Leave it to Kristi Noem to ruin the Governor’s Hunt.
One would think our self-proclaimed Sportsman in Chief would be eager as all get-out for the Governor’s Hunt, an outdoor tradition initiated by Joe Foss in the 1950s and restarted by Bill Janklow in the early 1980s as a great outdoor crony-fest. The Lear Jet-set get to fly out to the vast, windy expanses of central South Dakota and shoot lots of birds and breeze while rubbing shoulders with South Dakota’s rich and powerful, all seeking business deals and other favors. Sure, they waste a lot of good pheasant meat, but at least we get a bunch of city slickers out to the countryside.
But apparently that’s too much outdoor fun for Governor Kristi Noem. If she has to spend any weekend working, she sure doesn’t want to do it in piddly little Pierre or out in the surrounding boonies. She apparently prefers to schmooze the rich and famous in Sioux Falls at an outdoor expo to be held mostly indoors in Sioux Falls:
Governor Kristi Noem today announced that the 2020 Governor’s Hunt and Sportsmen’s Showcase will be based out of the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
…Major events at the 2020 Governor’s Hunt and Sportsmen’s Showcase will include a public sportsman industry vendor fair with booths from South Dakota hunting, fishing, firearms, and other sportsmen-related industries from around the country; a banquet for state leaders and business prospects; a public concert at the Premier Center; and world-class pheasant hunting in southeastern South Dakota [Governor’s Office, press release, 2019.06.10].
“I am deeply grateful to the landowners, community leaders, and business owners in and around Pierre who have built the foundation of success for the Governor’s Hunt. Thank you for your commitment to the tradition of this event over the years,” concluded Noem.
The 2019 Governor’s Hunt will be based out of Pierre [Governor’s Office, 2019.06.10].
Minnehaha County also went for Sutton last year, but the Republicans there went strong for Kristi over Marty last June.
Now sure, even around Sioux Falls, one can find pheasant hunting of internationally recognized quality. But over the past decade, the Sioux Falls area has had one of the lowest pheasant counts in the state, far lower than Pierre, Chamberlain, Winner and Mobridge. Heck, if Noem really wanted to move the event but optimize the hunting, she could give her visitors a target-richer environment by taking them hunting closer to home with Lee Schoenbeck around Watertown:
But rather than long walks on the prairie, Noem would rather enjoy some short strolls from the mini-bar to the couch in her swanky private Sioux Falls hotel suite while the rich and powerful come pay her homage at a pale shadow of an outdoor tradition.
Governor Noem thus trades an at least somewhat sportsmanly and challenging outdoor event that spotlights what makes South Dakota different for just another trade show with the same booths and boostery convention-speak that entrepreneurs see every week.