October 4, 2023
The 2023 South Dakota State Fair featured a new 150,000-square-foot facility for beef cattle at this year’s event. The Dakota Events CompleX — also known as the DEX — welcomed fairgoers with a windowed red-barn entry. The facility provided stalls, fitting areas and the show ring for all of the 4-H beef cattle during the five-day state fair Aug. 31 through Sept. 4 in Huron.
Lt. Gov Larry Rhoden and Hunter Roberts, secretary of agriculture and natural resources, made remarks praising community and state support for the facility during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 31 on the first day of the fair. It is anticipated the DEX will attract several new events to Huron.
Look to future
“The DEX represents an exciting opportunity for South Dakota State Fair,” Roberts said. “This state-of-the art facility will serve as a premier venue for open class and 4-H livestock exhibits during the fair. Outside of the fair, it is poised to become a prominent attraction not only for local events, but it will be an asset that allows the South Dakota State Fair to compete for regional and national events.”
Roberts cited livestock shows, equestrian events, rodeos and concerts as possible events to be held. The DEX boasts space for up to 1,700 cattle stalls and two show rings, or two full-size equestrian arenas. Portable bleachers were utilized during this year’s fair, but permanent seating for 5,000 visitors will be installed in the future.
4-H’er Brady Beitelspacher of Bowdle enjoyed the comfort and convenience DEX provided for the three steers he exhibited at the fair. “There were abundant power cords dropping down from the ceiling, so we could plug fans in to keep our cattle cool,” he said. “There was also nice space for the fitting area, and the show ring was huge.”
Brady and older brother Bryce have exhibited cattle at the state fair for the past decade. Their father Mark exhibited cattle when he was a 4-H member. This year’s fair was special for the Beitelspacher family since Brady’s Chianina steer earned overall Grand Champion Market Beef honors.
“It was fun to win and being the first Grand Champion steer in the DEX makes it even more memorable,” Brady said.
Roberts noted that the state Legislature authorized $29 million for the DEX facility. The DEX replaces the beef barn that burned in a fire on Oct. 31, 2020. The former open-class sheep barn, which was adjacent to the beef barn, was also demolished to provide space for this new facility.
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