Expanding Facilities Help Bring National Pheasant Fest To Sioux Falls

The event will take place in Feb. 2018

It’s a tradition almost as old as the state.

South Dakotans have been hunting pheasants since 1919.

Ever since, starting in the middle of October, thousands of people throughout the state take to the fields with shotguns in hand and feathered game in in their sites.

“In South Dakota, opening day for pheasant hunting is to pheasant hunters what Christmas is to children,” says South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Last year 1.2 million pheasants were bagged in the state.

A number that one organization believes makes a perfect destination for a national hunting trade show.

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to bring what I think is going to be the single best Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2018,” says Howard Vincent, the president and CEO of Pheasants Forever.

Pheasants Forever along with Quails Forever sponsor the event.

But it was a long time coming for the fest to be hosted here in Sioux Falls, seven years to be exact.

The Sioux Falls Convention and Bureau Executive Director says space was an issue in the past.

“So to be able to add the old arena, to the convention center, plus the new event center to the convention center, all the pieces of the puzzle came together,” says Teri Schmidt.

“I think you’ve built a first class facility and all the support that goes with that in the community, that’s why we’re here,” adds Vincent.

So in less than 2 years, the event will take the tradition of South Dakota pheasant hunting one shot further.

“It really makes sense that they bring those pheasant hunting enthusiasts to the state where they want to come anyway,” says Gov. Daugaard.

Fifteen thousand people are expected to attend the upcoming event.

With visitors flying or driving in, staying in hotels, shopping, eating at restaurants, the Sioux Falls Convention and Visiting Bureau says the economic impact in this area will be in the millions.

Other cities to host Pheasant Fest are Minneapolis, Kansas City and Milwaukee.