Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

WOW, what a year 2022 has been, we hit the year running and never stopped!

Fife and Drum had fantastic Johnny Holm Valentine’s Dance and a Beer Pong event on St. Patrick’s Day. Chanters had a successful ROCK the Shrine, El Riad was running on all cylinders. Along came Motor Corps & Sprint Cars with the live cash raffle in March giving out the $10,000 at the shrine with an amazing crowd to see if they were winners. We had great crowds for all the events so far. 

Then the event we have all been waiting for: The Shrine Circus, and all I can say is WOW and WOW! Thank you to Larry Johnson for Chairing the 2022 Circus, Assistant Circus Chairmen Jeff Landborg along with the circus committee. It was great to have the circus back in town, not only in Sioux Falls but Mitchell, Yankton, Windom, and Winner…they all had outstanding crowds for each circus.  A huge thank you to all that help in any way for each one. It was amazing to watch everyone have a great time working at each performance and getting back to what we all love…seeing all the kids and families have a great time, and of course circus dogs, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, and flashing light toys. It just does not get any better than that. As tired as we get, we come back every day for more. Isn’t it great?!  Thank you once again for all you did for the circus and El Riad. 

I would like to thank the Membership committee for being a partner in the SD Grand Lodge Masonic Festival that was held here in Sioux Falls. Bill Thompson and James Hoy kept us informed as to what was needed before the event, thank you guys. What a great event for all of SD Masonic Lodges and all Shrine temples. This event took a lot of team work from all lodges and temples, with the entire state working together to further our memberships and become stronger as Masons and Shriners.

That led us into our Spring Ceremonial. Thank you to 1st Ceremonial Master Steve Haase for a great day keeping this day on task. It is always great to have new members coming into El Riad. Thank you to all the units for donating to El Riad Temple.

Talk about off and running, our parade units were off and running showing off their stuff in promoting El Riad. 

Along came the All-Shrine Civic Parade in Mitchell, SD with the Corn Palace in the background dedicated to the Shrine Circus. Thank you to Chief of Staff Brian “Sticky” Schultz and Asst. Chief of Staff Todd Schmit, Head Pote’s Aide Dave Murphy his crew of Pote’s Aides, Steve Hauff and the Culinary. Also thank you to Dustin Knutson and the Mitchell Shrine Club, and Chief Rabban Leo Baumgart. This was a team effort to get this Parade arranged and units lined up. Thank you to Imperial Sir Matt Sturlaugson and his lovely Lady Mandii for coming and taking part in our parade. What a great day for El Riad! 

It was great that Imperial was in Minneapolis, MN.  It is not very often that Imperial is that close so more of El Riad members were able to go to Imperial session. Thank you to everyone that attended. Congratulations to the Motor Corps, Sprint Cars and Clowns for competing, great job guys. 

Shortly after Imperial we headed for Green Bay, WI, for Midwest Session. What a great time going to Green Bay. Some took the time to go to the Green Bay Packers Stadium.  Big thank you to Dave Murphy and his Pote’s aides crew for a fun hospitality room in Minneapolis MN and Green Bay WI. Great job to Brian Schultz AND Todd Schmidt for lining up all the units that were parading. Thank you to all the members and Units that took the time to take part in the festivities at Midwest session which included:  Steel Drum, Oriental Band, Motor Corps and Clowns for taking part in parading at Midwest. Thank you all that came to both Imperial and Midwest.

Ryan Simmons and Doug Schneider and their committee held the Shrine Cup event with 80 golfers. Fantastic weather for all that played or helped. This is a great fundraiser for the Shrine Hospital so thank you to all the Shiners that help to make this a great event. What a great day for golf.

This year, like in the past, the Fife and Drum sponsored the meal for the Augustana Football Team that we hold at the Shrine during their practice before the season starts. We feed the team and informed them what the Shrine is about and what we do. Thank you to Lady Penny and the Divan Ladies for taking care of the refreshments for the boys. These guys are very polite and appreciative to get a good meal. Thank you to Steve Hauff and the Culinary for a great Job putting together the meal. This year is the 50th year so we had three former patients Parker Hanson, Katie Winckler as our Patient Ambassadors and Elena Evans as the 2022 Shriners Children’s Patient of the Day. 

Great job to Matt Johnson and the Shrine football game committee. What a great day October 22 was for the game and a fun tailgate party for all Shiners before the game. Once again, the Culinary did a fantastic Job. El Riad gave away two kids bikes this year and also four $100 prizes to the folks that bought yellow plastic footballs.

A big thank you to 46 folks that went to Las Vegas to marshal three holes for the Shrines Children Open Golf Tournament. El Riad oversees holes 7, 8, and 9, thanks to Charlie and Paula Brown for handling all the details for the four days of the golf tournament. This is great fun to watch these very good golfers play golf but also getting to spend time with other Shriners from all around the country and the kids we take care of. Some of shrine kids walk the course with score signs behind the golfer and they love helping. It is a very fun event to be part of.

Bill Thompson, 2nd Ceremonial Master, did a great job orchestrating the Fall Ceremonial. What a great day for El Riad. Thank you to the Ritualistic Unit for a great performance, with a big thank you to the Directors Staff for the Arch Degree.  All year, Chief of Staff Brian Schultz, and Asst. Chief of Staff Todd Schmidt have taken care of whatever needed so thank you gentlemen for a great Job all year long. I could not have asked for a better crew for Pote’s Aids. Thank you to Dave Murphy my Head Pote’s Aide and his crew of Pote’s Aides for an outstanding job all year. This ceremonial was full of highlights, having new Nobles become part of El Riad is always a highlight. Being able to meet and hear the story of one of our patients is fantastic. Piper Johnson and her family did a great Job, what a great story. Thank you to all the Units for their presentation and donation. Thank you to the Membership Committee for getting the new nobles checked in. There is so much that goes on at both ceremonials. I want to thank Tim (Bubbles) Bachman for a fantastic job doing the Old Red Fez with his own twist, what a great rendition of the Old Red Fez. Thank you to all for making this Ceremonial a big success.   

The Nobels Masquerade Party was an amazing, fun filled night. Thank you to Chief Rabban Leo Baumgart and the Party Committee for doing a fantastic job putting this party together, great job ladies and gentlemen. Fun was had by all!

Thank you to Kevin and Robin Tomshack and the Patient Christmas Party Committee for bringing this fun event not only for our patients 0 to 12 years old but also for all of us that love watching these kids shop, play games,

eat hotdogs or hamburgers, and let’s not forget talking to Santa Claus. What a “funtastic” day for all of us. By the end of the day there is a tear in every eye, big smiles and lots of laughter. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

As 2022 comes to an end, I want to thank the office staff, Scott Denney, Gail Gustafson, Kent Quail, and Lonnie Albers for all their help throughout the year with our young folks as a lot of things would not get done so thank you for all you do!

Thank you to all the units of El Riad for all your support throughout the year and pulling together to make this fun place be fun and successful.

To the Divan, thank you for all your help and support. You have been a fantastic team to work with not only for 2022 but for all of the years being on the Board of Directors, so thank you. 

It has been an honor to serve as your 2022 Potentate of El Riad. I am humbled that I was asked to serve in this capacity. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Finally, to my wife Penny, thank you for your support, and for taking that leap to be Lady Penny. I know it was hard at first, but you did a fantastic job, jumping in with both feet and bringing new things into the Shrine. I am extremely proud of you and thank you for all you did for me and did this year for the Ladies of El Riad.

I love this place called El Riad and I am glad of the opportunities that was given to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I leave you with this thought: do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can.  

In Faith:

El Riad Shrine Potentate

James (Kid) Slater





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