South Dakota Department of Tourism - www.SDVisit.com
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Tourism Awards

Each year at the annual South Dakota Governor's Conference on Tourism, awards are presented to outstanding members or organizations that have contributed to the state's visitor industry.

  • The Ben Black Elk Award is presented to an individual or individuals whose enduring devotion dramatically affects South Dakota's visitor industry. The 2018 award was presented to Craig Pugsley (Custer).

    Read more about the Ben Black Elk Award and see the display at the Department of Tourism.
  • The A.H. Pankow Award honors a member of the print or broadcast media or public relations industry who has shown superior interest in and coverage of the South Dakota visitor industry. The recipient of the 2018 award was Midwest Living Magazine/the Meredith Corporation.
  • The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award honors a business or organization that promotes hospitality and strives to keep it a leading tourism marketing tool. The three awards for 2017 were presented to the The Lodge at Deadwood (Deadwood), Rush Mountain Adventure Park (Keystone), and Crazy Horse Memorial (Crazy Horse).
  • The Excellence in Tourism Innovation Award honors an industry partner for its innovative thinking in marketing or special promotion. This award is presented by the Department of Tourism on a case-by-case basis. The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (Sioux Falls) was named the winner for 2017.
  • The Ruth Ziolkowski Outstanding Hospitality & Customer Service Award recognizes a member or members of the tourism industry who has demonstrated remarkable service to every visitor he or she encounters. The inaugural awards were presented to Pouran Borchardt (Brookings), Rita Franz (Rapid City) and Dennis Scott (Mitchell).