The second annual Who Powers You contest hosted by the region’s Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives has officially come to a close with the announcement of three winners who were chosen from among the contest’s 20 finalists. The contest spotlights outstanding individuals who are making a difference in their communities while recognizing them for their remarkable efforts in empowering and inspiring others.

“As an electric cooperative, our services extend beyond delivering safe, affordable, and reliable power to our member-owners,” said Chris Studer, Chief Member and Public Relations Officer at East River Electric Power Cooperative. The Who Powers You contest highlights the commitment of our co-op to the communities and member-owners that we serve. We know that our co-op community is filled with people making a difference and we are honored to celebrate them.”

Weekly contest finalists were featured on KELOLAND Living from March through mid-May. Three contest winners were announced on May 25, 2023.

Bob and Nancy Montross, members of Kingsbury Electric Cooperative, have been awarded the first-place grand prize in the Who Powers You contest. Their instrumental role in countless projects has helped bring vibrancy to the De Smet area and South Dakota. Bob, known as the “promoter,” and Nancy, referred to as the “organizer,” form an exceptional team who have dedicated time and effort to raising funds for the De Smet Event & Wellness Center, supporting the Arts Council, serving on the cemetery board, and helping to bring concerts into the area. Additionally, their involvement with the Highway 14 Trail & Observation Tower project will further enrich Kingsbury County. The Montrosses’ unwavering dedication to the Beef Bucks organization has significantly raised awareness of agriculture and beef, not just in South Dakota but across the nation and involvement with the Cattleman’s Association and the South Dakota Beef Council further exemplifies their commitment to the industry.

As grand prize winners, they will receive a $3,000 award to support their ongoing efforts, stating they intend to donate it to the Highway 14 Trail and Observation Tower project they are currently focusing on. The Who Powers You award recognizes them as true ambassadors of their community, the state of South Dakota, and the livelihoods of individuals who live, work, and spend time in rural areas.

The second-place, $1,500 prize was awarded to Laura Klock, whose outreach impacts Central Electric Cooperative’s service territory. Hailing from Ethan, South Dakota, Laura is the founder of Helping with Horsepower. The regionally and nationally recognized program has made a significant impact on at-risk youth through its Bike Rebuild Program by teaching young people valuable motorcycle repair skills. The program offers opportunities for personal growth and development. Moreover, a partnership with Reclamation Ranch to offer the Therapeutic Riding Program has provided invaluable impact on individuals with special needs through equine-assisted therapy. Additionally, the Heroes Helping with Horsepower Program has extended support to veterans. Laura’s empowering, encouraging, and inspirational spirit for helping others is truly commendable. Her dedication to these programs, as well as her commitment to agriculture and farm life education in the region, is what earned her this remarkable achievement.

Pearl Holt, a member of Northern Electric Cooperative, was awarded the third-place $500 award in the contest. Through her tireless commitment to youth and community, Pearl has made a tremendous impact on the lives of others. Her involvement with esteemed organizations such as 4-H, the Aberdeen Area Horseman’s Association, Special Olympics, and the Brown County Fair reflects her unwavering dedication to serving others. Notably, Pearl’s exceptional volunteerism at SPURS Therapeutic Riding Center has further solidified her reputation as someone who is always willing to help out however she can. From assisting riders in classes to caring for horses and helping to organize the Barn Dance fundraiser, Pearl’s contributions are too numerous to mention in full, which is why she was chosen for the well-deserved recognition.

To learn more about the Who Powers You contest, visit whopowersyoucontest.com.