The Impact of 4-H Rodeo in South Dakota

BROOKINGS, S.D.-After a heated debate over Title IX, South Dakota 4-H Rodeo can run as it always has for at least this rodeo season.

Earlier this year the USDA  warned the SDSU Extension that their 4-H Rodeo program must comply with Title IX and get rid of gender references on all events and awards. Not doing so would remove them from the federally funded 4-H program.

“When we look at the way the events are set up, I mean clear back to when the program started in 1972, you know it was set up with an equal number of events, equal prizes, equal scholarships and you know those events are set up according to what the participants are interested in,” said Casey Cowan, a long time supporter of 4-H.

“We could see it as you know really being a situation where in certain events the young ladies would be disadvantaged if the boys and girls compete against each other,” said Cowan.

SDSU had been working with their 4-H Rodeo Program to bring it into compliance, and was planning to make changes.

Some did not agree with USDA’s interpretation of Title IX. In response, the USDA announced it will reevaluate the Title IX requirements and 4-H Rodeo can continue to operate their program as usual.

However,  some say the entire debate is causing people to lose sight on what matters in the program.

KDLT’S Miranda Paige spoke with one family in Brookings whose more focused on how 4-H Rodeo is impacting their life.


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