Weekend rodeo next step in DEX story

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HURON — When the chutes open Friday night at the Dakota Events CompleX (DEX) on the S.D. State Fairgrounds, it will mark the third time since last fall that a rodeo event will take place at the new facility.

“Every one of these events is an opportunity for us to showcase this building and the grounds,” said S.D. State Fairgrounds manager Peggy Besch.

This weekend marks the next step in the evolution of events at the 150,000 square foot exposition center, which had its grand opening at last year’s State Fair. Rodeo promoter Wally Mosbrucker will bring a two-night performance of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) to the DEX, with a full slate of events on tap.

“This event was in the final planning stages during the SDRA (South Dakota Rodeo Association) finals last October,” Besch recalled.

The fact that the SDRA finals flowed smoothly, as did a special bull riding and breakaway roping event hosted by local competitors Mason Moody and Jazz McGirr over the Thanksgiving weekend, helped propel the DEX, and the State Fairgrounds, forward in the discussions.

“Everything went well and both of those events were great opportunities to showcase the DEX.”

The SDRA finals are back again this fall, a further signal that last year’s event was a positive.

She noted that as the fairgrounds hosts more widely diverse events, the word is getting out on what has been built on the fairgrounds.

“We recently hosted a planting clinic for Agtegra,” Besch said. “During one of the breaks we heard some of those attending talk about the renovated fairgrounds. Things like ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t been here for years,’ or ‘It is really a great venue.’ The DEX is really a huge “Wow” factor.”

This weekend’s rodeo will also mark the first event for newly hired DEX manger Katie Eslick, (See separate story, Page 1) who was seeking to get into a more hands-on role in a livestock show setting and jumped at the chance to work in promoting the DEX.

“Oh the DEX clinched it, 100 percent,” she said. “It is an amazing facility.”

“Having this PRCA event here is the stepping stone as we continue to expand the events we are hosting,” Besch said. “We have a simple plan - have success and then grow.”

Although the staff at the State Fair has experienced success, Besch is quick to point out that that every event is just a little bit different.

“Different equipment, placed a bit differently…everyone has their own thing that they want. I am so proud of our team here making things work for the different events.”

On the horizon are a handful of events that are booked for the next few months, with the highlight on the schedule at this time being East Fest, set for June 20-23.

“Today’s Horse magazine has held an event called West Fest for several years and they contacted us about wishing to perhaps hold a matching event here,” Besch said. “They are a good fit and have followed a similar strategy - develop the event then grow it.”

Immediately following East Fest the SDCC (South Dakota Can Chasers) barrel racers will take over the DEX.

Earlier in the spring, in April, there is a steer roping a barrel racing clinic, then May 17-19, the 3L Team Roping, Tie-down Roping and Breakaway Roping finals will be in the DEX.

“Probably the biggest thing we have set for the summer is our S.D. Summer Spotlight,” Besch said “It is a very big livestock Show that we have held in the 4-H building in the past, but this year we are moving it to the DEX in July.”

Besch said that Eslick has hit the ground running.

“She has a great relationship and connections with many people in the livestock industry,” Besch said. “She is networking and making more contacts to bring more event here to the Huron and the DEX."