Newly updated digital South Dakota History Youth Program Launched

We are excited to announce our newly updated digital platform for our South Dakota History Youth Program found at this link  LEGENDS and LEARNING.

We provide free to teachers and students statewide a one-of-a-kind digital resource that includes online activities and year-round, across the curriculum calendar for teachers about South Dakotans.

What makes this program unique is the South Dakota Hall of Fame’s comprehensive and in many cases, the only source for stories and achievements of South Dakotan’s. Our digital collection includes resources spanning from Dakota Territory Days to Today, online and free. Included in the program are games, video, photos, and documents.

We are committed to telling their stories, showcasing that even in the humblest of places, greatness thrives.

Our mission is the Champion a Culture of Excellence: One Act at a Time.


Act of Excellence: Keeping Historic West River Trails Alive

Read about Roy and Edith Norman’s story at the SD Hall of Fame

Norman’s Act of Excellence: Early settlers traveling through South Dakota from the Missouri River west to the Black Hills followed one or another of several old trails, such as the Fort Pierre to Deadwood Trail. River boats and railroad trains brought travelers and freight to Fort Pierre. From there, the journey continued by ox-drawn wagon train, by saddlehorse or on foot across the plains. In the 1970s, a Stanley County ranch couple determined that the old trails should not be lost to history. Roy and Edith Norman created signs that marked the various trails taken by Indian tribes, military unites and west-bound settlers. The Normans, now deceased, studied surveyors’ maps for the 1800s to locate the trails that crisscrossed the west-river country. They researched the paths, and Roy created signs by burning letters into pine boards. He recorded the location of each sign on a home-made map. In recent years, a project has been underway to refurbish those signs, which are much the worse for wear after 40 years of South Dakota snow, rain, hail, sun and wind. The Second Century Development Corporation of Midland, S.D., received a grant to restore the old signs, and Lynn Briggs has been directing the project to recreate the nearly 400 signs the Normans originally placed along the trails. “This is something that shouldn’t be lost,’’ Briggs says. Briggs began surveying the trails in the summer of 2014 and making replacements signs that resemble the original Norman signs as closely as possible. He spent as many as 20 to 30 hours making each sign. Briggs says the history needs to be kept alive. The signs help keep history alive for any traveler willing to leave the main highways and follow the trail signs down section lines and over fields and pastures. It’s a retracing of an important part of the history and development of the West and an effort that will serve to educate and enlighten future generations of South Dakotans.

Inductee Larry Ritz: A quiet, forceful ‘doer’ for Sioux Falls and South Dakota, remembered, Argus Leader

Find his biography on the South Dakota Hall of Fame Champions for Excellence Network. 

Argus Leader, April 16: Lawrence Ritz, whose accomplishments as the dean of the accounting profession in Sioux Falls were perhaps only outshone by his community leadership and legendary nonprofit fundraising prowess, died surrounded by his family on April 8. He was 97.

Asked to describe the scope of Ritz’s contributions to those around him, even his best friends and long-standing colleagues struggled to find the words to do Ritz justice.

“A fantastic citizen of our city,” said long-time friend John Timmer. “He was one of the pushers. A doer, not a taker.”

Ritz was born in Madison in 1920. After studying accounting at Nettleton College and serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, Ritz joined the firm of Henry Scholten and Company in Sioux Falls and married Eileen Uphus, with whom he had two daughters. He became a CPA, and later was a partner in his own accounting firm. After his wife died in 1964, and Ritz married Beryl Birkland-Meyer in 1967, a partnership that lasted until she died in 2007.

Ritz was second to none as a community leader, serving as the president of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, the Great Plains Zoo,, Sioux Falls Area Junior Achievement, among many other organizations, including the South Dakota Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 1996.

“He usually spoke once and last,” said fellow CPA Greg LaFollette, recalling his experience with Ritz in various meetings. “He had a low voice, a quiet voice, he wasn’t loud. But when he talked, it was an intelligent synthesis of all the conversation would go on, and everyone would look at him and say, ‘That’s right, that is something we should do.’”

Glenn Jorgenson met Ritz 40 years ago and their long friendship gave him a close-up look at how Ritz build a reputation as a low-key but trusted voice in my roles, including as an active member of the Rotary Club, the Elks, and the Knights of Columbus, among many other organizations.

