After 17 trips from their homeland in Amsterdam to visit cities and states all over the United States, Hans and Lydia Dejong had yet to mark off an important item on their bucket list: attend a rodeo. 

“We love reading about cowboy stories and rodeos,” Hans explained. “We looked to see if we could find a rodeo that matched up with our travel route and we found Wessington Springs.”

Being their first rodeo, Hans admits he didn’t quite know the logistics of attending an event like the Foothills Rodeo.

“We had no idea how it is organized so we called the number listed and asked to make reservations for the rodeo — they thought it was a prank,” laughed Hans, who ended up being directed to Wessington Springs resident and Foothills Rodeo Committee member Brian Bergeleen. “Brian understood what we meant so he gave us the details of when, where, how.” 

Lydia said that her favorite events were barrel racing and bull riding, but their rodeo-related fun didn’t end after the cowboys and cowgirls completed their events Saturday night. 

Staying at the campground during their time in Wessington Springs, the Dejongs met fellow campers Deb and Richard Ponto who showed them the ropes during and after the rodeo. Wessington Springs local Deb Patton was also part of the crew that showed the Dutch couple around, reporting after the rodeo that they were headed out for a night of dancing at the American Legion / Prairie Lounge.