File:Aplan, J ht.jpg
Induction Category & YearHistorical 1998
Home TownFort Pierre, SD
Pierre, SD

   James Aplan
Champion of Excellence


Born at Ft. Pierre, South Dakota to Helen Fischer Aplan and

Frank F. Aplan in 1931 joining a brother, Frank F. Aplan Jr. and a sister Carla Aplan Sahr. Jim grew up on the historic Carlisle Ranch on the nearby Bad River. After grade school and two years of high school in Ft. Pierre, Jim attended the Abbey School at Canon City, Colorado and then two years of Junior College at Trinidad, Colorado. At Trinidad he lived with the Bill Doherty family who ranched at Trinchera, Colorado. In 1949, Jim began a rodeo career that lasted for ten years, first as an amateur and then as a member of the Rodeo Cowboys Association. He specialized in saddle bronc and bull riding, later

becoming a nationally known rodeo clown and bull fighter.

In the fall of 1952, Jim was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During his 16 weeks of basic training, he received the Most Outstanding Soldier Award for his Battalion. Jim was then sent to Korea where he served in the latter part of the war, attaining the rank of Sergeant.

In 1955, he enrolled at Sul Ross College at Alpine, Texas, earning a Bachelors Degree in 1957 and a Masters Degree in 1958. He then accepted a position with the Veterans Administration at Fort Meade, SD. No matter where he was, Jim continued to collect and enlarge his holdings of everything and anything to do with South Dakota and the Old West. His collection became so big that in 1965 he opened a museum at Keystone, SD. In 1966 Jim was named President and General Manager of the historic, family owned, Fischer Brothers Corporation at Ft. Pierre. After the sale of the Fischer Brothers, store, ranches, and other holdings, Jim took a position with the Onida Bank at Onida, SD.

In 1977 he moved to the Okaton State Bank at Midland, SD as Manager. At Midland Jim became active in several local organizations. He headed the drive to build a new Fire Hall which resulted in the fine building there today. Probably his greatest achievement was the 1983 fight to save the railroad across Wester South Dakota. Jim and Gust Larson of Midland assembled a group of rail users along the Northwestern Line from Ft. Pierre to Rapid City. At hearings in Pierre and Philip, they convinced the Administrative Lay Judge to deny the application. Of nearly 200 abandonment proceedings in America that year, only 2 were denied.

In the fall of 1983 Jim moved to Hulett, WY to become president of the Hulett National Bank. The Hulett Bank grew at a rapid pace with Jim as president and today is the pride of the community.

Jim retired from banking in 1986 to devote time to his hobby of collecting and merchandising. He was named to the Board of Directors of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; in 1981 was given the Preservation of South Dakota History award; 1982 the Outstanding Service to Dakota Artists award; 1986 and again in 2011, the Founders Award of the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors; 1998 Inductee into the South Dakota Hall of Fame; 2001 Distinguished Alumnus of Sul Ross University award; 2006 the Casey Tibbs Foundation award; 2009 Dedication of the Match of Champions Rodeo at Ft. Pierre.

Married to the former Peggy Kaubisch of Sturgis, SD, Jim and Peggy have 8 children between them and have raised 5 others. Since 1987 they have operated an Antique and Art business at Piedmont, SD.

Jim and Peggy have donated their time, money, and materials to several museums and historical organizations and have received many awards for historical displays of their collections, loans and gifts. These may be seen at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; the Gene Autry Museum; The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame; the Verendrye Museum; the Center For Western Studies; The Rushmore Borglum Story, The High Plains Heritage Museum; The Rock Pile Museum; Friends of the Middle Border Museum; the Red Cloud Heritage Center; the Robinson Museum; the Akta Lakota Museum; The Wall Drug Store; the Pipestone County Museum; the Nine Pipes Museum; the 1880 Town; the Old Fort Meade Museum; the Pioneer Auto Museum; the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center; the South Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame; the Journey Museum; the Days of 76 Museum; the Fort Sisseton Museum; the Adams Museum; and the High Plains Rodeo Scholarship Fund.  

Home Town (Fort Pierre, SD)
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