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Meet the Member Don Reichert
Newly Elected NIRAA President
story by Sharon Adams
South Dakotan Don Reichert is the newly elected President of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni and he brings with him a lifetime of leadership and rodeo experience. He was president of his high school FFA chapter, Great Plains Region NIRA Student Director, Advisor for the FFA while teaching vocational agriculture, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Badlands Circuit Manager, Chairman of his church congregation, and Chairman of the Stewardship Ministry Team at his church. Don retired in 2012 as National Accounts Sales Manager of the Animal Milk Products Division after 41 years with Land O’Lakes, Inc.
“My key objectives are increasing scholarships awarded to student athletes and increasing membership in the NIRA Alumni, Inc.” Said Don. “These objectives are important to our success. I intend to continue helping organize and host an annual reunion of NIRA Alumni during the NIRA College National Finals Rodeo.”
This year scholarships totaling $30,000 were awarded to participants at the CNFR. The NIRA Alumni Board of Directors again voted to award at least $30,000 in scholarships in 2020.
Don urges young people to go to college and join the rodeo club. “I learned to thrive on a challenge when I rodeoed. When I had a tough sales call, I would think of it as facing an unridden bull. That would give me the determination to figure out how to accomplish the sale.”
Don started riding bulls at age 14 in Lee Crowser’s practice pen and from there he went on to championships in regional high school rodeos and in the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association and the South Dakota Rodeo Association. Don traveled with his brother Duane (Rodeo Clown and Bull Fighter) in the mid 1960s and rodeoed from Canada to Texas and Colorado to Michigan helping Duane with clown acts.
Bull riding was not his only talent. Don won the bareback riding at the Jackrabbit Stampede at South Dakota State (now University) in 1964. From 1966 to 1968 he won numerous all-around, bareback riding, and bull riding championships in the NIRA Great Plains Region rodeos. He also competed in the saddle bronc riding and wrestled steers, winning the steer wrestling at the Jackrabbit Stampede in 1967. He competed in three College National Finals Rodeos, winning the National Bull Riding title in 1966 and 1968. He was the NIRA Student Manager for the Great Plains Region from 1967 to 1968.
Don filled his PRCA permit it in 1968 and competed in many PRCA rodeos in the Badlands Circuit and surrounding states, riding bulls until the fall of 1984. He was the first person to make a qualified ride on Sutton’s unridden Booger Red (five years in the bucking string) winning the bull riding at the Corn Palace Stampede in Mitchell in 1971. He competed in the Circuit Finals in 1978, 1979, and 1981. From 1980 to 1984 Don served as Badlands Circuit Manager and was named Outstanding Member in 1980. His wife, Pat, was given a Badlands Circuit Special Award in 1981 for her service to the circuit.
Another bull rider, Butch Bratsky, preceded Don as NIRAA president. Butch stated “After being on the Alumni Board for over 20 years and as president for over 8 years, it’s time to pass the torch to Don Reichert, who is fully capable of taking us to the next level! He has many skills and ideas and with the current Officer Crew and the balance of the Board, the NIRA Alumni is in good hands to advance even more under his new leadership. Please help me welcome the new President of the NIRA Alumni, Mr. Don Reichert.”
Don and wife Pat have four children and six grandchildren who live near them in the Sioux Falls area. He is enjoying time with his grandchildren and has recently taken up metal sculpture, specializing in rodeo silhouettes, of course!