlight was the Passion Pay at Oberammergau.

Gator’s Pizza will donate $3 from each 14-inch pizza sold between 4 and 8 p.m. on Tuesdays to the Pierre Wildcats Special Olympics team.

Tate and Kristin Gabriel revealed on Facebook that their family of three will become a family of five in July. They are expecting twins to join their son in their family. A gender reveal shows that one of the twins will be a boy and the other a girl.

Rodd Bauck’s Riggs High Chamber Choir will be one of the guest performing groups in Rapid City at the winter conference of the South Dakota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). The Pierre students will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at First United Methodist Church at 7th and Kansas City streets in downtown Rapid City. Other performing groups at the convention will be the Black Hills State University Chamber Singers, the Dakota Wesleyan University Chamber Singers and the SDSU Concert Choir.

Bob Clark passed away Dec. 30 at the age of 75. His funeral is being held this (Thursday) morning at 11 a.m. at Lutheran Memorial Church, followed by a luncheon at Drifters. Bob grew up in Howard where he was an outstanding athlete, and he attended USD on a football scholarship and graduated in 1970 with a bachelor of science degree in education. He taught and coached at Sioux Falls LIncoln for nine years but also taught motorcycle training courses and DUI classes for the court system. He completed his master’s degree from USD in 1974. Bob and Pat were married in 1971, and Cammy was born in 1975 and Zach in 1979. Bob was hired by the Department of Public Safety to be in charge of driver’s licensing programming and administering federal grant money to reduce highway accidents. He later entered the private sector as an insurance agent and had offices in Pierre and Rapid City. Always a teacher, he taught people how to waterski and jitterbug and taught a course on the intricacies of the sport for football mothers. He is survived by his wife, Pat Clark; his daughter, Camela (Tyson) Theeler and their daughter Maya of Sioux Falls; his son Zach (Liza) Clark and their daughters Kenzie and Izzy of Pierre; his brother, Jim (Linda) Clark of Prescott, Ariz.; his sister, MaryAnn (Al Salmonson of Olympia, Wash., and four nieces and a nephew.

Joe Graves, who has been superintendent of the public schools in Mitchell since 2000, has been named secretary of the Department of Education.

Our sympathy to Jeremy Ripperger, Amy (Ripperger) Grunewaldt and Mat Ripperger whose father, Jeremy Ripperger of Hartford, passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Service details will be forthcoming. Jeremy and his family live in Wisconsin near Milwaukee, Amy and her family in Cedar Rapids and Mat and his family in Sioux Falls.


The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.
— J. P. Morgan


* Slap of the Year award: to Will Smith for “defending” his wife’s honor by slapping Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars. What a man! We won’t see him at the Oscars for 10 years due to his ban, but we’ll survive.

* Young Guns award: to the champions of golf’s majors in ’22—Scottie Scheffler at the Masters, Justin Thomas at the PGA, Matt Fitzpatrick at the U.S. Open and Cameron Smith at the British Open.

* Get Rid of These Commercials award: to Progressive Insurance which still has that guy who harps on young homeowners becoming their parents. You could get rid of Flo and Jamie and their crowd, too, and I wouldn’t mind.

* What She Did He Should Have award: To Serena Williams and Tom Brady. She retired and will probably remain retired. He retired, then un-retired, and he should have quit after his last Super Bowl when his legacy was as perfect as it could have been.

* Men’s College Team of the Year award: to the SDSU football Jackrabbits, who two years ago were within a half-minute of a national championship and who get another chance this weekend in the FCS title game. These guys have somehow been able to make Jacks fans out of Coyotes!

* President of the Year award: to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy who stayed in the midst of war to lead his people in defending their nation.

* Baseball’s Best Moment award: to the Padres when, down 3-0, they scored five runs in a thrilling seventh against the big, bad Dodgers to take a 3-1 series lead in their divisional series.

* Baseball’s Best Moment runner-up award: to the Phillies who, trailing by three into the top of the ninth, scored six times to whip the Cardinals and steal Game 1 of their wild-card series.

* State News Sources award: to the nonprofit news services such as South Dakota NewsWatch, South Dakota Searchlight and The Dakota Scout which we can depend on to cover state government and statewide news, even when certain politicians don’t want it covered.

* Hometown Heroes award: to the snowplow drivers, the tow truck operators, the sheriffs’ deputies, the rescue squads, the troopers and the first responders for heroic work in rescuing reckless drivers in the midst of our 4-day December blizzard.

* Dumbbells of the Year award: to the drivers who, when they see the safest highways (the interstates) are closed, choose to drive on parallel secondary roads where they are almost certain to be stuck or trapped or frozen to death, if not all three.

