Trail of Governors

Established in 2010, the Trail of Governors Foundation is committed to honoring South Dakota’s chief executives in a unique and lasting manner.

Trail of Governors

Established in 2010, the Trail of Governors Foundation is committed to honoring South Dakota’s chief executives in a unique and lasting manner.

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Preferred method mail to:
Trail of Governors
1714 N. Lincoln
Pierre, SD 57501

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Donations of any amount are welcome and will be posted on the Donors page.

Donated to Date:


updated 1/1/2021

Endowment Balance:


updated 4/3/2020

Trail of Governors FoundationAbout the Trail of Governors Foundation

The Trail of Governors is a non-profit group working to celebrate leaders who have shaped South Dakota into the state it is today.  The Trail of Governors will be creating and erecting life-sized statues of all past South Dakota governors and forming a “trail” of the statues from the State Capitol grounds to downtown Pierre near the Missouri River.

Latest News

Dear Friend of the Trail of Governors,

Speaking of history, we are living through a most memorable time. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives and here is yet another. The Trail of Governors Foundation board is postponing the new statue unveiling that was planned for June 2020. We will announce a new unveiling date for the bronzes of Govs. Sheldon, Crawford and Gunderson when we believe it is safe to do so. We will email you again when we have a new date to share.

If you have questions or wish to be a donor for one of these statues or the trail project, we welcome hearing from you: email or call 605-454-0689.

Stay tuned and stay safe.

~Trail of Governors Foundation Board

New governors’ statues unveiled June 14 in Pierre

PIERRE, S.D. – Statues for South Dakota Govs. Samuel Elrod, Archie Gubbrud and Dennis Daugaard were unveiled at the Capitol Rotunda on June 14.

Gov Kristi Noem took part in her first Trail of Governors ceremony as the three bronze statues were viewed for the first time by a crowd of attendees. The three former governors’ families took part in the ceremony along with many friends, former staff members and statue donors.

“We are proud of the history that is being told with the Trail of Governors,” Trail of Governors Foundation President Rick Jensen stated. “Only in South Dakota, can you walk among our state’s former governors. Along the way, you can admire the artwork created by our state’s finest sculptors and take in several interesting history lessons.”

“This project is reality thanks to the donors who generously contribute to the project. They understand the importance of telling South Dakota’s story and recognizing our leaders who have helped shape this state.”

The statues’ sculptors spoke about what inspired them to create the governors’ statues the way they appear in bronze: James Michael Maher, Lee Leuning, Sherri Treeby, and James Van Nuys.

The three newest statues will be added to the 22 statues that are already on the trail beginning at the Legion Cabin by Lake Sharpe, through downtown Pierre and winding around the Capitol grounds.

The trail’s statues are funded by donations made to the trail’s foundation, and managed by the South Dakota Community Foundation. All donor names are listed at

The primary donors to-date for Gov. Elrod’s statue are Gary and Connie Grittner with a one-quarter donation. Elrod served from 1905 to 1907 as the state’s 5th governor.

Gary and Connie Grittner have also provided one-quarter funding for Gov. Gubbrud’s statue. Gubbrud was the 22nd governor, serving from 1961 to 1965.

Major donors for Gov. Daugaard’s statue are Scott and Julia Jones, the South Dakota Community Foundation, Rotary Clubs of District 5610, and Gov. Daugaard’s family and friends. Daugaard served in office from 2011 to 2019 as the state’s 32nd governor.

A new addition that began last year during statue unveiling weekend in Pierre is a Run with the Govs event. It will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 by the Capitol’s front steps. All proceeds will go to the Trail of Governors Foundation. Those wishing to learn more about this 3.5-mile event can do so online at and on Facebook.

View Photos and Videos from the Ceremony


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