Cowboys earn spot at national

Prairie Portrait Photo
These students earned a spot at the national high school rodeo finals in Lincoln, Neb., July 18-24. Pictured from left are Jesse Larson, 4th in high school trap shooting; Linkyn Petersek earned first in tie down roping, steer wrestling and boys all around; Riley Shippy was second in bull riding and Saydee Heath, first in breakaway roping.

Winner Regional Reaches Goal

Winner Regional Health announced today that more than 76 percent of all staff members have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The benchmark is part of a nationwide goal set by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge to vaccinate 75 percent of the approximately 1.5 million nursing home staff by June 30, 2021.

“We are proud to report that our facility has vaccinated 76 percent of our staff,” said Brandi Grage, Infection Control Nurse. “Our caregivers recognize that getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to protect themselves and our residents against this deadly virus. Since day one of the pandemic, they have worked day and night to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe and now we have hope that the end is near. We are seeing a drastic decline of positive COVID cases and deaths, which indicates that the vaccines are working.”

Long-term care staff were placed first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because of their essential role in fighting this pandemic. Vaccinating all long-term care staff will help protect them from getting sick and protect residents who are at risk for sever illness. Early protection of staff is critical to preserve a facility’s capacity to care for residents. In addition, staff can serve as role models in their communities. By getting vaccinated first, they can positively influence the vaccination decisions of coworkers, resident’s, friends and family.

Great Plains Quality Innovation Network has recognized Winner Regional Health as a COVID-19 Vaccination Ambassador. The Great Plains QIN was enlisted by CMS to help increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in North Dakota and South Dakota.

“Kudos to the team at Winner Regional Health for your efforts to ensure residents are protected by encouraging and promoting vaccination among your staff. It is critical for healthcare professionals to be confident in dispelling myths and addressing questions from residents and staff who may be hesitant to receive the vaccine,” stated Michelle Lauckner, DNP, RN, RAC-CT; North Dakota Great Plains QIN Nursing Home Lead.

“Each of us have been impacted by the pandemic; and through vaccination, we can prevent the spread to our friends, family and community. We applaud your efforts and are pleased to recognize Winner Regional Health for this accomplishment,” added Lori Hintz, RN, CDP, CADDCT; South Dakota Great Plains QIN Nursing Home Lead.

“While we remain optimistic, our work does not stop here. The virus is still a very real threat and we must continue to do all that we can to protect our seniors and frontline caregivers,” added Brandi Grage. “We will continue to encourage vaccinations, as well as follow all safety guidelines such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and conducting regular testing. With the help of our communities and the public health sector, we are confident we will come out on the other side of the pandemic.”

To learn more about Winner Regional Health, please visit

Governor Noem Launches Website for Medical Cannabis Program

PIERRE, S.D. –  Governor Kristi Noem, along with the South Dakota Department of Health and the South Dakota Department of Education, launched, a website to answer questions and provide information about the upcoming medical cannabis program set to take effect on July 1, 2021. “One of my jobs as governor is to make sure that the will of the people and all constitutional laws are enforced,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “I want South Dakota to have the best, most patient-focused medical cannabis program in the country. I’ve heard from people who are hurting and are hopeful for relief. My team is 100% committed to starting this program as quickly and as responsibly as possible for South Dakota.”

Medical cannabis will be legal on July 1, 2021, after the voters of South Dakota passed Initiated Measure 26 in November 2020. The medical cannabis program is on schedule. The Departments of Health and Education are creating and will operate the new regulatory program to ensure the safety of patients, students, and the public in this new industry.

 “We are working hard to streamline the process to get medical cards out to people,” continued Governor Noem. “Other states have made mistakes that we do not want to repeat, so we have been careful in our approach.“    In conjunction with the website, Governor Noem also launched a new public service announcement (PSA) to tell the people of South Dakota where they can find more information about the medical cannabis program.

Stanley S. Konop, 97

Stanley S. Konop was born July 12, 1923 to John and Mary (Preslicka) Konop at the home place north of Dixon, SD. He was the fifth child and first son of the family of thirteen. Stanley attended Washington country school through eighth grade.

