The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) utilized the Beef Checkoff to place BEEF center stage as the official protein though multiple venues at the Sanford International Tour of Champions tournament which took place September 7-13, 2020, in Sioux Falls, SD. Thousands of golf enthusiasts were in attendance with many stopping down at “The Ranch” destination site located near the 17th green of the Minnehaha Country Club.
The Ranch provided a great spot to sit back, relax and learn about beef’s pasture to plate story through promotional banners, infographics, videos, and swag items located throughout the area. Attendees could watch the tournament from the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th viewing area from the Ranch site as well as visit the Expo tent where they could purchase the product from an all-beef concession area, and visit with the SD Beef Industry Council and ranchers from across the state.
The SDBIC proposed two beef teams to be added to the Pro-Am Tournament this year as the official beef caddies were postponed at the event due to Covid concerns. Teagan Mason, Devon Moore, Delaney Peterson, and Gavin Mathis made up the SDBIC’s Youth Beef Team playing Wednesday, September 9th, alongside professional golfer Len Mattice. The Sturgis Beef Throw Down Champion, Mount Rushmore Brewing Company & Pounding Fathers Restaurant, participated in the Pro-Am event on Thursday September 10th. Representing the team was John Stahl, Ernie Engstrom, Jesse Sorenson, and Cliff Zeimet who golfed alongside pro golfer Stephan Leaney.
The Sanford International also offers beef the opportunity to highlight the product as Ribeye steak sandwiches are served to Pro-Am participants, veterans, and first responders. Partnering with the SDBIC on the event was the South Dakota Beef Breeds Council and the South Dakota Hereford Association. Over 1,600 ribeye steak sandwiches were served.
New to the tournament this year was the Grillin’ on the Green event. The event brought together cattle industry and food service organizations to pair alongside 9 media personalities in a burger battle competition designed to highlight the versatility of real beef as teams competed for the Championship title by creating the best beef burger. Chef Justin Warner along with USD’s strength and conditioning coach, Clete McLeod and SDSU’s strength and conditioning coach, Nate Moe, were judges during the event. “Grillin’ on the Green was an absolute romp,” states Chef Justin Warner. “With great sacrifice I subjected myself to judging 9 absolutely delicious burgers created by teams of two. The partnership of ranchers and media members was brokered by beef, and what a delectable partnership it turned out to be. The “chefs” overcame adversity in the form of century eggs and Sichuan oil, rising to the occasion with great success. Fans, friends and onlookers got a real kick out of the antics, jovial smack-talk and the not so subtle rivalry between my co judges Nate Moe and Clete McLeod. If this event is any indication of the next, a good time is guaranteed.” Participating in the event was the South Dakota Beef Breeds Council, South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Farmers Union, South Dakota Stockgrowers, South Dakota Cattlewomen, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Auxiliary, South Dakota Cattlemens Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and Par Caterers. These groups paired up with Tri-state neighbor, WNAX, Ag Week TV, Midco, Sanford Sports, Results Radio, Kickin’ Country, Cattle Business Weekly and Keloland Living. Karl’s TV Audio Appliance & Furniture partnered in the event through their donation of all 9 competition grills. Each of these grills were given away at the end of the event through a drawing of those spectators attending! SDBIC Executive Director, Suzy Geppert states, “It was a great night for beef as organizations came together to promote a product that continues to be a staple in American households. We are always looking for ways to extend our beef message to consumers and partnerships like this allow us to do that. We appreciate everyone’s willingness to participate in the gate to plate competition.” Championship honors went to the SD Cattlemens Auxiliary and Sanford Sports team that included auxiliary member, Jenny Johnson and Sanford Sports member Terry Vandrovec taking home the prize.