It doesn't matter which side of the state you're living in. It doesn't matter if it's 'up north' or 'down south'. West River. East River. I found out it doesn't matter.

South Dakota is absolutely filled with great towns, both big and small!

In my over four decades in the state (my oh my, where does the time go??) I've lived in all parts. Now, which are the best of the best? Well, here's my top six, the six I've lived in, in no particular order because they're all the best.

1) Winner. This is the place that pretty much introduced me to the Mt. Rushmore State. Moving over from the Gopher State, I found some of the friendliest and welcoming people I've ever met in Winner (not to mention the guy that gave me my first full-time South Dakota job!). It was three and a half great years in a young guy's life, and a wonderful way to get to know the Sunshine State. And as you probably know, the hunting is fantastic!

2) Aberdeen. Cold they said, Aberdeen is cold! Well, OK..but so is the whole state at a certain time of the year! And you know what makes up for that? The people. I made life-long friends in Aberdeen, people I still keep in touch with, even though my Hub City years were...well, years ago. While the winter air may be chilly, those great memories of Aberdeen sure do bend warm.

3) Volga. A small town. Ahhh...now this reminds me of home. And it's true, in a great small town, before long everyone knows your name and becomes a special kind of close. I helped put a new station on the air, the studios right downtown, which (in a small town) is always within walking distance...and not far from a great cafe with good food and conversation!

4) Brookings. I'm not sure if Volga is a bedroom community to Brookings or if Brookings is a bedroom community to Volga! A great college town for sure, but so much more. I lived in Brookings for about 3 years, did play-by-play for SDSU as well as high schools. To say i was treated with kindness would be an understatement. If you're looking for to move to a town that has everything you want and still keeps a 'small town' feel, this is the place!

5) Rapid City. I think I heard the phrase 'Go West Young Man'...so I did. Now, perhaps not a big city in the true sense of the word, but a big city to me nonetheless (when you grew up on an 80 acre farm a mile from a town of 300 or so, this was big!). But it was beautiful and a whole lot more than a tourist town. Co-workers were friends and strangers weren't strangers for long. And a short drive to Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Custer, Crazy Horse and...well, a whole lot more.

6) Sioux Falls. The best of all? Well, I loved 'em all and this is the one I've lived the longest. I'm not sure what more I could want (OK, if the kids and grandkids moved a wee bit closer) except the older I get, the colder the winters are. But as my dear old pa used to say 'The cold keeps the riff raff out'. So I'll turn the heat up once in a while in the winter, turn the AC on once in a while in the summer and hope that Sioux Falls wants me to stay a good while longer!

And if not? Well, I'm bettin' a dollar to a doughnut there's a 7th fantastic town in our great state. Maybe yours?

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