After finishing school, Stanley did ranch and farm work for neighbors and family. He had a connection and deep love of animals that lasted his entire life. Stanley broke horses for many ranchers in the community. He competed in the rodeo for many years and was proud of his winnings.

Stanley was called to serve in WWII and often reminisced about his train trip to Fort Snelling for his Army physical. He didn’t pass his physical due to a heart condition from rheumatic fever, but it didn’t seem to slow him down for the next 80 years. Stanley returned home where he began his life as a farmer/rancher.

Stanley was active in his community. He traveled around threshing, combining, and putting up hay. He served many years as the cop at Hamill Hall and had many interesting stories to share about that. Stanley had the opportunity to attend school in New Prague, MN to learn the art of artificially inseminating cattle. He was very proud of this skill and built up a strong healthy herd. He also AI-ed cattle for ranchers around the area.

Stanley never married or had children of his own but he was a role model and father figure to many. If someone needed a place to stay his door was always open. He especially stepped up to be there for his sister Delores’ children, Mitzi, Rick, and Kip.

Stanley was a man of commitment to his entire family, his neighbors, and all his animals. He loved to tell stories and give advice. Stanley was very health conscious and had remedies for all your ailments. He maintained the home place for over 70 years until his health started to decline. Even then he remained independent until his body no longer allowed it and then he accepted the fact that he could no longer be alone on the farm.

Stanley passed away peacefully at the Avera Rosebud Country Care Center on Monday, June 14, 2021 at the age of 97 years and eleven months. Being interested in health and the human body and an unselfish person, Stanley donated his body to the University of South Dakota Medical Center.

Stanley was a true cowboy and his spirit will live on in our hearts forever.

He was preceded in death by his parents, seven sisters: Millie, Ollie, Helen, Sylvia, Lillian, Audrey, and Delores, three brothers: Arnold, Myron, and George.

Stanley is survived by two siblings: Darrel and Bonnie, and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends. In honoring Stanley’s wishes, there will not be a public funeral. There will be a private celebration of life at a later date.

Kenneth Joseph Kayl, 91

Memorial Services for Kenneth Kayl age 91 of Gregory, South Dakota, will be held on Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. at St Joseph Catholic Church, Gregory, SD. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. There will be a prayer service at 7 pm on Friday night at the church.

Kenneth Joseph Kayl was born June 27, 1929, to Frances Margaret (Kreber) and Charles Henry Kayl in Gregory, SD. He attended elementary school at the Saint Joseph Catholic School in Gregory and he attended Gregory High School.

He met Winifred Mavee Klinefelter, the love of his life, during eighth grade. He joined the US Army in 1948 and was stationed at Camp Lee in Virginia. He was discharged in June of 1950. He married Winifred on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 1950. He and Winifred had been married 15 days short of 70 years, before his death. By November of 1950, the Army had recalled him to active duty to serve in the Korean War. He often said the Army sent him to Korea for his honeymoon. While in Korea he was shot/wounded in the back. A bad back troubled him the rest of his life. Kenneth was a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Gregory American Legion, Winner Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). At the American Legion he served as Sergeant at Arms and as the Post Commander. He loved God, Family, and the USA. 

Kenneth and Winifred farmed south of Gregory and south of Lucas until they moved to the farm north of Gregory in 1959. They had eight children. He loved farming and ranching. He enjoyed planting row crops, corn, and milo in the spring, stacking and baling hay in the summer, and cutting silage in the fall. He worked to feed the livestock in the winter, but it was not his favorite time of the year. Especially during the winter, he enjoyed reading magazines and books. As a reward for himself, he loved to eat a bowl of ice cream and/or a bowl of popcorn almost every night. As an early winter task, it was not a chore because he loved doing it, he and Winifred would make a ton of peanut and coconut brittle to give as a gift for Christmas. He enjoyed deer hunting. He enjoyed having out of state pheasant hunters hunt and stay on the farm, this enabled him to learn more about those parts of the country. One of his more enjoyable CHORES was taking the family to go boating and water skiing on Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River. 

