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Dakota Life 25 | A conversation with Kalyn Bergeson, Executive Director of the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center

This article is from the March 2023 edition of SDPB Magazine. See past issues HERE.

In 2009, Dakota Life visited the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Ft. Pierre as they held their Grand Opening. Events included a wagon train ride and the unveiling of bronze statues of South Dakota Rodeo star Maddie Goff Newcomb and, of course, International Rodeo Star, Hollywood Actor, and Ft. Pierre native Casey Tibbs. The goal of the Center is to highlight the sport of Rodeo and those who took part in it and to become a Rodeo archive for South Dakota. We recently talked with the current Executive Director, Kalyn Bergeson, about the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center today.

SDPB: How is the Center doing today?

Bergeson: It’s doing really well. Honestly, it’s come a long way. I would have thought that Covid might not be the best thing for it, but thanks to South Dakota staying open, we are doing very well in terms of tourism.

SDPB: Do you still get a lot of visitors during the cold weather?

Bergeson: Not near as many, but we are definitely using the Conference Center to its potential, so that brings people in throughout the year. The number of visitors has grown exponentially.

SDPB: Has the mission changed over the years?

Bergeson: We are still preserving and promoting South Dakota Rodeo. We are doing a few updates and bringing in some new displays with some different individuals.

SDPB: What do you hope visitors take away when they visit?

Bergeson: I hope that they take away that we are for the preservation and promotion of all of South Dakota Rodeo and not just Casey Tibbs. As awesome as he was, we’re not just Casey Tibbs. It’s kind of nice knowing that you have a place to go, and you know, your neighbor Joe may have been an NFR Qualifier many moons ago. Even if he wasn’t a world champion, it’s kind of fun to learn about him.

SDPB: What’s your favorite part of working there?

Bergeson: The people are awesome. The rodeo community is truly a family, and they make you feel that way.