The annual Showdown Series competition between South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota is spilling over from the athletic field to the grocery store.
Jackrabbit and Coyote fans will compete Sunday, Nov. 10 through Saturday, Nov. 16, to see which side will deposit the most pounds of food in barrels at seven Hy-Vee grocery stores in Sioux Falls as well as Hy-Vee stores in Brookings and Vermillion. All food that’s collected will be donated to Feeding South Dakota.
The food drive will conclude when the SDSU and USD football teams square off Nov. 16 in the DakotaDome at Vermillion. The winner of that game will earn two points in the yearlong Showdown Series athletics and academic competition between the state’s two NCAA Division I universities.
The food drive is a partnership involving Learfield Sports’ Coyote Sports Properties and Jackrabbit Sports Properties; Hy-Vee, Feeding South Dakota and South Dakota Corn, which sponsors the Showdown Series.
“It’s a friendly competition, it’s going to be a lot of fun and it will fill barrels with food that will be a great help to those in need,” said Jeff Rink, marketing coordinator for Sioux Falls Hy-Vee stores. “Hy-Vee is proud to be a part of it.”
Matt Gassen, Feeding South Dakota’s executive director, said his organization is always in need of food and this is a particularly important time to stock up as we enter the holiday season.
“These donations will go a long way in helping us provide food to mothers, fathers and children throughout all of South Dakota,” Gassen said. “Food drives like this really do make a difference and we’re thankful to have partners who are committed to meeting our needs.”
A recent study commissioned by Feeding America found that 103,180 people in South Dakota – including 36,110 children – don’t always know where they will find their next meal.
The two universities’ directors of athletics, David Herbster of USD and Justin Sell of SDSU, said everyone comes out a winner in this partnership.
“The great thing about this challenge is it collects food for those in need and at the same time provides an opportunity for fans and students to show their school spirit and get involved in the friendly competition between the universities,” Herbster said.
“There’s a great deal of pride surrounding this historic rivalry, but there is no better way to express that than by the act of giving to those in need,” Sell said.
Feeding South Dakota has been an important partner in the Showdown Series since the challenge was launched a year ago. Brian Smith, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, said his organization is partnering with Feeding South Dakota because it is able to reach homes in every corner of the state and make a difference in people’s lives.
“This is just one small way that you can give back to those people in your community who are in need,” Smith said.
Food will be distributed locally through food banks and pantries. Items that are collected in Brookings and Vermillion will be given out through food pantries operated by local churches.
To track the Showdown Series standings, visit sdcornshowdown.com/