New football schedule interferes with 4-H Rodeo finals

By Dana Hess For the S.D. Newspaper Association

PIERRE – A year-long effort to change the high school activities calendar resulted in an earlier start for the football season to cut down on travel and avoid injuries from concussions. However, no one told 4-H Rodeo organizers about the change, and now, the first football game of the year conflicts with the 4-H Rodeo finals.
On Tuesday, the board of directors of the South Dakota High School Activities Association heard from representatives of 4-H Rodeo, who said their organization was unaware until recently about the change. As it stands now, the first football game is set for Aug. 18 and the rodeo finals are planned for Aug. 18-20.
“We weren’t kept in the loop on it,” said Don Bergeson of 4-H Rodeo. “It creates an undo hardship.”
Bergeson said as many as 580 participants gather in Fort Pierre for the rodeo finals. In many cases, he said, rodeo participants are also high school football players.
“It is a big deal for kids if they have to pick between football and rodeo,” Bergeson said. He asked that the scheduling needs of 4-H Rodeo be considered by the association in the future.
Kasey Hanson of 4-H Rodeo said the organization has already been getting letters from parents concerned about the choice their children will have to make between taking part in rodeo or playing football. She said some 4-Hers may consider dropping out of rodeo all together if their chance to go to the finals conflicts with football.
Bergeson said school officials he talked to were unaware of the earlier start date for football.
Board chairman Steve Morford of Spearfish noted that revamping the high school activities calendar was a long process. If school officials didn’t know about it, Morford said, “they weren’t paying attention. It was actually a very lengthy decision.”
Hanson asked if there was any way that the first football game could be moved to Thursday night so it wouldn’t conflict with the rodeo finals.
SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand said the process wasn’t as easy as just changing a date on the calendar. He said moving the date would mean adjusting practice schedules which could in turn interfere with late summer baseball tournaments.
Krogstrand said the football schedules were already set for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He said someone from 4-H should meet with the football advisory committee in the fall of 2018 when the schedules will be discussed for 2019 and 2020.

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