Saturday, December 13, 2008

Congratulations, JT!

Congratulations are in order – again – for our good friend Jim Thompson, who received recognition this week (12/11/08) at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Jim was tapped for the John Justin Standard of the West Committeeman of the Year award, recognizing his volunteer service over the years to the Deke Latham Rodeo in Kaycee, Wyoming.

Jim is a highly-talented broadcaster, whose skills transcend the rodeo arena public address system. Selected three times by his peers as South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year, Jim has also won accolades as a member of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the Black Hills Stock Show Hall of Fame.

Jim and I met some three years ago, after a mutual friend – Dean Sorenson – hooked us up. Karen and I had retired to Spearfish in 2004. Over breakfast, Jim and I discovered some things we had in common – we’d both worked for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service while in the service, and we also worked for the same boss, Bob Thomas, in Nebraska. Now retired and living in Arizona, “BT” was the long-time General Manager of the “Beef Empire Stations” across Nebraska and Colorado. Jim worked for KVSH in Valentine, Nebraska, and I was on the staff at KCSR in Chadron.

Our love of broadcasting and journalism – as well as a shared interest in things “Dakota” – often brings Jim and I together at weekly coffee sessions in Spearfish with other like-minded folks. Retired newspaper publisher Curt Moberg from Sundance, Wyoming, retired Iowa State journalism prof Bill Kunerth from Belle Fourche, and writer Lorraine Collins of Spearfish, among others, often congregate to discuss the media and current events.

Occasionally, Jim asks me to substitute for him on his weekday regional radio program Live with Jim Thompson. Despite rusty pipes and a propensity for pushing the wrong buttons on the control board, I enjoy these opportunities, and I’m pleased that Jim asks me to do it.

It also gives me an opportunity to see the “working side” of Jim Thompson. He’s every bit as affable off the air as he is in front of a live microphone. His two terms in the South Dakota legislature helped nurture Jim’s political acumen, and he doesn’t suffer fools lightly. But I also find him courteous to a fault.

Like his awards, Jim’s interests are many and varied. We're delighted to see that he's added another well deserved recognition to his achievements. Congratulations, JT!

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