The Dakota Events CompleX – Bringing the Vision to Life

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2023



The Dakota Events CompleX – Bringing the Vision to Life


HURON, S.D. – On August 31, the South Dakota State Fair cut the ribbon on the Dakota Events Complex, the DEX, marking a pivotal milestone on the journey to replace the open class beef complex destroyed by fire on October 31, 2020.


An aerial photo of the DEX Ribbon Cutting is available here.


The newly unveiled DEX presents an exciting opportunity for youth in agriculture, as the state-of-the-art facility serves as a premier venue for the open class and 4-H livestock exhibits during the fair. Additionally, it is poised to become a prominent attraction not only for local events, but also allows the state fairgrounds to compete for regional and national livestock shows, 4-H competitions, FFA conventions, rodeos, concerts, thrill shows, and more.


During the 2023 State Fair, the DEX was set with 1,200 cattle stalls and one large show ring, giving exhibitors and spectators the best possible showing and viewing experience.


Photos of competitions inside the DEX during the 2023 State Fair are available here, and here.


With the 2023 Fair behind us, preparations are underway for phase 1 of the bleacher seating project.  Phase 1 includes a three-week project for the professional installation of 2,000 seats to accommodate upcoming October events, including the SDRA Finals Rodeo, a barrel racing event, and a team penning and roping competition. This allows a seamless integration of the bleacher installation while being mindful of the Fall event schedule.


Phase 2 of the bleacher installation project will begin after the Fall events, bringing an additional 3,000 seats installed by South Dakota-based Combined Building Specialties. Upon completion by the end of 2023, the collective 5,000 seats will enhance the DEX’s capacity to host and attract a diverse range of events, allowing promoters alternate seating options to best meet their event needs. The fixed bleachers were never intended to be used during the fair but instead, were designed to enhance the flexibility of the facility to host non-fair events.  


With the bleachers installed, fans will have the best viewing opportunity for events in the facility’s new fully equipped Priefert rodeo arenas, which include bucking chutes and arrow pens. 


In total, the DEX is a 150,000 square-foot open concept facility, capable of hosting two full-sized equestrian arenas and seating for 5,000+ people. Alternatively, it is equipped to host up to 1,700 cattle stalls, two show rings, and visitor seating, further solidifying its adaptability.


In addition, the DEX has been designed to prioritize animal care. The air handling system can circulate fresh air throughout the facility every 16 minutes. The DEX features a robust electrical infrastructure, with 750 electric power drops, each on a dedicated circuit. Water is accessible throughout the facility, supported by a consistent water pressure, signifying a substantial improvement over the former beef complex. Lastly, the DEX offers brand-new paneling, paired with Rock Bottoms which will further enhance the facility's efficiency between animal shows.


The South Dakota State Fair is actively engaged in scheduling non-fair events. Noteworthy among these events are:


  • South Dakota Rodeo Association Rodeo Finals - 2023 and 2024;
  • Smashin Cans Barrel Race – 2023 and 2024;
  • Governor’s Agriculture Summit / DEX Grand Opening Celebration – 2024;
  • South Dakota Jr. High Regional Rodeo – 2024;
  • National Barrel Horse Association State Barrel Race – 2024;
  • South Dakota Summer Spotlight Livestock Show – 2024; and
  • Red Power Round Up National Show – 2026.


These events showcase the versatility of the DEX and the fairgrounds, a testament to its impact not only on the South Dakota State Fair and the Huron community, but the entire state of South Dakota.


Bringing the vision of the DEX to life would not have been possible without the strong support from our Governor, the legislature, our industry partners, and our state fair community. It is a true testament to what we can accomplish working together toward a common goal.