SDSF Foundation announces statewide fundraising campaign for new livestock complex

COURTESY PHOTO This is an early architect’s rendition of what the new ‘Dakota Events CompleX” or “DEX” may look like. A fundraising campaign to raise money for the private portion of the project is now underway in the state.

HURON —  The South Dakota State Fair Foundation is excited to announce the ‘Discover the DEX’ fundraising campaign to help fund the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX.

The DEX is the new multipurpose livestock and equestrian facility at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds in Huron.

“In South Dakota, we see challenges as an opportunity to grow, to build for the future,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The new DEX will be a state-of-the-art facility which will attract regional and national events to Huron."

The estimated cost of the DEX is $19 million. To pay for the project, Gov. Noem is asking the legislature for $12 million in one-time funds. The one-time funds, plus insurance payments from the fire leaves $4 million to be raised by the State Fair Foundation.

“It is a big ask,” said Jim White, fundraising committee chair. “But we have the opportunity to build a facility that will impact the fair for generations. It is time for us to rally together and ‘Discover the DEX!”

The ‘Discover the DEX’ campaign includes several donor opportunities for all donation levels including naming rights, donor wall sponsorships, and a brand and name recognition display. For more information on how to donate visit:

“Governor Noem asked me to chair this committee,” said White, “because of my ties to the community and to the members of the S.D. Legislature.”

White has served the area in the state legislature for many years.

White said that the committee will work beneath the umbrella of the S.D. State Fair Foundation, using the tax-exempt status the foundation enjoys.

“I tell you, I think we have just a great group of people on the committee,” White said Thursday afternoon. “We have already made several contacts in the state and some contributions have been confirmed.”

He added that donors will be able to customize their donation toward the facility, with either a one-time gift available, as well as breaking up payments over three to five years.

The 200,000 square-foot DEX will have two, full-sized equestrian arenas and seat up to 7,000 fans, making it a one-of-a-kind venue for hosting local, regional, and national events. The footprint covers the area abandoned by the 96,000 square-foot Beef Complex and the 37,000 square-foot Sheep Barn, which has long outlived its useful life.

“I’m very excited about the range of possibilities that this project will offer to the State Fairgrounds,” said committee member Peggy Besch, who is also on the DEX committee. “We are building for the future with this project; sustaining for generations to come.”

During the State Fair, the DEX will house the open class beef and open class 4-H beef exhibitors, while the open class sheep and goat exhibitors will be moved to the existing 4-H Livestock Complex. This allows for species-specific barns across the fairgrounds, a trend favored by exhibitors, and addresses livestock transportation issues on the fairgrounds.

Project planners are working diligently with the sheep and goat exhibitors to improve the existing 4-H Livestock Complex to ensure their new home exceeds their expectations.

“Constructing a venue of this size will open the doors to other events, which we’ve never been able to look at before,” Besch said. “For instance, we were the host to the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo for two years recently. They made it clear that looking forward, they are weary of battling Mother Nature and would rather have an indoor venue. The DEX will give us that and will open us up to other large-scale livestock shows and events.”

Demolition of the Open Class Beef Complex began in December, with project design efforts following in Spring 2021. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held during the 2021 fair and the DEX will be up and running in time for the 2022 State Fair.

For additional information about the project or questions about the ‘Discover the DEX’ campaign please contact one of the committee members listed.


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