Kenneth Joseph Kayl, 91, of Gregory, SD, passed away Sept 25, 2020, at Fort Meade VA Hospital from complications from COVID-19.

Kenneth is survived by the love of his life, Winifred, his daughters, Kathy (Denny) Christensen of Spearfish SD, Chris (Karl) Christensen of Lincoln NE, and Rose (Mark) Malatesta of Herndon VA; four sons, Ken David (Re) of Black Hawk SD, Matt (Cindy) of San Lorenzo CA, Allan of Dallas SD, Pat (Melanie) of Gregory SD; many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren; sister-in-law, Jean Kayl; brother-in-law, Joe Putnam; lots of cousins, nieces, and nephews. We will miss him, but we know he has passed through the haze of Alzheimer’s into the beautiful and peaceful Heaven.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles (Charlie) and Frances; his son, Roy; his three sisters, Evelyn (Al) Albers, Maxine (Mandis) Meyers, and Mary Lou (Joe) Putnam; his one brother, Charles (Chuck) C. Kayl; his daughter-in-law, Judy Kayl; grandson, Cord Hahn; and great-grandson, Samuel James Pesek.

Vernon Kerner, 72

Funeral Services for Vernon Kerner age 72 of Gregory, South Dakota, were held on Friday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. at St John Lutheran Church, Gregory, SD. Burial followed in the IOOF Cemetery of Gregory. There was a prayer service at 7 pm on Thursday night at the church.

Vernon V. Kerner of Gregory, SD, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the age of 72 years.

Vernon was born March 19, 1949, to Oscar and Olena (Klundt) Kerner in Burke, South Dakota. He attended country school at Buffalo Creek and graduated from Gregory High School in 1967. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Grace Lutheran Church in Burke.

He entered the US Navy in May 1969 as a dental technician and did one tour in Vietnam.  In the middle of Vernon’s Navy career, he met his partner of 47 years, Charlotte DeVos. Vernon was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1973 and married Charlotte in Sheffield, Illinois on Feb. 15, 1974. In 1976 the couple moved back to Gregory, SD, to spend their married years.

Vernon worked the majority of his life at Country Pride until he retired in 2015. Even in retirement Vernon didn’t slow down and never seemed to realize what retirement was. He stayed busy helping local farmers and ranchers and most recently he enjoyed helping out at North Forty Ag.

Vernon and Charlotte were blessed with two children – Robin (1979) and Kelly (1984).  Robin joined the Army through ROTC and Kelly went into ranching. Vernon was extremely proud of both of his children’s professions. The military and ranching lifestyle were two of Vernon’s passions. He loved going to visit Robin at her various duty stations and most recently attended Robin’s promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in May. He enjoyed going up to Kelly’s place to help out with the cattle and did this often. Both Robin and Kelly went on to have children and for Vernon, his grandchildren were a great source of pride. His four grandsons kept him active and he enjoyed taking them fishing and hunting. He would drive four hours to watch his grandsons play football and basketball. He also had fun playing board games where his grandkids would make up their own rules.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Joseph and James Kerner; his parents; his nephew Joshua Shaw, his niece Cheyenne Cernetisch; his brothers-in-law Earl Cernetisch, Terry DeVos, and David Gillespie, and his sisters-in-law Julie DeVos and Patsy Kerner.

He is survived by his wife Charlotte; their two children Robin Cushing (Richard Cushing) and Kelly Kerner (Kim); his grandsons Tyler Kerner, Riley Kerner, Levi Cushing, and Hunter Cushing; his five brothers and sisters: Don (Edith) Kerner, Eugene (Joan) Kerner, Verna Cernetisch (his twin sister), Curtis (Kari) Kerner, and Janice (Gary) Travnicek; and his beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters- and brothers-in-law, as well as many longtime friends.

Vernon was an active member in the St. John Lutheran Church. In addition to his family, Vernon loved spending time with friends during morning coffee. Vernon was known around Gregory for telling great jokes and his storytelling was legendary. One of his favorite jokes was since he was a twin, he was born first to show Verna the way. Vernon was always on the go and after he retired he enjoyed buying some toys like his RV, Kawasaki side-by-side, and his new F150. One of his favorite companions was his dog Duke and it was common to see Vernon and Duke in the side-by-side cruising around town. Vernon didn’t like to just sit and relax, so if you caught him sitting it was either in church, at the dinner table, or in his recliner sleeping. Vernon enjoyed life and lived his life to the fullest.

