SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Teri Schmidt has a goal when it comes to the 2021 Pheasant Festival and Quail Classic event.
Schmidt, the executive director of the Sioux Falls Visitors and Convention Bureau, wants to beat the record crowd of 32,467 set in Minneapolis this year.
Sioux Falls has prior experience with the annual convention sponsored by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. The city was the host site in 2018 when it drew a crowd of 28,868 attendees to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls over three days, according to Pheasants Forever.
The competitive side of Schmidt wants to beat the record set in Minneapolis but she’s also realistic. Minneapolis is a much larger city and draws from a larger population area. Also, data from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department shows that the number of hunters from South Dakota is declining.
“We have to be very cognizant of that change,” Schmidt said of hunter numbers.
According to the GFP, the state had 53,577 resident hunters in 2018 down from 69,949 in 2009.
Schmidt said while her goal is to break the record there are other very important considerations with the 2021 convention.
The 2019 event had a direct economic impact of $3.9 million in Sioux Falls, Schmidt said.
That direct impact of $3.9 million gets spread around town, Schmidt said. Various economic formulas have the rollover factor of $1 in direct impact rolling over three to seven times. That means when someone direct benefits, then employees benefit through paychecks and in turn, those employees buy groceries, go out to eat and spend money that continues to get rolled over or turned over, throughout the city.
And if Sioux Falls does another good job with this event that can help it draw more conventions and events, Schmidt said.
“We still hear it today,” Schmidt said of compliments about the 2018 Pheasant Festival and Quail Classic.
Jared Wiklund, the public relations director for Pheasants Forever, said Sioux Falls was chosen as the event host site for several reasons. One reason was the success of the 2018 event which drew at that time the second largest crowd since the event started in 2003. The organization also has significant support in the Sioux Falls area, Wiklund said.
The Pheasants Forever chapter is strong and so is the number of hunters in the region, Wiklund said.
Attendees and vendors will share a good experience in Sioux Falls with others and that can turn into more visits to Sioux Falls, she said. When an organization has a good experience in Sioux Falls, it will tell other organizations, she said.
All of that positive talk can lead to more conventions and events, Schmidt said.
It’s not just the Sioux Falls CVB who is responsible for making sure visitors have a good experience in the city, Schmidt said.
Every business and resident can make those visitors feel welcome, she said.
That’s where Sioux Falls has a distinct advantage, Schmidt said. Although Sioux Falls is a growing city it still retains the friendliness and hospitality of a smaller city, Schmidt said.