Like a lot of Americans, ranchers Bob and Nancy Montross of DeSmet, SD, spent the evening of Jan. 9 glued to the television set. But, unlike most, the national football championship game between Louisiana State University and Alabama wasn’t the highlight of the night. It was the iconic television game show “Wheel Of Fortune,” with a weekly viewership of 26 million.

See a photo gallery of the event here.

The duo was among a few dozen South Dakota beef industry folks gathered at BraVo’s Restaurant in Brookings that night. They dined on beef snacks and sipped red wine while transfixed on the restaurant’s 11, 40-in. television screens waiting for host Pat Sajak to hail $1,000 in South Dakota Beef Bucks as the special on the night’s prize wheel.

In fact, South Dakota Beef Bucks made a prize appearance on three episodes that week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. By the end of the week, two contestants had won $1,000 each in reloadable VISA debit cards redeemable for beef purchases at retailers and restaurants across the country.

The Beef Bucks appearance on the wheel was the culmination of more than five years of tireless campaigning by Bob Montross. And anyone who knows the indefatigable pitchman for South Dakota Beef Bucks isn’t surprised that he was finally successful.

“I think the folks in California finally got tired of hearing from me and decided to give in,” Bob quips. “But, whatever the reason, it was just exciting to see that big Beef Bucks logo on the wheel that night.”

It’s the latest promotional success for the Montross couple and other South Dakotans who have helped push millions of dollars in beef purchases through the program since 1997. South Dakota Beef Bucks is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer board. Funds raised via an annual golf tournament and sales of Beef Bucks are used for scholarships, educational projects such as Ag in the Classroom, and beef industry events. Learn more about the program at www.beefbucks.org.

Back in 2006, BEEF magazine named Bob and Nancy as recipients of our Trailblazer Award. At that time, the Wheel of Fortune appearance was one of a trio of hopes Bob listed. Two others were:

  • To convince the U.S. Postal Service to publish a beef stamp. “If they can put Elvis on a stamp, why not beef?”
  • Get a beef message on the Goodyear Blimp at some big sporting event.

Don’t count him out on either, yet.