* He’s One of Ours award: to Pierre native Josh Breske, head coach at Black Hills State, who led his team to the school’s first winning football season in six years with a 5-0 start and a 7-4 record.

* She’s One of Ours award: to Pierre native Dr. Wendy Birhanzel, named Superintendent of the Year in the state of Colorado.

* They’re Ours, Too award: to last winter’s Governors boys basketball team who, at a Subway after a game in Brookings, stepped aside and formed a tunnel so customers behind them in line could go to the front.

* Defying the Republican Odds award: to Ketanji Brown Jackson, who survived Mitch McConnell and other Republican obstructionists in the Senate to be named an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

* One in a Million award: to legendary Fort Pierre citizen Pat Duffy, who was honored at a retirement reception after decades of service to many phases of her town.

* Something We’re Not Last In award: to South Dakota which, according to a new ranking, is rated the eighth fastest-talking state.

* A Year to Forget award: to Pierre native and world-class pianist Calvin Jones and his wife, Inga, who first escaped into Romania from their war-torn Ukraine, then moved on to Montenegro, and finally ended up in the U.S. where he went on a concert tour to raise funds to help people back from where they had come.

* Player of the Year award: to Onida’s Chloe Lamb of USD, who won that honor in the entire Summit League and was also MVP of the league tournament for the second straight year.

* Kids of the Year award: to Prince William’s and Kate’s three adorable kids—George, Charlotte and Louis—whom we never tired of watching.

* Scary Thought award: to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, who, if he becomes Speaker of the House, will be second in line to the Presidency. He’s had a tough time getting elected speaker this week, however. Even worse is the guy who might become Speaker if McCarthy doesn’t, and that is Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a Trump extremist.. Can you imagine a Trumper becoming President? Heaven, help us. We can offer one solution—just elect a Democrat as Speaker!

* Public Service award: to Laurie Gill, who is leaving state government after nearly 25 years in various leadership positions, not to mention her three terms as Pierre mayor.

* They’re State Champs, Too award: to Pierre’s Ashlyn Pitlick and Maren Houdyshell/Lillie Kellar; Stanley County’s Hope Smedley, and Sully Buttes’ Lydia Hill/Taryn Kenzy, all of whom earned superiors at state oral interp.

* Unworthy of Any Award award: to those who easily obtained guns and shot up human lives in Uvalde, Buffalo, the Q Club, parades, malls, churches and elsewhere over the country. Just exercising their “God-given Second Amendment rights,” you know.

* Of Course He Did award: to the Bucs’ Tom Brady, who, trailing the Rams 27-3, got their playoff game tied at 27-27 before L.A. won on a walkoff field goal.

* Life Well Lived award: to the late Queen Elizabeth, whose life of dignity and grace spanned so many decades.

* Good Joe award: to Joe Burrow, who also knows rallies. Down 21-3 to the Chiefs, he and his Bengals forced overtime at 24-24, intercepted Patrick Mahomes, then drove into winning field-goal range to win a trip to the Super Bowl. He is a classy and mature young man, too. The other night at his urging he and the other Bengals captains went over to the Bills’ locker room to support the Bills as they prayed for the life of their Damar Hamlin.

* Home Cooking award: to last winter’s SDSU women, who took advantage of six sold-out WNIT home games to win them all, eventually destroying Seton Hall of the Big East with a 25-5 run that won the tourney title.

* Women’s College Team of the Year award: to last year’s USD women who won the Summit League tournament over SDSU, ousted Ole Miss in the NCAA first round, stormed #2 seed Baylor off its home court, then lost to Michigan by only three points in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA, ending a 29-6 season with losses only to Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Northwestern, SDSU and Michigan.

* Keep the Pandemic Going award: to those who refused vaccines and masks, opposed all mandates and social distancing, spread lies about mandates being unconstitutional and filed lawsuits to overturn health measures in their own states.

* No Longer Trappers award: to this coming summer’s Oahe Zap team which will keep collegiate summer baseball going strong at Hyde Stadium.

* Rising Star award: to District 24’s Will Mortenson, just elected majority leader of the state House of Representatives.

* Onida Boys award: to Northern’s Jacob Howard, one of NSU’s football captains and an all-conference second-team selection, and Sully Buttes’ Landon Hepker, All-State 9B selection.

* Don’t Me Meet in a Dark Alley award: to costumed Raiders fans who obviously take obnoxiousness as a badge of honor.

* Takes One to Know One award: to Donald Trump, who called Sen. Mike Rounds a “jerk” in January after Rounds called the 2020 election legitimate.

