Seven Most South Dakotan Things South Dakotans Do In South Dakota
South Dakota is a quirky state. If you stop and think about it, there are a bunch of things that people do here that don't make a lot of sense. Some are positive, some are negative, some are neutral.
So in celebration of these mostly unique quirks, here are the seven most South Dakotan things South Dakotans do in South Dakota.
Point Out Famous People Who are From Here
South Dakota is a relatively large state geographically while being small in population. With under a million people living here, the odds of a large number of famous people coming from the state is are not good.
Yet we get really excited about it when we see someone in a movie, TV show, or sporting event who hails from the Mount Rushmore State.
It's a good bit of trivia, but pointing out that January Jones or Adam Vinatieri is from the 605 is really old news. You also never hear anyone point out famous people being from California or Chicago.
We shoot millions of our state bird every year
It may sound strange to say that we shoot our state bird, but it isn't like we're out blasting away at the bald eagle or the loon.
The Chinese ring-necked pheasant is the most popular upland game bird to hunt in the United States. Realtree.com called South Dakota the Mecca of upland bird hunting.
Every October the Sioux Falls airport is loaded with blaze orange and shotgun cases on their way to bag some roosters.
Drive Poorly While Blaming Iowa/Wyoming/North Dakota
For all but eight months of my life, I have been a resident of South Dakota. For most of those years spent here, I have lived less than 20 miles from a bordering state.
During the eight months I spent in Denver, I learned how to drive properly. When I moved back I gradually fell back into a style of driving that involves distraction, laziness, and unbelievably bad decisions.
It's not hard to drive and not look at a phone, but we do it a lot because a lot of our drives are isolated, long, and boring.
It's not hard to use a turn signal but we rarely use it outside of being stopped in a lane that already tells everyone we are turning left or right. And we sometimes treat lanes and lines as if they were suggestions.
Most perplexing of all is that while the average South Dakotan drives as if they are in their first year of having a license, we like to smack-talk neighboring states' drivers for incompetence while lacking competence ourselves.
We describe the distance from one place to another in units of time
How many times have you heard the question "How far is it to Rapid City?" The answer to that question is always a number of hours. It could be something closer too. When we were in the Black Hills over Christmas break, my wife asked how far it was to Terry Peak.
"About and hour," I said.
We are obsessed with washing our cars
The average person cares about how their car looks at least a little bit. I don't as much as most people but I still make sure it gets washed periodically.
If a South Dakotan doesn't wash their car regularly in the winter, it will eventually have a rusty cancer that grows all along the bottom and slowly eats it away.
College logo clothing must be worn at all times if you went to USD or SDSU
I had not noticed this until last weekend when I was in Las Vegas with my wife. I couldn't believe the number of times I saw a USD hoodie or SDSU sweatshirt while walking the strip (And it was Jackrabbit, not San Diego State.)
Obviously, planeloads of South Dakotans flew down there over the course of the week, but it was shocking to see it so far from home.
Now I notice that if people aren't in work attire, their only garments have something to do with those two schools. But only those two schools.
I graduated from Black Hills State and when I see my old t-shirt I just think of it as an old bill that I paid and haven't thrown away.
The Coyotes and Jackrabbits football and basketball teams going to Division 1 have a lot to do with that. But if BHSU went to D1, I would still look at a Yellowjacket hat as a $30,000 loan I finally paid off last year.
We classify everything into two kinds: East River and West River
This may be stronger with those who have lived or spent a lot of time on both sides of the state, but it's completely true.
Things are compartmentalized into East River and West River in our state. The Missouri River is that squiggly line that unevenly splits the state in two.
Deer hunting seasons, rural electric cooperatives, cities, land, animals, even the time of day is different on either side of the river from Pierre to the north.
East of the Missouri River there are farmers while on the west side there are mostly ranchers (though there are definitely some of both on both sides).