A favorite quote was “We ride and never worry ’bout the fall, I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all.”  Vernon will be greatly missed.

Warren “Buck” Sealey, 92

Warren “Buck” Sealey, 92, of Colome, SD passed away on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the Avera Rosebud Country Care Center in Gregory, SD. 

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, June 21, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Isidore Catholic Church in Colome, SD.  Burial  followed in the Colome City Cemetery. 

Warren “Buck” Ellsworth Sealey of Colome, SD was born on a farm in Pleasant View Township on May 21, 1929 to Maurice and Leona (DeMers) Sealey. He passed away on June 16, 2021 in Gregory, SD at the Avera Rosebud Country Care Center.

Buck was the youngest of 4 children which included brother Don and sisters Frances and Ruth. After graduating from Colome High School in 1947, he enlisted in the Air Force where he attended Radio Operator School in St. Louis, Missouri. He was then sent to Okinawa and Guam. He originally planned to return to the United States after completing three years in the Air Force, but his tour of duty was extended two more years when the North Koreans invaded South Korea. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1952.

Buck returned to South Dakota and began to raise cattle.     On July 6, 1954 Buck was united in marriage to Donna Eggers. To this union three sons were born: Glenn, Jerry, and Michael. The couple resided on a farm south of Colome until they moved into town in 1978.

Buck was elected and served as a Tripp County Commissioner from 1969 to 1978.

Buck became a full-time rural mail carrier in 1980. In 1994 he received the National Rural Letter Carriers Association’s Outstanding Carrier of the year award. In 1995 he received the South Dakota’s Rural Carrier of the year award. Buck retired from the Postal Service in 1998.Buck was a member of Thayer Waters Legion Post 146 in Colome serving for many years as Firing Squad Commander. He was also a past Commander of the post.  In later years, he served as District 8 Commander and State Vice Commander.

Buck’s granddaughter, Stephanie, encouraged him to participate in the Midwest Honor Flight to Washington, DC in May of 2018. He was accompanied by his son, Glenn. Buck was especially moved by the welcome home he and his fellow veterans received from their families.

Buck was a lifelong member of St. Isidore Catholic Church in Colome, SD.

He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, and son, Michael.

Buck is survived by his wife, Donna of 66 years, and sons, Glenn (Cindy) and Jerry (Lori).  He is also survived by 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Buck believed strongly in faith, family, and country.

Golfers place third at state

Submitted Photo
Winner Area girls golf team took third place at the state tournament in
Spearfish. Pictured from left are coach Jim Halverson, Gracie Root, Kelbi
Meiners, Brennan Bachmann, Devan Dougherty, Rylee Root and assistant coach Liz

Winner Area girls golf team took third place in the State A meet in Spearfish June 7-8.

This is only the third time in school history that a girls golf team has placed at state.

Rylee Root placed 11th with a 90-87—177; Gracie Root, 19th, 97-94—191; Brennan Bachmann, 23rd, 101-93—194; Kelbi Meiners, tied for 36th, 105-97; Devan Dougherty, tied for 46th with a 105-110-215.

Three of the girls placed in the top 25—Rylee Root,  Gracie Root and Brennan Bachmann.

“Our players gave their best effort,” said coach Jim Halverson.

Both days were warm with just enough wind to keep everyone somewhat comfortable.

Halverson said what makes him proud as a coach is the compliments from other coaches, parents and spectators. He said there were other golfers who wanted to have a Winner player in their group for a friendly face.

Halverson said the Lady Warriors knowledge of the rules made their decisions on the course better for everybody in their groups. “Their ability to play golf the way it is supposed to be played makes it even sweeter,” said the coach.

Halverson appreciates everyone in the community for their words of encouragement and support. “The Winner Area girls golf team will continue to get better with community support and their efforts,” explained Halverson.