With October approaching, high school football teams are preparing to launch their post-season runs. A few schools are also going through Homecoming festivities. But in two schools in the central part of the state, a long-time Homecoming tradition is getting careful scrutiny.
The Pierre and Stanley County School Districts are separated by the Missouri River, the Central and Mountain Time Zones, and the Hughes-Stanley County line. But the two districts share a tradition among some students. Find a cheap car, paint it in school colors, and ride around with your friends. They’re known as “Gov-mobiles” in Pierre, after the Governors’ nickname for their teams. Over in Fort Pierre, the Buffaloes ride in “Buff-mobiles.” Stanley County Superintendent Joel Price is in his first year with the district, but he has heard stories about the vehicles that concern him.
“I know they’ve been around for a number of years—and I know that as the years go by, they’ve become more and more of an issue, regarding safety. And some of the problems that have occurred in Fort Pierre, and then sometimes they’ve spilled over to Pierre. It’s just become kind of a little more difficult every year,” says Price.
Buff-mobiles and Gov-mobiles concern local law enforcement as well. They want to make sure the autos meet minimum safety standards, and have warned students of 120 dollar fines for each mechanical violation. That means no bald tires, no boarded-up windows—in short, a vehicle has to be road-worthy. Price says he has heard of a number of students have been hurt from use of the vehicles.
“Again, this is all anecdotal, what I was told—a few years ago, someone fell out of one and broke their arm. And then there was a case here a while back, where they were shooting paintballs, and someone was hit in the eye with one and lost their eye,” Price says.
Price says while he can’t forbid the Buff-Mobiles, police can and will crack down on problems caused by the tricked-out autos. As far as the game goes—the Stanley County Buffaloes have won three straight, and sit with three wins and two losses. The Buffaloes meet Kadoka Area Friday night in Fort Pierre. Pierre Superintendent Kelly Glodt did not return a request for a comment. The Governors are home Friday against Sioux Falls Washington. Pierre’s record is two-and-three.