“He had a quiet, confident nature, he had an ability to make you feel comfortable, and his integrity had been well established, he didn’t have to come across strong,” Jorgenson said. “He was interested in people, he was more than interested in what they had to say.”

Ritz was an unstoppable force as a community fundraiser for all manner of organizations and projects, including the United Way, Volunteers of America, the South Dakota Symphony, O’Gorman High School and local colleges.

“He was very careful with his own money, but was extremely generous for any cause that was going on in town,” said Timmer, a fellow CPA and a one-time next door neighbor of Ritz. “When he would call on people for donations for something, they didn’t ask if they should give or not, they’d ask, ‘How much do you expect?’”

Ritz received numerous honors in his life, including the state Hall of Fame induction, the Spirit of Sioux Falls award in 2013, and numerous awards for philanthropy and leadership. He championed the South Dakota Airshow and led the successful effort to raise a statue of his friend, World War II fighter ace and South Dakota governor Joe Foss, which now stands in the lobby of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport terminal.

Ritz’s excellence and leadership in the accounting field and personal encouragement inspired LaFollette to become a CPA.

“He was my personal mentor, but beyond that, there was no question he was the dean of our profession, and there is no such thing obviously, but he was the guy,” sad LaFollette, now a strategic adviser to “He epitomized the profession and everything there was about it.”

Nearly to the end of his days, Ritz stayed active, a lifestyle that put Jorgenson in quite a tongue-in-cheek bind at home.

“He was a problem. You want to hear about the problem he was in my life?’ Jorgenson said, with a chuckle. “He’s 97 and I’m 10 years younger than him, and when my wife would say, ‘do something,’ I would say, ‘I‘m too old,’ and she’d say, ‘Honey, look at Larry.’ I don’t know if I’ll forgive him for that.”

Ritz is survived by his sister, two daughters, a step-son, a step-daughter, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren.

Visitation with family present will take place at Miller Funeral Home – Southside Chapel, 7400 S. Minnesota Ave. on Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a prayer service starting at 7 p.m. Funeral mass will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1501 W. 26th St., with burial to follow at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery.

Legendary Coach Rich Greeno Dies

Read his biography at 

Argus Leader SIOUX FALLS | Monday’s death of legendary coach Rich Greeno, the lone survivor of six brothers from a pioneer sodbusting South Dakota family who all became teachers and coaches, brings to an end a six-pack of success in the classroom and on countless fields, courts and tracks on which their athletes competed.

But such were their combined accomplishments that the legacy of the Greenos will live on in myriad watering holes, gas stations, grub stops, gymnasiums and grain elevators of the Midwest.

The Greeno boys — Joe, Laton, Ken, Woody, Rollie and Rich — honed their skills first in the musty hay-strewn barns of family farms at Amherst and Langford, then on the gridiron and hardwood floors of a hundred small-town gymnasiums. Together the brothers, joined by sisters Victoria and Marguerite, taught in elementary schools, junior and senior highs and colleges in Nebraska, New Mexico and the Dakotas for a combined total of 352 years.

Precision Work for the Arc of Dreams

Dale Lamphere is building the Arc of Dreams with two welders, Andy Roltgen and Grant Standard, in his studio outside of Sturgis.

“‘You can’t rush fine art,’ that’s a quote we use up here often,” Roltgen said. ” You’ve got to give it your all, you’ve got to put everything you’ve got into it.”

“It’s precision work for sure,” Standard said. “It can be really challenging at times, but also really rewarding.”

The Arc of Dreams will be installed over the Big Sioux River in downtown Sioux Falls later this year.

KSFY is proud to be the official media partner of the Arc of Dreams project.

Andre Larson Nation Music Museum Visionary, 2006 Inductee Dies

Read Dr. Andre P. Larson’s South Dakota Hall of Fame Visitor and Education Center Biography here.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The National Music Museum is celebrating the life of founding director Dr. André P. Larson who died on March 24 at 74. André Larson not only realized the dream of his father, Arne B. Larson, of establishing a musical-instrument museum on the Great Plains, he took its collections to world-class distinction.

Music was Larson’s birthright and element. Born Nov. 10, 1942 in Littlefork Village, Minn., to music-educator, collector and bandleader Arne B. and wife Jeanne (Kay) Larson, André grew up in Brookings, S.D.

European History. He then began traveling and voraciously studying fine musical-instrument collections at museums like the Smithsonian, the Met, and at Yale University.