* Good Hands award: to Pierre native Andy Jockheck, who, on vacation with his family, caught a Mike Trout home run ball at Angels Stadium.

* Irrelevant No Longer award: to the 49ers’ Brock Purdy, selected dead last in the NFL draft and thus called “Mr. Irrelevant,” who has come off the bench as QB to keep his team in playoff contention.

* Make It Personal award: to Buzz Hillestad and Amanda Stanley who chose a Viking theme (the Scandinavians, not the football players) for their wedding.

* No Touchdown Necessary award: to the punchless Iowa Hawkeyes who won their season opener over SDSU with one field goal and two safeties in a 7-3 escape over the Jacks.

* Grammar award: to whoever wrote “USD’s first drive didn’t go nowhere” and “lifted he and Jordan Spieth to a win” in their sports stories.

* Brace Yourselves award: to South Dakotans whose legislature is about to convene. We can be almost certain their first month will be spent on such crucial statewide issues as keeping transgender people out of sight and out of mind, doing what they can to prevent those seeking abortions from obtaining them, restricting the Chinese from entering the state, cracking down on those nasty on-campus drag shows and thwarting the vote of the people on such issues as expanding Medicaid.

* Bag It award: to Eli Schipper of Harrisburg’s Fairway store who won the annual grocery bagging competition at the State Fair. He worked at his store during high school and still does during college.

* Take a Bow award: to winners like Jennifer Stalley, SDGA Female Golfer of the Year; Rylan Derry, All-State first-team boys soccer player for the Govs; Kara Weiss and Jocelyn Corrales, who won individual state tennis titles for Pierre; Steve Steele, state hockey Coach of the Year; Landon Badger, the first Pierre athlete inducted into the South Dakota High School Baseball Hall of Fame; Ayvrie Kaiser and Lily Sanchez, All-State volleyball second-team selections who led the Govs to fifth at state; Lincoln Kienholz, named All-State in basketball as a junior for Pierre, and Lathan Prince, All-State third-team selection for SCHS in “A” ball; Blake Judson and Deegan Houska, named most outstanding wrestlers on last year’s great Govs team, and Trevor Noah, who leaves “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central as host after a brilliant career there.

* Quote of the Year from a Loser award: to Georgia’s Herschel Walker, the guy the Republicans picked to run for the Senate, who said during his campaign, “Inflation affects the women more than men because they have to buy the groceries.”

* Behind the Plate award: to Pierre’s Spencer Sarringar of the Bismarck Larks, named best at his catching position in the summer Northwoods League.

* Our Sentiments Exactly award: to actor Ryan Reynolds, who said, when Betty White died, “It says so much about your life and legacy when people think you died too soon at 99.”

* You Must Be Lying award: to my own telephone which said, an hour after the Vikings trailed the Colts 33-3, that they had tied the game at 36-36. And then they won!

* National Champ award: to Morris Hofer of Onida, a member of Northwestern College’s national NAIA football champions, whose only loss all season was a one-point defeat at the hands of #1 Morningside.

* Poor Babies award: to the white people the Florida legislature was trying to protect when they considered a bill that would prohibit schools from teaching any bit of history that causes whites discomfort.

* Onstage award: to last year’s Stanley County play directed by Shirley Swanson and Jennifer Milliken, who won a superior play award at state one-acts.

* One Karen We Like award: to Pierre’s own Karen Kern, recipient of South Dakota Tourism’s Black Elk Award for her 36 years of promoting tourism.

* Best Buffaloes award: to inductees into the SCHS Buffalo Hall of Fame such as Steve Hoffman, Cliff Jorgenson, Stacy (Huss) Hegge, Jeremy Holter, Lindsay (Stoeser) Heiss, Joe Nelson, Dean Frederick and Shavonne (Hannum) Mitchell.

* Double Medals award: to the late Mark Senftner and Katelyn (Lamb) Pottorff, who both not only were inducted into the Onida/SBHS Athletic Hall of Fame but also the BHSU Athletic Hall of Fame.

* Quick Work award: to last season’s Governor wrestlers who, in a 69-12 dual win over Yankton, scored six of eight pins in a minute and a quarter or less (0:51, 0:35, 1:01, 0:58, 0:14 and 1:14) along with 2:32 and 2:57.

* Showing Up award: to all the Republicans who, when the U.S. House scheduled a moment of silence on last Jan. 6 to commemorate the victims of the Capitol attack, (except for two) chose not to show up.

* Cardiac Kids award: to this fall’s Vikings, who out of a 12-win season had won 11 of those games by one score or less. Give us a blowout win just once, please! (No, I did not mean a blowout loss.)

