Extreme winds rip roof off Fairgrounds barn weeks before stock show

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 1:36 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Clean-up crews have a large mess on their hands after a night of strong winds stripped barns to the frame ahead of a major rodeo event.

Gusts reaching above 70 mph damaged multiple stalling barns at the Central States Fairgrounds during the wind storm on Tuesday.

Winds ripped the metal roof off of Barn 4, sending it flying into Barn 5 overnight and scattering bits of scrap in the area.

The barns were intended to hold horses throughout the upcoming 2021 Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, but Ron Jefferies, general manager of the Midwestern event, says Barn 4 will be closed for the show’s duration due to the damage.

Jefferies adds the damage to the horse barns will lower their maximum capacity by about 60 horses, or 10%. However, the construction of a ninth barn last summer - equating to roughly 90 stalls - makes up those losses.

According to the rodeo manager, while the wild winds left an unexpected mess, there are contingencies in place: “We hadn’t specifically talked about ‘what do you do if you have hurricane-force winds the week before the Black Hills Stock Show starts,’ but we do have plans in place to make arrangements to make everything run as normal.”

Crews will strap down any dislodged roofing on Barn 5 and work to repair the building before the rodeo’s upcoming events starting on Jan. 15.

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