The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Duane Rykhus - Inducted 2017

The 1953 Brookings High and 1957 South Dakota State grad was a fine all-around athlete but it was in the pole vault where he really stood out.

He was a three-time state pole vault champion in high school. He used a bamboo pole for the first state title, then went to a metal pole for his final two seasons. In 1952 "Hoppy" set a state record of 12-1.5 at the Aberdeen Relays, then upped it to 12-2 in winning the ESD meet for the third time. He also set meet records at the Corn Palace Relays, the region meet and the state meet.

Rykhus also played on the 1952 state champion basketball team and was an all-state end on the 1952 undefeated and mythical state champion football team.

At SDSU he was an All-American in the pole vault and was beaten only twice in his college career. He was North Central Conference pole vault champ in 1955 and ’56 (freshmen could not compete on varsity and there was no NCC meet in 1957). In 1956, he set an SDSU record of 13 feet using a metal pole and landing in a sawdust pit. That year he placed sixth at the NAIA national meet.

Rykhus competed in age group national meets in his 60s (six times national champ and six times runner-up at USATF indoor and outdoor meets, Nike World Masters Games and Senior Games).

He is a member of the Brookings High and South Dakota Senior Games halls of fame.

He taught and coached track at Balaton, Minn., and Brookings. He quit teaching in 1975 and turned his summer roofing business into a full-time occupation.

« Back to Athletes