* It’s Hopeless award: to Vikings fans who need somebody else for whom to cheer come playoff time because we know the reality of it all. How about the 49ers, the Bills and the Bengals?

* Principle Above Party award: to Wyoming’s Liz Cheney and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, who served on the Jan. 6 riot investigating committee at the risk of their political careers.

* Distinguished Journalist award: to the late Tim Giago, Native American journalist and Lakota Times founder who passed away this year.

* Baseball Giant award: to 6’7″ Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge, who set a new American League one-season home run record and did so with the humility that many stars don’t exhibit.

* Deserving Loser award: to the Rapid City school board candidate who called teachers “the tyrants of the teachers’ lounge,” then lost election soundly.

* Going Dancing award: to Peyton Zabel and his Texas State baseball team who qualified for the NCAA tournament, beat UCSB, then beat #2 national seed Stanford in their regional, forcing Stanford to beat them twice to escape into the next round.

* Ridiculous Money award: to Fox Television, which offered a 10-year $375 million contract to Tom Brady to be their lead football analyst after his playing career is over.

* Near and Yet So Far award: to the Rapid City Stevens boys track team. All they had to do heading into the final relay at the state meet was place at least fifth, but their lead runner was disqualified for jumping the gun, heading the state “AA” title to Harrisburg.

* Blue Skies award: to Tyler Bonnett, who completed his career as a Marine pilot and has been hired as a pilot for FedEx based in Nashville, and to Taryn Colson, who earned her wings as one of Delta’s newest Boeing 737 pilots, based in Atlanta.

* Service to Education award: to Pierre’s Tad Perry for his induction into the South Dakota Hall of Fame after a 40-year career in education, including 15 years as Regents executive director.

* A Good Week for the Family award: to the Blaseg “kids.” All in the same week Matt graduated from optometry school in Memphis; Brittanie Rezac received BankWest’s Educator of the Year award, and Nate (as well as his wife Elise) graduated from the USD school of medicine, he in pediatrics and she in family medicine.

* The Outdoors Misses You award: to the late Wicker Bill Crist, whose long career as a hunting/fishing guide, taxidermist, dog trainer and falconer came to an end when he passed away after a long illness.

* Don’t Air the Truth award: to Fox, the one major network which did not broadcast the Jan. 6 committee hearings live.

* Missing My Girl award: to me and my family whose beloved Newfoundland, Macy, had to be put down last summer. For my nine years back in Rapid City, she was my constant friend, companion and shadow.

* Don’t Take My Guns award: to the member of our Congressional delegation who said aloud that AR-15 assault rifles are necessary in this state to kill prairie dogs.

* Everyone’s Grandma award: to the family of the late Debi Englehart, who passed away unexpectedly while staying with a grandson in Sioux Falls. She was grandma to her own eight but a special grandma to many others with her love, her snacks and her photography. We lost a lot of dear people in 2022, and we can’t name them all, but Debi is one whose presence everywhere is missed.

* Hang In There award: to Pierre native Justin Briese, who in his first game as Aberdeen Central head football coach had to play Pierre. His Eagles lost their first three, but he got them turned around to finish with a 6-5 record. In his first night on the sidelines he had to watch Lincoln Kienholz throw six TD passes, three to Zabel and three to Merkwan, and Jayden Wiebe return the opening kickoff 98 yards.

* Man With a Goal award: to Rapid City’s Caleb Huxford, son of Pierre natives Kevin and Caren (Howard), who seven years ago set a goal of running a 5K in each state. During 202 he checked off his 41st state.

* Doing Her Part award: to Pierre’s Ryann Barry, who scored four goals in the title game as South Dakota United’s U16 Dynamo girls won their second straight national soccer championship. Also on the team were Pierre girls Brianna Sargent, Ireland Templeton, Grace Richter and Gracelyn Taylor.

* Just Wait Till Pierre Plays the Big Boys award: to the Governors football team, who, down at Brandon Valley 28-7, won over the Lynx 43-34, quieting the critics who said the Govs wouldn’t beat the 11AAA teams.

* Suckers Born Every Minute award: to the 44,000 suckers who helped Donald Trump raise $4.45 million by buying at $99 each the digital trading cards with his photo on them.

* May Your New Year Be Awful award: to the Packers and Chiefs in football; the Dodgers, Astros and Cardinals in baseball; the Lakers and North Carolina in basketball, and Donald Trump. May you all have your worst years in history.

* Paid For Signing Up award: to the pro golfers who bailed on the PGA Tour, which made them rich, and jumped to LIV Golf, which pays golfers millions not only for winning but simply for signing up.

