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International President John Boutwell has asked me to write a series of articles for the Blue Beret about Huron, SD, the site of our upcoming 2013 International Rally. The rally begins June 28, 2013 and continues through July 4, 2013. Having traveled through South Dakota many times and never having gone through Huron, I decided that before I wrote about this place I needed to locate it.

Since I travel with a driver who does not use GPS, unless he has been lost for a couple of days, I have gotten on the Internet and started looking at maps.

Huron is located at latitude 44.363N and longitude -98.213W for those of you who do use GPS and other electronic gadgets to find your way around. For those of us who still prefer to go to AAA and get road maps you will find that if you travel East or West on I-90 and take SD Hwy 37 North to the junction with US-14 YOU are in Huron! Remember that you are in Beadle County when you are visiting Huron especially (and we hope that there aren’t any) when there are severe weather warnings as they usually only give the county not the town. A direct quote from the Huron Chamber of Commerce is that “Huron is the Center of the Universe!” (We do understand that there may be some slight debate on this.)
Huron got its start in 1875 when this then bare spot out on the plains was very lucky to have attracted the attention of General Manager, Marvin Hughitt of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, who selected the west bank of the James River as the division headquarters of the railroad. It is believed that either Mr. Hughitt or someone in the railroad’s Chicago office chose the name Huron. The town was named for the Huron Indians. However, there are no Huron Indians in Huron or in South Dakota for that matter. The Huron Indians settled in the area bounded by Lake Huron and Lake Ontario in Michigan.

In 1880 the first corner stake for the “town site” was driven. Until 1904 when Pierre was named the capital of Missouri, Huron was in the running for that honor, so it was a very busy prairie railroad town.

Photograph by Megan BenkerProbably the most famous sight in town is the World’s Largest Pheasant. The pheasant is made out of 22 tons of fiberglass, stands 28 feet tall and from its beak to its tail it spans 40 feet! Don’t miss this great photo op!

Why does Huron have the World’s Largest Pheasant you ask? Huron is known as “Ringneck Nation” and from October until January each year it is the place to go for pheasant hunting. Ringer the Ringneck is the town mascot and can be seen at many events.

There will be a myriad of things to see and do in Huron and the surrounding area, which we will cover until the 2013 International Rally. So let’s get started by jumping right in and begin with the “Murals on the Town” that tell’s the town’s history. Now you cannot come up with any excuse why you did not see these clever and colorful murals because they are accessible by walking, biking or automobile throughout Huron.

There are 20 of these murals throughout Huron and the mural listed as #1 on the town map is located at the Fairgrounds, the site of the WBCCI International Rally and is called “Seeds of Democracy” featuring the philosophy of one of Huron’s residents, Hubert Humphrey, Vice President under President Lyndon B. Johnson. There will be mural maps available at the rally so check with the Information Desk when you arrive. The Huron Visitors Bureau should also have them.

Some other murals are “The Land Rush” depicting the opening of a new land office in 1882 that opened up settlement of the James River Valley area; “Evolution of Medicine” from doctors on horseback to modern times; “The Great Race” depicting the events when 30 automobiles, in 1913, raced 110 miles from Huron to DeSmit and back and “Driving the First Corner Stake” that occurred on April 19, 1880 formally establishing the location for the town of Huron.

Fishing is something that the young and old can do or in the case of Ravine Lake in Huron the handicapped can join in as well at the handicapped accessible fishing dock. Now I would like to point out that I use to fish as a little girl in VT and we caught trout. The fishing areas in Huron have some fish that I have NEVER heard of!

Ravine Lake is located right in Huron and is stocked with crappie, catfish, pike, walleye and bullheads; however, the Third Street Dam has muskellunge, American Eel, gizzard shad, freshwater drum and paddle fish! (See what I mean, not a trout to be found.)

The 2012 South Dakota fishing license fees were One Day $14 Non-resident and $7 for Residents or Three Day fees were $32 for Non-Residents (Residents shown as N/A).

Watch your Blue Beret for more articles on where to explore, what to enjoy and where the excitement is in and around Huron SD.