Pierre adds three more to its Trail of Governors

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — In a ceremony Friday in the state Capitol rotunda, family members joined sculptors in unveiling three more statues in Pierre’s growing Trail of Governors.

The latest are Samuel Elrod, Archie Gubbrud and Dennis Daugaard.

James Van Nuys said he focused on Elrod’s life as a lawyer. Elrod served one two-year term from January 1905 to January 1907. 

Lee Leuning said he and Sherri Treeby chose Gubbrud’s cooperation in placing Minuteman missiles across western South Dakota. Gubbrud served a pair of two-year terms spanning January 1961 to January 1965.

Michael Maher decided he couldn’t leave out the “love-you” message from American Sign Language for Daugaard, whose parents were deaf.

Daugaard finished his second four-year term in January. His voice wavered as he said there should have been “an army” of statues recognizing all the people who helped him and his wife, Linda.

Governor Kristi Noem delivered the main address. During Elrod’s time in office, AM radio broadcasting was coming onto the scene — “Certainly nothing like the 24/7 news cycle we have today — and while Gubbrud was governor the computer mouse was developed. She said Daugaard took office as Snapchat and Instagram began,” Noem said.

“So regardless of how much or how little technology existed during their time leading our state, they knew they had a job to do. Nothing was beneath them, people counted on them to show up, to respond, to make decisions, to take care of the people of South Dakota,” Noem said.

The life-sized bronze statues are spread throughout the Capitol grounds and Pierre’s central business district. 25 have been completed, with another six past governors to go. Scheduled for next year are Charles Sheldon, Coe Crawford and Carl Gunderson.

Trail of Governors co-founder Rick Jensen said the statues cost $72,000 apiece. The money for each was raised through donations to the not-for-profit organization and the South Dakota Community Foundation.

The group wants to continue in the years ahead for future governors. Trail of Governors donates the statues to the city of Pierre. This was the eighth consecutive year an unveiling ceremony was held.

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