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Our South Dakota Way of Life


I came home to South Dakota after eight years serving in Congress because I love our state. I missed working with cows and horses. I missed our beautiful wide-open spaces.  But more than anything else, I missed spending time with my family and our South Dakota way of life.


Our people, with their tremendous work ethic and down-to-earth values, are second-to-none. South Dakotans appreciate freedom and the things that make our country special, and that’s something that I’ve been continuously reminded of over these past several months. When faced with difficult challenges and a once in a lifetime global pandemic, South Dakotans did not look to the government to dictate to them. Instead, they looked at all the information at their disposal and made the best decisions for themselves and their families.


These past couple weeks have given us tremendous opportunities to celebrate the things that make South Dakota such a great place to live. We showcased our state to the rest of the nation and the world when we celebrated America’s birthday with President Trump and fireworks at Mount Rushmore.


Last week, we got to showcase a different side of our state, and one that is especially dear to my heart: the cowboy side. Because South Dakota never closed, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) decided to hold their Team Championship in Sioux Falls. To make things even better, it was the first national indoor sporting event to have fans in the stands since sports leagues closed their doors in March.


The bull riders put on quite a show, and they graciously gave me the honor of carrying Old Glory into the arena for the Star-Spangled Banner on the second night of their competition. It was a spectacular moment. South Dakotans exercised their freedom to participate in such an event, freedom that has been denied citizens of many other states. And they celebrated that freedom the way that Americans have for so long, by honoring our flag. That flag represents so much more than just our nation.  It embodies the brave men and women in uniform who have followed it into battle in conflicts around the world – conflicts that were fought to protect the freedoms and liberties that make America the greatest country ever.


It’s my hope that we will continue to celebrate the things that make South Dakota special; that we will protect our South Dakota way of life so that we can pass it on to those who come after us; and that we will share our way of life with as many people as we can.