The 10th Anniversary of the BIG Idea Competition was a BIG success with 243 entries involving 357 high school students from 37 schools! The BIG Idea Committee would like to congratulate this year’s winners who received over $5,000 in cash and scholarships.

Sitting: Reed Hartman, Milbank; Julia Neuharth, Eureka, (2nd Place), Christian Westhoff, McCook Central, (1st Place); Lexi Pinkert, Milbank; Morgan Selchert, Milbank. Standing (middle row): Kelly Weaver, BIG Idea Committee; Bess Seaman, Warner; Kaelin O’Leary, Lead-Deadwood; Angelica Jones, Lead-Deadwood; Lana Main, West Central Advisor; Meadow Smith, West Central, (Marketing Design Winner); Taylor Evans, Pierre T.F. Riggs, (3rd Place); Jasmine Gengerke, Groton; Conlan Rendell, Pierre T.F. Riggs High School, (Wellness Category Winner); Cheryl Ulmen, Pierre T.F. Riggs Advisor; Kila Legrand, Sanford Health; Andrew Miller, Presentation College. Standing (back row): Pam Lane, Warner Advisor; Michael Crawford, Lead-Deadwood; Matthew Campbell, Lead-Deadwood Advisor; Brady Carda, Sandford Health; Brooke Lingbeck, Groton Advisor; Karen Mettler, Eureka Advisor; Masey Pechholt, McCook Central Principal; Colt Brink, Pierre T.F. Riggs; Danielle Eliason, Warner; Jerry Janisch, Milbank Advisor; Dr. Tim Mantz, Northern State University.

First Place

Dakota Cubs
Dakota Cubs creates customized stuffed teddy bears.  Christian Westhoff of McCook Central High School

Second Place

Soap Opera Laundromat & Dry Cleaning
Soap Opera Laundromat & Dry Cleaning is, an opened-daily laundromat and dry cleaning service for the town of Eureka and surrounding communities.  Julia Neuharth of Eureka High School

Third Place

Hot Look 
Hot Look is an app that will give you a suggested outfit every morning based on the weather in your town/city. Taylor Evans of Pierre T.F. Riggs High School

Other Finalists

Antisocial-Easts is a restaurant that provides a relaxing environment for shy or independent people.
 Michael Crawford, Angelica Jones, Kaelin O’Leary of Lead-Deadwood High School

Hire a Ranch-Hand

Hire a Ranch-Hand is business to help farmers and ranchers with chores, field work and/or any other projects
Colt Brink of Pierre T.F. Riggs High School

Pribyl Pool

Pribyl Pool is an outdoor pool in the town of Milbank,SD.
Morgan Selchert, Lexi Pinkert, Reed Hartman of Milbank High School


Know-How, a community business, is a skills center designed to create an opportunity for people in our community to learn and improve his or her talents.
Danielle Eliason, Bess Seaman of Warner High School

Safe Haven Shelters

Safe Haven Shelters a nonprofit organization that takes people off the streets and clothes them, gives them food and water, and a warm, clean place to stay.
Jasmine Gengerke of Groton High School

Kharel’s Kolors

Kharel’s Kolors would be a relaxing coloring shop where customers can relieve stress through art.
Dhwani Kharel of Brookings High School

Download the 2017 Finalists and Honorable Mentions (PDF)

BIG Idea 2017 Competition Awards Presentation:

Winner of the Marketing Design competition, sponsored by McQuillen Creative Group, was:

First Place
Learning 101
Meadow Smith of West Central High School

Winner of the Wellness Category competition, sponsored by Sanford Health, was:

First place
Personal Plate
Conlan Rendell of Pierre T.F. Riggs High School

Personal Plate believes by eating foods customized for your body, everyone can live a healthier life. They make tailored meals unique to you. Personal Plate considers your genetic profile, minerals in your blood (or lack thereof), health issues (like diabetes), and your geographical relation to locally sourced food, to design customized meals for you to prepare at home.

Thank you to our 2017 Speakers!

Michael Grabham
Package Guard
Ellen Schlechter
The Calving Book
Heath Johnson
Dakota Plains Development, Inc.

Special Thanks

A Special Thanks to the teachers who encouraged their students’ participation.

Thanks to the committee members and community leaders who participated as judges, panelists and supporters.

The next competition will open again on September 1, 2018.