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High Marks .....Students Awarded BHSS Foundation Scholarships

Rapid City, SD -- Enthusiastic and optimistic. 

That may best describe students applying for annual scholarships awarded through the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation. Of the six winning this years awards, all outline plans to return to the Western states region to begin careers after completing their education.

Always an encouraging sign, says scholarship committee chairman, John Johnson.

“Among the objectives of the Foundation’s scholarship programs is to continually communicate the importance of  keeping agriculture’s talent close to home,” he says. “We all know the story of the exodus of young people from rural-based industries and communities - in search of better jobs, better career advancement opportunities, and business/community settings that represent more diverse interests.”  He adds, “We’re pleased that so many of the recipients of these scholarships do in fact, begin their career and community involvement in this region. This latest slate of winners, I believe,  will be no exception.”

Students being awarded $2,000 scholarships are Wes Hotchkiss, Mud Butte, SD; Megan Winderl-Zimmerman, Stephensville, Mont.; Jeff Dell, Nisland, SD; Zane Reis, Oacoma, SD; Aaron Herz, Lawrence, Neb.; and Jennifer Jensen, Belle Fourche, SD.

Among them are recipients of three family endowment scholarships; Hotchkiss will receive his scholarship from the annual Ray Switzer Memorial; Dell is the recipient of the first annual Calvin Blair Memorial and Jensen receives the Eddie Rypkema Memorial scholarship.

Each of the six will be considered for the Foundation’s Golden Spur Renewable Scholarship award - that begins in 2003. The student best meeting the criteria set by the Foundation, will be selected to receive $2,000 annually, up to four years for post-secondary education financial needs.

From molecular biologists to range specialists; from ranchers to veterinary medicine; such are the education and career pursuits of these young students. “Our role is to help channel resources to education, from a grass roots perspective,” says Foundation President Joe Norman, who has been instrumental in developing the organization’s endowment program. “If we are to do more than pay lip service to the challenge of rebuilding rural business and communities, then we first  have to recognize that a strong educational base translates eventually to an overall healthier economic climate.  It’s not achieved over-night. But in time, the Foundation’s scholarship programs will have made a difference.”

For more information on how to support the Foundation’s regional scholarship programs through a Stockman’s Club membership and what additional services are provided through a membership, call 605-718-0810. Email foundation@BHSSF.com and see more details on this website.  


He’s a Regent’s scholar, a roper and plays a mean guitar. He spends so much time in volunteer work, one wonders where he finds the time to be a student. As a freshman at South Dakota State University, Brookings, Wes Hotchkiss will bring all that home - plus a four year degree in agriculture sciences, to the family ranch after graduation.

The recipient of the Ray Switzer Memorial scholarship, he relates to practical and proven production methods handed down through three generations in his family while looking forward to, “bringing emerging technologies applications to the operation. Still, he notes,  what will help him succeed are,  “the old stand-by’s of hard work, dedication and pride in what I’m doing.” All things he points to as being important to what he’s learned ... so far. “I’ll combine education with practical application,” he says, “and be an active advocate of our history - and for the future of agriculture.” 

Wes Hotchkiss
2002 Ray Switzer Memorial Scholarship


Honors in chemistry and physics put Megan Winderl-Zimmerman on the road to veterinary medicine. The sophomore at Montana State University, Bozeman, continues to maintain, show and market a herd of registered Simmental cattle and is involved in a myriad of school and community activities.

“I didn’t choose my future in agriculture because it’s destined to be easy or a guaranteed success,” she says. “I chose my future in agriculture because I believe in what we, as American producers, have to offer. Expanding knowledge and technology will see the American agriculturist continue to produce more output, on less resources, for expanding populations.” Among her instructors is Stephen Pray, a retired US Navy Captain. “Megan is a dynamic and dedicated individual,” he observes. “She is a problem solver - we could use more of her kind.”

