“South Dakota doesn’t give a damn about its dumb reputation.”

I love Rock n’ Roll as much as the rest of us. And I am a pie-in-the-sky, think we can all hold hands and get along despite our differences kind of gal.

But, do I think the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (along with many others who are not part of the Association but share the same point of view) is narrow-minded to question Joan Jett being the face of the state’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float? Not at all. It seems simple marketing tactics to me.

I’m more surprised Macy’s, a commercial marketing powerhouse, wouldn’t have better thought through the process from the get-go if indeed, Macy’s Parade officials made that initial call.

Had the roles been reversed, would Macy’s have made the same initial decision? I can just hear it..

‘Hey, we’ve got a list of sponsors and, well, the ones Joan thought might work best aren’t available .. but here’s a good match! Let’s have Joan Jett’s float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.’

Pretty sure there would have been some requests for a change there, too. Someone please remind me again, why is this such a big deal and why it has gotten to the point of grade-school like name calling?

While working on content for someone else today, I came across the following article and thought it worth a share. From Death and Taxes, http://bit.ly/1bytiZe

Could ranchers here and the state not have made a big deal about the outspoken PETA advocate and vegetarian riding on their float next week? Absolutely. Would it not have been a big deal and solely focused on the ‘entertainment value’ as many would like to think is all it is? Perhaps. Would it possibly make more sense from a marketing standpoint, that on a float that represents the state of Great Faces, Great Places and a largely agricultural community that puts foods in the mouths of Americans everyday, Americans that request it because not everyone is a vegetarian, that there is someone who isn’t vocally opposed to that way of life? I think it’s fair.

I’m not sure, however, that it means the people here are backwards, behind or that as Entertainment Reporter, Robyn Pennacchia so eloquently put it:

“The State of South Dakota doesn’t give a damn about its dumb reputation.” 

“GOOD JOB, SOUTH DAKOTA. Way to prove that you are nowhere near awesome enough to have Joan Jett on your parade float. Seriously.”

I am quite certain that if the Chicago area based reporter ever would like to visit the state and better understand the culture, community and people here, there would be many doors opened to her despite the comments made and tone of her article to help her better understand why questions were raised.

Many friends have occasionally made snide remarks or at least joked since I started dating the Cowboy about how backwards this state seems to be. It may be, in some ways. South Dakota may be years behind in other ways. I won’t argue with you there. While that can at times be incredibly frustrating, it at times can also be refreshing. As many in our society look for a simpler way of life, to unplug once in a while, to get back to the roots of slow cooking, time with their kids, living somewhere they feel safe enough to let their kids run freely outside without worrying what harm may come to them, working with the land, knowing who your neighbors are and the value of visiting with them (almost all urban infill projects have a focus on this right now) and knowing where your food comes from, South Dakota seems to be doing a lot of things right.

The invitation stands, Robyn.


#RanchersRelief and the Atlas Blizzard Rancher Relief Fund.


We were on our way home from Rapid City and Wall last Sunday morning .. and had pulled off quick to put gas in the van and grab the kids a quick bite to eat.

We both heard someone say the Cowboy’s name, approaching us from behind.

It was an old friend from the rodeo circuit and the two spent a few minutes catching up. At some point though, in-between talking about families, jobs, roping and where each had been the past few years, the topic of the loss of livestock West River came up.

“To some extent, these ranchers had warning this was coming. I feel terrible about the loss of life but they had time to get them in. It shouldn’t have been this bad,” this gentleman said.

I was a bit taken back.

There are a lot of opinions being given right now about what could or could not have been done. Regardless of who or what may be at fault for so many deaths, if anyone, the fact exists there is still incredible, unbelievable loss. And that is where we are at. I can’t imagine anyone expected what was coming, especially this early in the year and especially because things never seem quite as bad as they’re forecast for.

Photo Courtesy of www.columbian.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.columbian.

After working many years in television news, I’ve seen it, I’ve taken the calls from people upset that you’re breaking into their favorite television show (not saying this happened in this situation at all. Just saying, it happens) to tell them about a pending violent storm that often barely ever touches their town with even a few raindrops. For most, the hype that goes into approaching storms rarely ever matches how bad a storm ever is. People get numb to it.

But the forecasters do know, Mother Nature is unpredictable. And when the conditions are just right, sometimes those storms will be what is predicted. And they can only pray you pay attention.

I believe this was one of those storms. And no matter what could have been done before the storm, there is this incredible, devastating aftermath.

I don’t know that I’ll continue to write about this routinely. We don’t live West River. We’re not in the thick of it. I can’t as eloquently put into words what is happening as more storms hit the area, as ranchers wake each day and try to piece their herd, their lives and livelihoods back together. We however know some of these families and communities well. And we’d like to do whatever we can to support them.

Here are just a few other writers/blogs I have come across that seem to be great resources for anyone wanting to stay in touch, know what is happening and do what you can to help. Use the hashtag. Spread the word. Donate. Pray. And if you’re so inclined to read any of the following, grab a kleenex:


A Poem: The Storm Atlas 

Down, Set, Life

Curt Pate Stockmanship

It Takes A Ranch