Horse racing survives in the heart of rodeo country
This weekend was the 75th annual running of the Fort Pierre horse races
FORT PIERRE – Shane Kramme has been in horse racing since 1970, when his family brought him to the track while he was still just three months old.
“I’ve never missed a race in Fort Pierre,” Kramme said. “I was at the race track three months after I was born watching my grandfather win a race.”
He now finds himself organizing the same event that he attended as a child, but significant changes have altered the South Dakota horse racing landscape since 1970. The once-growing circuit of races across the Rushmore state saw a steady decline, commencing with the closure of the Park Jefferson track in Jefferson, South Dakota, near Sioux City in 1982. Rapid City's racetrack would follow five years later.
Racing festivities in Aberdeen came to an end in 2018, which along with Fort Pierre was one of the last two remaining horse race holdouts.
For horse race enthusiasts now, your only chance to catch a race in state is at the Stanley County Fairgrounds every October.
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