Megan Winderl-Zimmerman
2002 BHSS Foundation 


Today’s economics may dictate changes in lifestyles, but for Jeff Dell, a freshman at SDSU, the recipient of the first Calvin Blair Memorial scholarship, that doesn’t mean forsaking, “the old ways. There is something significant about the western heritage, “ he observes. “Trust, honesty, dependability - it’s the cowboy way of life I was raised in, educated in, and wish to continue to live in.”

The honor’s student loves bringing a calf to the fire but knows earning his degree will give him a competitive edge in the future. Playing an active role in academic and community projects during his educational career, Dell sees this as an important continuation when he begins his career pursuits in ranching. “I plan to be front and center in community, industry and policy settings,” he says. “You grow, maintain, and preserve and way of life, by living it ... and passing that on.” 

Jeff Dell
2002 Calvin Blair 
Memorial Scholarship


Zane Reis didn’t know how much he wanted to be on the ranch, until he was off it.

Now in his sophomore year at SDSU, it’s become crystal clear to the young man majoring in range sciences ‘ “I want to be on the land.”  He joins his siblings in college (his brother Shane was the recipient of the Ray Switzer Memorial Scholarship in 2000),  with a full course load, a part-time job and a desire to begin a career as a range specialist and as a rancher. “There are many things to be gained through completing my education,” says Reis. “Still, college can’t teach a person everything there is to know about how to be successful in any career in life, including agriculture.”  A hands-on learner, Reis plans to turn the best of what two worlds has to offer - an education and a love for the land - to become, “a good steward of the range.”

Zane Reis
2002 BHSS Foundation 


Ask Jennifer Jensen about vaccination free market beef, or wetlands water systems; ask about pesticide free crop production, housing and development on rural ranch/farm ground or biotechnology. She’ll have something to say.

The recipient of the first annual Eddie Rypkema Memorial scholarship, the graduating senior from Belle Fourche, SD has no shortage of plans in her educational and career pursuits. “The future will hold a lot of things for agriculture,” says the state champion FFA livestock judging team member, “not the least of which is continued change. How to make the best choices during times of change, that will be the most beneficial to broad-based rural interests - I want to be a part of that.”  Her final academic destination is a major in molecular biology and she is still considering how best to get there, either beginning at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., or jumping right into course study at SDSU.  “From the first day Jennifer walked into my agriculture education classroom, I knew she would be one of my most outstanding students,” says Joey Johnson, executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation. “She is a natural leader, a self-starter and most important of all .... a team player.” 

Jennifer Jensen
Eddie Rypkema Memorial 


Understanding the delivery, management, and technical support of systems needed in the production of agriculture and food seems a tall order. Aaron Herz, a freshman entering the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, seems made-to-order for the job.

The fifth generation of a cattle and farming operation near Lawrence, Neb., he appreciates the history of cowboys, cattle drives and railroad towns and their role in creating western heritage. But Herz wants to create his own role. “I’ve had a good foundation to learn from - knowing  hard work,  the satisfaction of a job well done, and pride in having given something your best shot.” For him, the future lies in earning a degree in mechanized systems management - a career that will allow him to work on and off the family homestead.  “Aaron represents himself, his family, his school, and his community in an exceptional manner,” says Lawrence/Nelson Community School Academic Counselor Connie Potter. “He is a leader and unselfishly volunteers his time in community service.”

Aaron Herz

The Foundation will host students and their parents at the Stockman's Banquet & Ball, held during the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo, on Wednesday, January 31 when scholarship award presentations will be made.

The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation is a non-profit organization. As part of its mission of "Preserving The Legacy, Investing In The Future", the Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth in higher education and organizations, programs and projects that enhance services and education to the public.

Black Hills Stock Show
Foundation Scholarships

Youth In Education ....
BHSS Foundation Awards SDHSRA Scholarships

 “In reviewing their material, it is apparent these students have already accomplished many things. It is our hope, that through the Foundation’s Scholarship Program,  we help them accomplish even more.”     
John Johnson, BHSS Foundation Director

Beginning in 1999, the Foundation expanded its annual
scholarship program to include the selection of outstanding
High School Rodeo athletes who will continue their education
through university, college and/or technical institute
studies, and who are committed to careers in ag-related fields.