* Don’t Be a Karen award: to the seemingly millions of annoying white entitled women out there.

* Show Us a Family Dinner award: to the Dutton family characters on “Yellowstone” whose blue language would spoil any Thanksgiving dinner table.

* Gave It Their All award: to last year’s Governors boys basketball team who led by 18 points once and by 14 starting the fourth quarter but committed seven turnovers and missed 14 free throws down the stretch as Jefferson forced two overtimes and beat Pierre in the SoDak 16 game. But that Govs team lost only two seniors and is back to give it a go this season.

* The Lady in Charge award: to Pierre native Patty (Schlekeway) McClemans, who was named principal at Watertown High School.

* Setting an Example award: to the Wichita school board members who, when the board president asked people to wear masks, refused to put them on. The president suspended the meeting.

* From Buffalo to Bison award: to Fort Pierre native Ben Kramer whose Hot Springs team soared to a 6-2 regular season, then won two playoff games before falling in the state semifinals and finishing at 8-3.

* Cleaning Up the State award: to Governor Noem, whose latest target—now that those nasty transgender kids are taken care of—is all those nasty Chinese Communists flooding the state. She can use her new flame-thrower on ’em, you know.

* Little Weasel award: to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, who, after the Bills went ahead 36-33 with 13 seconds left, got his team down the field to kick a tying field goal. K.C. then won the O.T. coin toss, drove and scored to go to the AFC title game without Buffalo touching the ball.

* We Showed You award: to the Mississippi baseball team, the very last team chosen for the NCAA Tournament, who nevertheless went all the way to win the College World Series.

* Making Us Proud award: to the amazing Pierre football team, state champs now six years running. They gave us a thrill a minute in a 9-0 regular season, including an instant classic win over Tea as well as playoff wins over Sturgis and Yankton en route to a title game win over Tea, 35-20. The Govs had nine All-State players, including Lincoln Kienholz (also named captain of the Argus Leader’s Elite 45), Jack Merkwan, Jett Zabel, Matthew Coverdale, Jason Maciejczak, Gavin Stotts, Jacob Mayer, Jayden Wiebe and Cade Kaiser. Most of those guys were also all-conference along with Christian Busch. What a team! What a legacy! (And what support, both home and away, from the town!)

* Tale as Old as Time award: to the late Angela Lansbury, who whether as Auntie Mame on Broadway or as Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” or on TV as Jessica Fletcher on “Murder, She Wrote,” stole the show in every scene she played.

* You Should Be So Lucky award: to the conservatives, evangelicals, straight-line party voters, and rednecks whose response to any criticism of this state and what goes on here is “If you don’t like it, just leave.” Not a chance!

* Can’t Live Without You award: to the truckers whose inability to travel during the December blizzard made us realize what they do for us. Remember the empty shelves at the grocery stores for days? Those big trucks are annoying at times as they blow down the interstate, regardless of the weather or conditions, but we need them to keep rolling.

* No More Season Like This One, Please award: to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, a major disappointment week after week. Again. Maybe the new coach can turn it around and make the Huskers at least respectable. (Memo to the Denver Broncos: you were a close second for this award!)

* Gone But Not Forgotten award: to the Pearsons of “This Is Us,” a group for which five TV seasons were simply not enough.

* Can’t Wait For Next Winter award: to Augustana hockey, which next winter will give South Dakota its first-ever Division I men’s hockey program.

* Success for South Dakota Boys award: to big-time college football coaches Josh Heupel at Tennessee (native of Aberdeen) and Kalen DeBoer at Washington (native of Milbank), both of whom had highly successful seasons with teams that had been down on their luck prior to their arrivals.

* Good People Out There award: to folks in Wall, New Underwood and other places who opened up their homes and their closed motels to travelers stranded by the I-90 closures during the December blizzard.

* Frequent Fliers award: to Governor Noem, of course, for obvious reasons as she goes to all of her campaign rallies, and to our favorite NFL referee, Brandon Cruse, who has to fly somewhere to and from Sky Harbor each weekend to get to his crew’s game.

* A Kid Worth Cheering For award: to TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who grew up on the “wrong” side of the river opposite Omaha, whose parents are both former USD athletes, who started the season as a backup and who has led TCU through a season with only one one-point loss and into the national championship game. Go, Horned Frogs!

* Reason to Hate award: to the Chiefs, Florida State and the Atlanta Braves for their ungodly Native American chant and tomahawk chop.

* Motto of the Year award: to me who has adopted this sentiment for 2023: “It’s weird being the same age as old people.”


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