History – 2014


The Sturgis Area Zonta Club formed in 1972; Dorothy Allison served as its Charter President with a total of 27 members. Over the years since that date the club has fluctuated from 40 to 15 members. Currently, we have 18 paid members and one charter member, Marguerite Kleven, remains active.

Our focus, as with all Zonta Clubs, is the status of women in our community and the world. A former major fundraiser for our service awards to the community was to handle the ticket sales for the Short Track Races during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. It involved six nights and 2 days of standing amid the cyclists who were coming to attend and collecting cash from them for entrance into both the Jackpine Gypsy Shorttrack and Hill Climb events. This activity sustained our club service awards for many years. At one time, a short skit was written about this activity and was presented at an Area Meeting complete with members in bras riding tricycles. In 1987 and every year since, the club paints pumpkins that are sold in October to individuals and businesses in our area. The proceeds go to a scholarship for a female high school senior (s). The minimum amount we normally present is a total of $1000 each year. We support our women’s shelter as a line budget item and additionally have special events throughout the year to support the shelter. Additional funds from the pumpkin sales together with other funds raised are presented to applicants that qualify. Those other funds may be raised by catering for special community events such as the SD State Junior Miss program, the area Ag Banquet sponsored by the Chamber or “Winterfest” featuring businesses and organizations. Applications for Service Awards are solicited each spring from deserving and qualified organizations. From those applications, selected winners receive monetary awards during our dinner/recognition meeting in May. During the 80’s the club successfully sponsored a Z Club at Sturgis High School. Unfortunately, we were unable to retain that relationship.

Historically, the club met the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at noon. Recently, it was decided to combine the two meetings into one meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 5 PM. Each monthly gathering includes dinner, a business meeting and a program. The rationale for changing the meeting time was to open the door for new members who were unable to attend at noon such as teachers and staff from Ft Meade, our VA Hospital.

In an effort to publicize our organization, Zonta supports an annual Festival of Trees with an entry to be auctioned and often participates in the high school homecoming parade in addition to other community events. Public announcements are regularly sent to our local newspaper, and are included on our website and Facebook page.

Bonnie Clarke, Historian
As reported by Dedi LaRue