Shaun Ruland

Shaun Joseph Ruland passed away suddenly as a result of an accident. He was 58 years old.

Shaun was born to Larry and Lenora (Bloom) Ruland on June 6, 1965, and lived his entire life on the Bloom/Ruland Ranch. He was born a true cowboy who was roping chickens as soon as he could walk and sleeping with his rope next to his bed. He ranched alongside his Grandpa Bud, father Larry, and his siblings. His older sister Kelly was thankfully there to make sure Shaun would make it to adulthood. Younger sister Lorie took a lot of teasing and he referred to her as the toughest cowgirl he ever knew. TJ came along and despite their age difference, Shaun had his younger brother to ride and rope with.

Shaun grew up competing in youth rodeos as well as jackpots and playdays that the whole family competed in. He loved to share stories about the family’s amazing palomino mares, Goldy and Blondie. He competed in, or at least tried about every event he could. He helped his grandpa and dad start the colts.

Shaun graduated from Wall High School in 1984. He was an active FFA member who competed in Horse Judging. He also participated in some sports during the junior high years, but by high school he was devoted to rodeo. He qualified for state and national championships in the High School Rodeo Association.

He then went on to Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyoming. He competed in college rodeos and worked at the feedlot in Torrington. He also put on many miles traveling back and forth to help on the ranch. He transferred to National College in Rapid City to continue college rodeo and was a College National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Shaun was ready to head to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and happened to win both the Badlands Circuit Rookie of the Year and Champion Team Roping Heeler titles. He qualified for the Badlands Circuit Finals 19 straight years and won a second Champion Team Roping Heeler Title in 2000. He and his partner Billy Gallino just missed making the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in the 1990s. Shaun was proud to wear his San Antonio Champion Heeling buckle as well as helping Billy win the All Around pickup. Shaun also won championship titles in other associations such as SDRA, NRCA, MPRA, NARC and others. He had many great team roping partners who remained great friends throughout his life.

He was blessed to have his dad, Larry, be his partner in team roping, on the ranch, and in life. Larry would tell people that Shaun’s competitive nature was fierce. Shaun’s mom, Norie, was his biggest fan and so proud of him in all that he did. She took great pride in how hard he worked and the wonderful father he became.

The rodeo trail led him to Michelle, the blonde barrel racer from Minnesota. They were married September 7, 1996. Upon this union came many, many critters into his life, whether it was dogs, cats, ferrets, pigs, goats, chickens, he never told her no to bringing another animal home. And although he didn’t always admit it, he loved them too. His quiet, gentle, and compassionate ways toward animals and people were what made him such a great person.

Then came the kids… Riley Joseph was born in 1998 and Shelby Rae in 2000. He was a very loving and devoted father who never missed a game or activity they were involved in. He supported them in whatever their interests may be but was especially happy that they decided that they wanted to compete in rodeos. He was a very proud dad who loved his children more than words can say and he wasn’t afraid to show it through his emotions.

The indoor arena was built in 1999. The family worked to put on events and accommodate overnight boarding for 20 years at Ruland Arena. Many friends, old and new, passed through that arena. People still share fond memories about time spent there.
After the arena sold and Shaun’s parents had passed away, he worked hard to make improvements on his own place and build his cattle herd. He also worked full time in the construction business for the past 20 years. He traded rodeo competition for team roping jackpots when Riley was ready to enter too. Shaun still enjoyed going to a good team roping now and then with his friend Troy Richter. He really loved tie down team roping and was able to compete in a couple of those over this past summer.
Shaun’s past few years brought changes and his life seemed complete. His kids grew up, graduated from HS, and went on to college. Riley decided to attend Eastern Wyoming College on a rodeo scholarship, just like his dad. Shelby went on to SDSU and was the State FFA President her freshman year. This past year, Riley and Shelby had weddings that were 7 months apart. Anyone can see the love he had for his children. He couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law and daughter-in-law.

Watching the Cowboy Channel and taking drives around the ranch with Michelle and his dog Gator were two of his favorite things in life. He was loved by many and will be greatly missed.

Survivors include his wife of 27 years Michelle Ruland of Wall; son Riley (Kallie) Ruland of Wall; daughter Shelby (Nathan) Linke of Sioux Falls; siblings: Kelly (Jem) Kjerstad of Quinn, Lorie (Dale) Cahoy of Sheridan, WY, and TJ (Miranda) Ruland of Quinn; Father and Mother-in-Law David and Connie Klann of Douglas, MN; his beloved blue heeler, Gator; and a host of other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents Larry Joe and Lenora (Bloom) Ruland and infant brother Larry John Ruland.

Memorial visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, September 19, at the Pennington County 4-H Building in Wall.

Memorial services will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at the Rodeo Arena in Wall.

Cards and memorials may be sent to 23755 196th Avenue Wall, SD 57790.