Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame announces 2022 inductee class

HOT SPRINGS – Two athletes, one contributor and one unbeaten football team were recently voted into the 2022 Hot Springs High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

Selected to the Hall of Fame were athletes Cameron Weiss and Joe Beehler, along with longtime contributor Joyce Farrell. Also selected was the 1963 Bison football team.

The three individuals and the football team will be inducted to the annual Hot Springs High School Athletics Hall of Fame Sept. 17 at the American Legion club.

Beehler was an outstanding all-around athlete, lettering 19 times in his career. He competed in football, basketball, track, soccer and baseball, graduating in 2004.

Beehler was a three-time all-state and three-time All-Black Hills Conference performer in football for the Bison and was named to the Elite 45 (top 45 athletes in the state regardless of class). He was also named to the South Dakota All-Star Football Game team and held eight school records at the end of his senior year—most rushing yards in a career (3,447), most rushing yards in a season (1,955), most all-purpose yards in a season (2,501), most points scored in a season (182), most touchdowns in a season (30), longest kick-off return (99 yards), longest punt return (85 yards) and most return yards in a season (520). He also played for three seasons at Black Hills State University.

In basketball, Beehler was a four-time letterwinner, a three-time All-BHC performer and was selected to an All-State Basketball Game.

In track and field, Beehler was a six-time state qualifier and state medalist for four years. He was the state runner-up in the long jump and held two school records in the 100-meters (10.71) and 200-meters (21.76).

In baseball he was an all-regional and all-state performer for two seasons and a letter-winner for three seasons.

He also lettered in soccer for two years and academically was named to the National Honor Society; and Academic All-State.

Weiss is the school’s first-ever, two-time State Class A wrestling champion (2005, 2006). He is the only Bison wrestler to finish with an undefeated season record (43-0 in 2005) and earned an 82-1 record over his junior and senior seasons, with his only loss coming when he bumped up to 150 pounds in a dual. He was undefeated at 145 pounds (82-0) for his final two years. He finished with a 188-27 varsity record (7th grade - 12-7; 8th grade 27-12; 9th grade 34-3; 10th grade 33-4; 11th grade 43-0; 12th grade 39-1.).

A four-time state placewinner, Weiss placed fourth his freshman and sophomore seasons and placed first his junior and senior seasons. He was a 2006 USA Wrestling/Cliff Keen Athletic High School All-American Honorable Mention.

In football, Weiss holds the school record for career rushing yards with 3,590 (2003-2005) and he was one touchdown shy of school record for most touchdowns in a season (29 in 2004). He, along with Beehler, were both members of the 2003 Bison football team which is the only team to play for a state championship in the Dakota Dome. He was a multiple all-state and all-conference performer in football.

Farrell, a 1968 HSHS graduate, earned her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Colorado, and after returning to Hot Springs, began an outstanding contributing career with Bison athletics that continues today nearly 45 years later.

In the fall of 1978, the Hot Springs girls’ basketball coach asked Farrell if she wanted to keep the scorebook. There she began her career as a scorekeeper, clock operator, announcer and whatever needed to be done for the high school and middle school athletic programs. Before long, boys’ basketball, football, wrestling, soccer, gymnastics, cross country and track and field were added to her list. She travelled on the team buses with the basketball teams for 35 years and with the volleyball teams for over 20 years.

Assisting with school activities is one of her most enjoyable community opportunities. Farrell was received the Jerry P. Miller Distinguished Service Award by the South Dakota High School Coaches Association in 2020-2021. She is also involved in many others, including the Chamber of Commerce, Bison Boosters and St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. She also spent over 30 years voluntarily developing and supervising the Summer Recreation program which produced generations of athletes

The 1963 Bison football team, under head coach Don Mathis, was picked second from last in the preseason Black Hills Conference Coaches poll, but shocked them all by going unbeaten and winning the BHC title.

The Bison earned wins over Provo, 7-6; Deadwood, 32-0, Custer 26-0; Spearfish, 13-6; Belle Fourche 12-7; Lead, 14-6; Douglas, 31-0 and Sturgis, 20-6. Hot Springs outscored their opponents in the eight wins, 155-31.

The Bison had 10 players who were named All-Black Hills Conference – Jim Kocer, Ray Kennedy, Steve Colgan, Phil Hiller, George Niemann, Bill Wolvington, Lin Seder, Don Tillotson, Calvin Hill and Sam Zimiga. Four Bison – Kocer, Colgan, Kennedy and Seder – were named to the All-State team.

Mathis told the Rapid City Journal at the end of the season: “These kids made up their minds that we would play good ball this fall and win. The kids did just that. They are a real fine group of boys. I don’t think we played a poor game all year, except perhaps the first game.”

The Hall of Fame Banquet will begin Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. with the social hour, 6 p.m. with the meal and 7 p.m. with the program. Custer Hall of Fame boys’ basketball coach Larry Luitjens will be the keynote speaker. He will also have a book signing at 5 p.m. for his book is titled “Larry Luitjens, A Coach of Influence, “written by Lance Luitjens and Bob Parsons

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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