Public Asked to Help Suggest Names for Turkeys

PIERRE, S.D. – For the first time ever, the President of the United States will pardon two turkeys that were raised in South Dakota, and the public has a chance to name them.

This year, the two lucky birds were raised by a turkey farmer near Huron, South Dakota. Before the “presidential flock” makes their way to Washington, D.C. for the pardoning ceremony, they will be sent off with a tour of their hometown and local school visits on Wednesday, November 14.

“We are excited and honored that these South Dakota birds will be on a national stage leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. While the first official National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House was with President Truman, historical records show that President Lincoln once spared a turkey, and with his face carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial, it seems fitting to have South Dakota provide the National Turkey this year,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “Now, we are asking for the public’s help in suggesting names for the turkeys.”

Until November 11, South Dakotans and people across the country will have an opportunity to help provide a pair of names for this year’s turkeys on the South Dakota Department of Tourism’s website and social media channels. The top pairs of names will be sent on to the White House for final consideration and selection. Last year, President Trump pardoned Drumstick and Wishbone and, in 2016, President Obama saved Tater and Tot. After the pardoning, the turkeys head to “Gobbler’s Rest” at Virginia Tech to live out the rest of their days in comfort. 

Names for the turkeys can be submitted on this page:

The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James Hagen.


Media Notes:

The tour through Huron begins on November 14 at 10:00 a.m. CST at the Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau located at 1725 Dakota Ave S., Huron, SD. Speeches will be delivered by Laurie Shelton, President of the Huron Chamber, and Jeff Sveen, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Dakota Provisions and the National Turkey Federation. The media and the public are invited to attend and will have the opportunity to view the turkeys.


Katlyn Richter, Global Media & Public Relations Director
South Dakota Department of Tourism
Phone: 605-773-3301
Email: [email protected]