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Tibbs Rodeo Center nearing completion, seeks South Dakota rodeo history

South Dakota

What began as a dream of South Dakota rodeo supporters in 1989 will become a reality this June with the completion of the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center, located in the Maynard and Mattie Goff-Newcombe Building in Fort Pierre.

When Casey Tibbs, a six-time Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association saddle bronc champion between 1949 and 1955, authorized the use of his name with the center to honor the sport he loved, he did so on the condition it wouldn't just be a Casey Tibbs museum, but that it would honor all the talented South Dakotans in the rodeo industry.

The project began with the formation of the Casey Tibbs Foundation in June of 1989. Tibbs died at the age of 60 early in 1990. That July, the first Foundation Tribute Dinner to honor Tibbs' accomplishments, not only in rodeo but also in the movies and on television, was held to raise money for the rodeo center.

Events like the tribute dinner and an annual Match of Champions professional saddle bronc competition raised enough money for the outside shell of the center to be completed. Recently, a generous donation by Mattie Goff-Newcombe and her husband, Maynard, allowed work on the inside of the building to move forward. Goff-Newcombe was a world champion trick rider in 1929. In addition to being honored by the Casey Tibbs Foundation, she has been inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Hall of Fame and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

A grand opening for the rodeo center has been scheduled for Aug. 14- to16, but Diana Melvin, a foundation board member and the chairperson of the archives collection, said they are already scheduling events and are seeking items to display, and for the collection.

To honor Tibbs' wish, in addition to displays about him and Goff-Newcombe, there will be exhibits honoring all aspects of rodeo: Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, Women's Professional Rodeo Association, Great Plains Indian Rodeo, rodeo clowns, announcers and entertainment acts; South Dakota Rodeo Association, ranch cowboys and stock contractors, 4-H, Little Britches, South Dakota High School and Junior High Rodeo Associations, and Great Plains College Rodeo.

"We are excited that the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center is nearing completion," said Dayle Angyal, board president. "Rodeo is our state sport, and the state Legislature has also named our facility as the official rodeo center for South Dakota."

To that end, anybody having rodeo items or photos they would like to have considered for display in the Rodeo Center is encouraged to e-mail Melvin at diana.rodeocenter@midconetwork.com or call her at 1-800-863-5846. Loan, Gift and Photo Release forms are also available on the foundation's website at www.caseytibbs.com. All donations are tax deductible.

Tibbs Foundation officials will also be having a booth at the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo being held Jan. 30 to Feb. 8 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

"A board committee will be approving all the items in the collection," Melvin said. "We don't have excess storage, but we don't want to miss a story, a person, or an item that will showcase South Dakota's rich rodeo history."

It's a history all South Dakotans can be proud of and the world will soon see.

South Dakotans are urged to keep abreast of the progress by checking the www.caseytibbs.com website for updates on the grand opening and for links to other rodeo association contacts.

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