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LETCHER—Bailey Moody's senior season competing in high school rodeo has been extra special. Moody, a Letcher native, didn't get to compete in rodeos last year because of a knee injury she suffered during basketball season. The year off was hard for Moody, who is back in the saddle this summer. "It's amazing," Moody said. "My first ride back, I got a little teary-eyed because it was so amazing to be back riding."
PARKSTON—Sydney Davidson and Sanjo make a pretty good team. Davidson, a Parkston native, and Sanjo, the horse she rides, took second place in the girls cutting event at this year's South Dakota State High School Rodeo in Belle Fourche. Cutting is an event that involves a contestant and a horse to cut cow a herd of cattle. One of the cuts has to be deep inside the herd, while the others can be peeled from the edge. "You and your horse have to cut that cow for about 20 to 25 seconds," Davidson said. "Then go cut another one."
After one of the school's most successful seasons ever, the Mitchell High School football team entered the offseason wanting more. Heading into the 2016 season, Mitchell is hoping to carry over the momentum from the team's first winning season since 2011 and a Class 11AA semifinal appearance. Finishing with a 7-4 record, winning a playoff game at Joe Quintal Field and setting multiple program records has brought added enthusiasm to the long offseason process.
New uniforms are a hot topic in college sports and Dakota Wesleyan University isn't having any issues keeping up. Jerseys provide a first impression of any athletic program and as national trends continue to push the athletic apparel envelope, demand for having appealing looking jerseys is as high as ever at colleges. At DWU, new athletic jerseys and jersey combinations are on the rise. For the men's basketball team, DWU currently has eight different uniform sets, while the football, baseball and women's basketball, teams each have more than three uniform combinations.
WESSINGTON SPRINGS—Tucker Easton understands how long eight seconds is better than many high school students. The Wessington Springs junior has been competing as a bull rider since he was 10 years old. At this year's South Dakota State High School Rodeo in Belle Fourche, Easton took home second place with 56 points and reached his goal of qualifying for the National High School Finals Rodeo, which is held July 17-23 in Gillette, Wyoming.
BROOKINGS—Kanin Nelson dreamed about being a South Dakota State quarterback. With one semester in the books, the dream is going better than expected. The former Mitchell Kernel quarterback completed became the first football recruit in SDSU history to attend the school a semester early after graduating from MHS in December. Nelson has settled in Brookings—where he's living this summer—and working a summer job like many college students. He's also relishing the jumpstart he got on his college education and athletic career.
ALEXANDRIA—There's no shortage of motivation for the Alexandria Angels amateur baseball team. After winning its first Class B state championship in 2013, Alexandria returned to the title game in 2014 and 2015 only to come up short against Wynot (Nebraska) and the Parkston Mudcats, respectively. Fast-forward to the 2016 season and Alexandria is off to a 12-0 start, sitting atop the Class B amateur baseball poll. According to head coach Chris Marek, the team is using the shortfalls of the past two years as extra motivation this year.
There’s the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl, and now for Mitchell fans, there’s the Kernel Bowl. The first annual Kernel Bowl’s schedule has been finalized with five different events set to take place before the Mitchell High School football team opens its season against Harrisburg.
CANOVA—Jerry Kampshoff was sitting a few rows behind home plate, soaking in the sunlight, taking in the game he loves. The Canova Gang was hosting the Colman A's in a Cornbelt League amateur baseball game earlier this month, and Kampshoff along with about 60 other spectators couldn't help but admire the state of the ballpark. The baseball field in Canova — population 105 at the most-recent 2010 census — just went through roughly $90,000 in renovations.
The summer is shaping up to be one of the best summers in the history of the Mitchell Aquatic Club. MAC will be represented by Tevyn Waddell in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials and MAC head coach Kyle Margheim said the program has 65 swimmers out for the summer season. Summer and swimming go hand-in-hand for the Mitchell Aquatic Club and Margheim added the summer is the team's busiest, and quickest, season. "The summer is an exciting time and it's nice to be at the outdoor pool," Margheim said. "I think the kids like being outside."