It’s the biggest rivalry in South Dakota collegiate sports—South Dakota State University (SDSU) versus the University of South Dakota (USD). Each year, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) presents the South Dakota Showdown Series, a point-based athletic and academic competition between the two in-state universities.
A traveling trophy floats between the two rivals. Points are accrued for each win in head-to-head competitions in nine sports. Each sporting event winner receives one point, while the winner of the football matchup receives two points. Academic achievement earns up to three points, if student-athletes merit grade-point averages above 3.0.
The Showdown Series partners with Feeding South Dakota as a philanthropic effort to promote how agriculture—and farmers—feed people. Funds are raised throughout the year at each Showdown Series event, including the “Get Off the Bench” campaign. The campaign encourages fans to “Get Off the Bench” in support of providing much-needed funding in South Dakota’s fight against hunger.
Even the coaches get on board, sporting the “Get Off the Bench” orange color in some form of gear during athletic matches.
“South Dakota farmers are committed to feeding all families, including those that are less fortunate,” says Teddi Mueller, SDCGA Marketing & Legislative Director. “The Showdown Series helps farmers raise awareness with consumers about the need for all South Dakotans to have access to safe, healthy food.”
Tradition Continues This Year
The 2018-2019 academic year is the Showdown Series’ seventh year. SDSU and USD have each won the series three times.
The 2018 Showdown Series football game will be held on November 17 in Brookings.
“We wanted to use that iconic game, with South Dakota’s two biggest universities, to add another component with the state’s largest industry, agriculture,” says Mueller. “We want to reinforce that what drives the state of South Dakota is farmers, who take care of the environment while feeding everyone.”
This year’s Showdown Series has added a new way for spectators to give to Feeding South Dakota. A box equipped with a credit card scanner will be available at every athletic event, allowing fans to make a donation to Feeding South Dakota with one swipe of their credit card.