Habitat & Conservation  |  03/01/2024

National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2024: Day One Wrap Up


Upland extravaganza returns to Sioux Falls for the first time since 2018

By Casey Sill

We’re underway in Sioux Falls!

National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2024 opened at 11 this morning with the 14th annual bird dog parade. One of the largest bird dog parades in Pheasant Fest history, the kickoff featured over 120 dogs representing 40 different breeds. The pups trotted through the halls of the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, leading the way for a crowd of upland hunters, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts. 

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem officially opened the show floor with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, after announcing and signing a new bill that will bolster the state’s funding for habitat conservation. 

“Hunting and fishing is our way of life. We love the land, are stewards of the land and have spent a ton of time making sure the heritage we’ve had with our first hundred years is celebrated for another hundred years,” Noem said. “This bill will create a steady stream of revenue that will go directly into conservation and education efforts here in the state of South Dakota.”

Prior to the ribbon cutting or bird dog parade, Pheasant Fest 2024 was preempted by the first ever Concert for Conservation. The event featured Musky Chet and the Keepers and Trampled by Turtles, who played to a sold out crowd at Washington Pavilion on Thursday night.

When the doors opened at 12 noon, guests roamed the show floor taking in this year’s selection of over 300 of the nation’s top outdoor vendors. The first day of the seminar stage featured a wide variety of speakers, including a wild game Q&A with author and chef Hank Shaw and a live version of Pheasants Forever’s "Ask a Vet” series, presented by Purina and hosted by Dr. Seth Bynum and Dr. Ruth Ann Lobos. 

“I love to be in the outdoors, and have an acreage that's set up with both pheasant and waterfowl habitat, so we love to come here,” said Jim Lere of Brandon, South Dakota. "There's a lot going on and a lot of things that actually apply to our lives and our world. I don't hunt a lot any more, but I'm passionate about wildlife habitat and pollinator habitat. You put all that together and a lot of it is represented here." 

We’ll end the day today with our annual Upland Rally, where conservationists from across the country are set to raise thousands of dollars for Pheasants Forever’s habitat conservation mission. We’ll be back tomorrow with our first full day of the show floor and seminar schedule.  

Doors open bright and early 9 am.