Farm Broadcaster Makes Polar Bear Plunge

“This is my second time participating in the infamous Polar Bear Plunge at the Meadville General Store on the banks of the Niobrara National Scenic River,” reports Monte James (Your Ag Network, Inc., Yankton, South Dakota). “I grew up on a ranch about 10 miles down-river, so I try to make it back to this insane event when time allows. Every year, the local fire department cracks a pathway in the fast moving and stunningly beautiful Niobrara River to allow battle-hardened partiers and urban thrill seekers to gain membership in the Polar Bear Club. This year’s dip took place January 26, and we were fortunate to have a break in the -20 below temperatures we had fore and aft. It was a balmy 12 degrees with a windchill of about 15 below. My previous excursion about 15 years ago was -17 below flat temp so this year seemed like the tropics. My friend Jennifer Nelson (in orange shirt) is not a fan of water or the cold, but liquid courage pulled her through to seize the day and take her first dip to become a club member. Unfortunately, I belly flopped into about two feet of water and smacked my nose on the river-bottom but was able to ‘cowboy up’ enough to make it back to the giant bonfire the firemen had roaring for us dippers. We then made our way over to the Little Red Barn, a renovated homestead shack (and the only other building in Meadville) for hot toddies and snacks, courtesy of the local barrister Rodney Palmer, who is responsible for renovating and preserving this little slice of Americana known as Meadville. Polar Bear Plunge is an annual event, and I hope to see you there next year, where I will be back in the cheering section, unless it’s 50 degrees. The Meadville Store is an old post office that was closed in the 1940s and re-opened in the mid- ’90s. It’s famous for its absolute preservation of antiquity, featuring the same old pot-bellied stove and hardwood floors that graced the place from the 1920s forward. They serve food on an outdoor grill, but it is famous for pulling tubing and canoeing customers from Omaha, Lincoln, and Sioux Falls in the summer and local ranchers, lumberjacks, and grizzled cowpunchers looking to whet their whistles and warm their pipes during the brutal Nebraska winters.”

Monte’s radio career has taken him from small stations in northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota to KAYL (Storm Lake, Iowa), KGFX (Pierre, South Dakota), KCSJ (Sioux City, Iowa), WHO (Des Moines, Iowa), WNAX (Yankton, South Dakota), and now to the 40-plus stations of Your Ag Network ( “I also do a weekly rodeo show that’s in its fifteenth year called the Territorial Rodeo Update/Top 5 Countdown, which is on close to 60 stations in nine states. We are looking for affiliates especially in rodeo and ranching areas. You can hear past shows at,” Monte adds. “This is my fourth year as an NAFB member, and I’m extremely fond of the association and the amazing friends that I have met. Personal thanks to Lorrie Boyer and Susan Littlefield for taking me under their wings and transforming me from a rodeo announcer and salesman to a farm broadcaster. I am deeply in their debt.”