Hartford cookout stand benefits West Central High School baseball

Local News

HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) – A cookout stand in Hartford is serving up food for a good cause. Something organizers have been doing for two decades.

Not only is this week busy for western South Dakota as bikers head west for the rally, but it’s also a busy time for Bob Needles and his wife Melissa.

During the rally, they set up this cookout stand just off the interstate at the Hartford exit.

“When we first started out we did hot dogs and hamburgers and then we worked into now we are doing pork loin, sweet corn, brats, big dogs,” runs cookout stand/former baseball coach, Bob Needles.

For the last 21 years, this stand has been a fundraiser for West Central high school baseball. Bob is the former baseball coach.

“It’s our main money maker and the reason we try to do it is because we don’t want our kids to have to pay to play baseball and that’s just how we’ve been doing it,” Bob Needles said.

Each year they not only welcome locals, but also bikers making their way to Sturgis.

“We had one group from Iowa that comes, this is their 19th year of stopping, we had a group from Ohio that comes and they are on their 16th year, they stop every year and we chat and got to know them and just look for them, in fact one was a day late this year and I said I hope something didn’t happen to them and then they came on Sunday,” Bob Needles said.

“Some of the guys we look for every year, this year we were a little nervous with COVID that some of the older guys wouldn’t show up, and they’ve made it,” Bob’s wife, Melissa Needles said.

Needles opened the stand on Thursday and will keep it open through the duration of the rally.

“The community is really a great support to the baseball team and to what we do here and we couldn’t ask for a better place to live,” Melissa Needles said.

Bob says players do help out in the stand, as well as his family. They’re located behind the gas station, off the Hartford exit.

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