South Dakota High School Rodeo 
State Finals Scholarship Winners:

Tanner Sealey, Colome 
Kristi Lammers, Miller


When the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation decided to expand its scholarship program that recognizes young adults pursuing higher education in ag-related fields of study, it made perfect sense to team up with another organization that provides a learning arena for youth; the South Dakota High School Rodeo Association.

Among the first state organizations to form in 1949, it has been a leader in the development of the national high school rodeo program and continues to produce leaders on the state and national level. From its ranks come young athletes who regardless of their place in winnings, are encouraged to learn and apply skills that are cornerstones to personal, academic and career development.

“Without exception, all the applicants qualify as winners,” relates John Johnson, Sturgis, who along with Doug Theel, Rapid City, co-chairs the Foundation’s SDHSRA Scholarship Program.  “In reviewing their material, its apparent they have already accomplished many things. It’s our hope, that we help them accomplish even more.”

Students whose needs match the mission of the BHSS Foundation, is among the criteria for selection,  says Theel. “These students are focused and have clear career objectives in mind - recognizing that continuing in secondary education is among the ways to achieve those objectives.”

Awarding two $500 scholarships, the Foundation selected Tanner Sealey, Colome, and Kristi Lammers, Miller, as its recipients for the 2000 SDHSRA season. Both have been accepted into fall curriculums where Kristi will pursue courses related to ag communications at South Dakota State University, Brookings and Tanner, who will attend Mitchell Technical Institute, Mitchell, with plans to continue in production agriculture.

Both are active in community and school programs, ranging from 4-H and youth church groups to National Honor Society.  Each demonstrates leadership skills and perhaps most telling, is the support they both are noted for, from others who interact with them on a regular basis.

“Kristi’s inspiration, enthusiasm and dedication to our son Matt, who has special needs, goes far beyond what most would consider community service,” observes Cheryl Fawcett, Ree Heights. “She has made a difference in his life and demonstrates over and over again, the true meaning of humanitariasm.”

A willing hand is how neighbor Kathy Bertram describes Tanner who, “works hard at anything he puts his mind to. His sense of sportsmanship and friendliness towards others, no matter what the setting, makes him a stand-out. It’s a dedication that’s a wonderful thing to see in a young adult.”

Both students note their appreciation for the lifestyles and opportunities that the sport of rodeo has brought them, along with a desire to continue in ag-related fields. “No matter what field of study we choose,” says Tanner, “there is the need to bring an involvement and understanding of agriculture to more people.  I hope to be a part of that.”  He adds, “We shouldn’t forget all that’s been done by those who came before us - that we might continue today - and in the future.”

If actions speak louder than words, than Kristi has already sent a strong message through her involvement with others. Like Tanner, she recognizes the need to communicate well with others, in a changing agricultural environment.  “It’s in how we treat and relate to others that our best opportunities lie before us in making a difference. I’ve spent my lifetime on the ranch but look forward to experiencing different cultures .... while sharing my own.”

The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation is a non-profit organization.  As part of its mission of “Preserving The Legacy, Investing In The Future”, the Foundation is  dedicated to supporting youth in higher education and organizations, programs and projects that enhance services and education to the public.


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Take a quick trip through our website, request more information regarding the Foundation, a copy of our most recent newsletter, or request an application to become a Stockman’s Club member.

There are so many ways to lend a helping hand. Join us, won’t you?

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For Questions Or For More Information:
Black Hills Stock Show Foundation, Inc.
444 Mt. Rushmore Road North
Rapid City, SD 57701

Phone: 605-718-0810

The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation is a non-profit organization. As part of its mission of "Preserving The Legacy, Investing In The Future,"  the Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth in higher education and organizations, programs and projects that enhance services and education to the public.