AMY KIRK: Nothing comes easy in South Dakota, and that’s a good thingSouth Dakotans have a reputation for being hard workers. The fact that the state mammal is the coyote, and that every year the residents survive South Dakota’s winters, should be one’s first clues.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
South Dakotans have a reputation for being hard workers. The fact that the state mammal is the coyote, and that every year the residents survive South Dakota’s winters, should be one’s first clues.
South Dakotans come from a long line of hard-working people, because it’s necessary in order to survive living here. The pioneers who homesteaded our state were the first to discover that living in South Dakota would not be simple. Nothing they got was easily attained, be it food, winter heat or sanity. Settlers courageous enough to homestead on South Dakota’s prairies had to work hard to endure the harsh winters. Laura Ingalls Wilder summed up South Dakota’s longest season perfectly by naming a book after it: “The Long Winter.” She depicted the stamina it took for her to survive the chore of grinding wheat in a coffee grinder and twisting hay all day and how Pa worked his britches off when the team got stuck in the slough.
For the people from the Mount Rushmore State, everything’s harder. Especially in the Black Hills, it’s hard digging wherever a fence post needs to go. Even the water is hard in some parts of South Dakota. It’s not every day that people have to dig out of snowdrifts or washed-out muddy roads before going to town, unless they live in South Dakota. Still, residents are anxious to work, especially since there really isn’t much else to do once hunting season is over. And after being cooped up most of the winter, work is a desirable activity to many locals. Our state is also a place that’s hard to get out of. Just ask anyone who’s ever been stuck in South Dakota’s gumbo.
A drawback to being a sparsely populated state is that there isn’t the abundance of jobs compared to the more densely populated states. South Dakotans do what’s necessary to make a living, and that generally means work.
Residents know that they have to work hard at their jobs, or somebody else will. But that’s usually not a problem, because South Dakotans are also an ambitious bunch. Few other states have ancestors who built their homes out of dirt and grass. I don’t know how else to prove that South Dakotans are hard workers other than to mention that our state has two mountains that have been carved into monuments. You just don’t find that kind of motivation in other states.
A lot of the jobs that are available in South Dakota involve labor. Most of the land is used for agriculture and fields don’t plow, plant or harvest themselves. Many South Dakotans get to work early. Legally, kids can get a job at 14 and a driver’s license to get to work at 14, but many youngsters start working at half that age. Farm and ranch kids are expected to work at a young age, but many kids from town get jobs on farms or ranches also.
The only time South Dakotans have it easy is when they apply for a job in other parts of the country. Employers who receive a South Dakotan’s job application know the applicant can do the job because their application shows extensive experience in working hard.
Amy and her husband raise their two kids on a fourthgeneration cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.