Capitol Grounds
Fighting Stallions Memorial


Fighting Stallions Memorial was constructed by the people of South Dakota as a lasting memorial to eight South Dakotans who perished in an airplane crash on April 19, 1993. The state plane, N86SD, crashed due to propeller assembly failure in poor weather on a farm near Dubuque, Iowa.

Sound Clip of Governor Walter D. Miller's Speech at the dedication of this memorial. Sound clip of Governor Walter D. Miller's speech at the dedication of this memorial. (1.01 mb, 55 sec.).


A view the stallions from a farther distance

Four state employees, the Governor, and three Sioux Falls corporate leaders were on an economic development mission to save the largest agricultural processing employer in South Dakota. The memorial contains tributes to each as follows:

Former Governor George S. Mickelson

South Dakota was just a century old when
a new leader emerged.
Eyes sparkling with vision, he embraced life.
His smile created instant friendships,
his devotion to family inspired.
With limitless energy and genuine compassion,
he challenged us to realize bigger dreams.

    George Mickelson made a difference.



Ron R. Becker
Program Manager / Chief Pilot
South Dakota Aviation Services

Ron was happiest in serving,
always helping people by doing
whatever needed to be done.
He was a cheerful and gentle man
whose love for his family inspired others.
He was a meticulous professional who loved flying
and making good things happen.


Roland Dolly Commissioner
Governor's Office of Economic Development

With half his journey of life complete
His honor, duty, and sage thoughtful tongue
Neither man nor muse can scarce repeat
This glorious legacy of short life well done


David Hansen
State Pilot of South Dakota

His love for God, family and country and the thrill of flight created his quiet professionalism and inspiring humility. All who knew Dave saw an aura of bravery, respect, and honesty. In his eyes, there was always a smile for everyone, and a wink for those he loved.

"You have not lived until you've almost died. For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know."


Ron Reed Commissioner
Governor's Office of Energy Policy

Ron was the true character of South Dakota -- loving husband, devoted father and always the lively, upbeat leader who was enthusiastically dedicated to public service and ever true to his friends. A driving force behind economic development and energy efficiency, he gave his time, talents, and eventually his life to improve lives of others.


Angus Anson General Manager & Chief Executive
Northern States Power - South Dakota

His values were as conservative as the South Dakota prairies that he loved. A quiet confidence and genuine concern for others earned him their respect. May the faith in God and the solace of the open prairie sustain his vision of a better South Dakota.

David S. Birkeland President & CEO
First Bank of South Dakota

His smile invited conversation, his manner put strangers at ease, his style engendered trust and his humor broke down barriers. Dave was always there for others -- his family, his church, his community, his college, his employees, his business. He was a servant leader whose example was an expression of his spirit. ...a man for all seasons.


Roger Hainje President
Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Roger's integrity and intelligence opened closed doors. His quick sense of humor entertained and inspired. His persevering efforts created immeasurable prosperity for so many. His efforts inspired the work that made Sioux Falls #1 in America. He was as refreshing and straight-forward as the great South Dakota outdoors he loved.


"Fighting Stallions" is enlarged in bronze from the 1935 mahogany carving by South Dakota sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. The sculpture was selected because it symbolically represents South Dakota's struggle to overcome adversity, desire for achievement and courage to believe in the future. It is a tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Fighting Stallions memorial was authorized and funded by the special session of the 68th session of the South Dakota legislature. In addition, hundreds of South Dakotans volunteered labor, materials, and monetary contributions to the completion of this project.

Next Stop: Flaming Fountain Memorial




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