Faces in the Crowd: Ron Jeffries

The 73rd Annual Central States Fair kicks off Friday. And while it takes a small village to pull the event off each year, one man is a driving force behind it all – Ron Jeffries. He grew up learning the value of hard work.

Jeffries says, “I grew up right across the street from the Fort Pierre fairgrounds, which is the home of Casey Tibbs …  I got to do absolutely everything available at the fairgrounds there … everyone comes into the fair business by way of some set of circumstances. Mine was working as an insurance agent in Rapid City, and we insured the fair. And over the course of time, coming in and sitting on meetings, they started to invite me to participate and help on different committees. And the next thing you knew, their manager left. They asked if I would be the manager, and we’ve just had a great relationship ever since. “

With a high turnover in the nonprofit world, Ron has broken persevered through and recently celebrated 20 years in the business. He attributes his milestone to the people who surround him: a great board of directors, staff, volunteers, and family and friends. It’s all about building relationships and supporting the community that has always supported the fair.

“We are a part of this community, providing services and facilities for several different nonprofits in the city of Rapid City in the Black Hills region.”

The fair often signifies the end of the summer season and beginning of the school year. It’s a special part of local families lives.

“So many people around here grew up in South Dakota. The fair was a part of their rural America type of experience. We continue to have that kind of opportunity for [parents] to share of their kids and grandkids. So that’s a really nice, warm feeling for being able to provide that kind of experience again for families – a stay-at-home type of vacation – and really create some memories with their kids.”

And for Ron, the fair has long held a nostalgic place in his heart with one memorable moment.

“My wife and I had our very first date at the Central States Fair, years before I was manager. We came down and rode the Ferris wheel at the fair and has since had a special place in my wife’s and I hearts.”

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Click here for more information on the Central States Fair.

Categories: Faces in the Crowd