Life is full of fun surprises, and you just never know who you will see or meet when you're out and about. Believe it or not, there are a few celebrities that come from humble Sioux Falls beginnings. The next time you encounter one might be at Dairy Queen!

I recently learned that a Sioux Falls native who became a Hollywood actress once worked at Dairy Queen. Not only did she work at Dairy Queen, but she was also a straight-A student in high school.

januaryjones (via Instagram), Getty Images
januaryjones (via Instagram), Getty Images

MORE: 8 Celebrities You May Run Into In South Dakota

Mad Men star January Jones is one of the most notable celebrities from Sioux Falls. Travel South Dakota says that January Jones was a straight-A student at Roosevelt High School while working at Dairy Queen. She is also the daughter of a gym teacher and a sporting goods store manager.

January is pretty proud of her hometown and her South Dakota roots. In fact, during the 35th season of Saturday Night Live, January hosted the late-night program, and the iconic show even highlighted her time at Dairy Queen.

This Saturday Night Live skit had January play an employee at Dairy Queen while the reporter (played by Kristen Wiig) is flirting with her. You can watch the sketch here:

Usually, Saturday Night Live hosts have input on the sketches they're in. You can't help but wonder if January contributed some ideas to this parody!

"Mad Men" New York Special Screening
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: (L-R) Matthew Weiner, January Jones, John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, and Christina Hendricks attend a "Mad Men" Screening at The Museum of Modern Art on March 22, 2015, in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)

January Jones was born in Hecla, South Dakota, and grew up in Sioux Falls.

So the next time you're enjoying a delicious Dairy Queen Blizzard, think of January Jones' story. Who knows, that person serving up ice cream may be the next person from Sioux Falls to land a career in Hollywood?!

Ted Danson Hosts Oceana's 14th Annual SeaChange Summer Party
January Jones attends Oceana's 14th Annual SeaChange Summer Party, October 23, 2021 in Laguna Beach, California.(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)


8 Celebrities You May to Run Into In South Dakota

You may not think of South Dakota as the crossroads of celebrity life. That's a good thing, we kind of like to live under the radar here on the upper plains.

But, living in South Dakota we are just a few degrees away from stardom. Not just because the author of the Little House on the Prairie books is from here. Or because every time Tom Brokaw shows up on TV, someone will say, "You know he's from Yankton."

We may not have as much of a chance at a celebrity sighting in South Dakota as we would in Minneapolis, but there are some famous personalities you may run into in the 605.

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Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

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