Ron Wood graduated from Rapid City High School before
it had a tennis team. After a three-year stint with the
Mitchell Daily Republic during his college years at
Dakota Wesleyan, Ron returned West to write for the
Rapid City Daily Journalís sports department.
When he and a small cadre of friends "took up" tennis
in the early 1960ís, Rapid had four usable courtsóone
that was considered adequate with only one
volleyball-sized hole! It was during those days when
facilities were raw, equipment scarce, and players few
that Ron dubbed the area a "tennis desert."
Almost coincidentally, some youngsters got interested
and a high school team was started. Ron covered
everything they did, and that early exposure was
certainly part of the impetus of growing the game in a
"I think his publicity was a major factor in getting
some pretty fair tennis players started in Rapid City,"
says Steve Waltman, now a local physician and one of
those pretty fair players.
With increased community awareness came a thirst for
more participation, activities and better facilities,
and a working organization grew. Ron took part in every
type of local competition. It wasnít unusual for him to
play an event and cover it on his own time with stories
He lent support for obtaining a new complex and
served in the Black Hills Tennis Association. During his
term as president, the Black Hills Open was established
and remains a favorite tournament.
Ronís journalistic accomplishments are well
chronicled. He has been named South Dakota Sportswriter
of the Year four times. He received the South Dakota
High School Activities Associationís Distinguished
Service Award and is a member of the Rapid City Sports
Hall of Fame. His 40 years with one sports department is
the longest such tenure in state history.
But it is for his efforts to high-profile "our sport"
that we recognize him with the 2000 South Dakota
Is Rapid City a tennis mecca today? No. But with Ron
Woodís journalistic sustaining "showers," it has
blossomed into an oasis.