Growing Up

Billie Sutton grew up in Burke, South Dakota, helping on the family ranch – a business and a way of life his parents built with their blood, sweat, tears, and hard work. 

On the family ranch, Billie learned South Dakota values: rugged individualism tempered with a heart for community and neighbors, a faith in God, a never-say-quit attitude, with a heart for people and a desire to build a better life for each generation to come.


In addition to a successful college rodeo career, Billie had gone on to be in the top 30 in the world in the professional rodeo ranks. Then, the accident happened. At a rodeo in Minot, North Dakota, his horse flipped over in the chute. He was instantly paralyzed; his life was forever changed in that moment.

Up to that point, Billie had his whole life planned out. But he learned, sometimes God has other plans.

Billie recounts waking up in a hospital bed and learning the diagnosis,  "I remember the feeling of loss when I realized everything will be different now."  He was faced with a choice:  take the easy way and give up, or live by the values he was raised with—do it the cowboy way—never give up, and never quit.

Billie, Kelsea, and Liam Sutton

Billie, Kelsea, and Liam Sutton


There were countless people who invested in Billie over the years, but none quite like Kelsea, his wife and the mother of their beautiful son. She never left his side when the going was tough. 

 A fifth-generation South Dakotan, Billie's small town roots have made for a large extended family of neighbors. The town of Burke may only be 600 in population, but it proved 6 million in heart after Billie's accident. It felt as though the entire state of South Dakota was behind him. Billie has dedicated much of his adult life to public service, inspired by those who invested in him when he needed it most.


Billie Sutton was elected to the South Dakota Senate representing District 26 (now District 21) in 2010 and was successfully re-elected to three more consecutive terms.

In the State Senate, Billie witnessed many of our state’s problems and tackled them head-on. He fought for smarter economic development and better jobs. He fought “top down” corporate welfare that only benefits those who need it the least. He helped create a bipartisan economic development plan that focuses on better jobs, affordable housing, transparency, and education as an investment. He fought for scholarships for low-income families and helped raise teacher pay so that South Dakota no longer trails the nation. He fought to help protect small schools.

Billie fought for and successfully changed the law to limit personal use of campaign money so you don't get rich off being a politician. He fought for a long-over-due state ethics commission, and he fought to limit the influence of money in politics.

Billie served on the Ag Land Assessment Task Force, the Primary Care Task Force, the Blue Ribbon Education Task Force, the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative Work Group, the State-Tribal Relations Committee, and the Government Accountability Task Force, among others.

He has been a middle school football coach and President of the Burke Rodeo Club in his hometown.



Billie knows how hard it is for South Dakota families to get by – let alone get ahead. As an investment executive at an independent community bank, he works every day with clients facing big decisions about their futures: parents starting to save for their child’s education; farmers and ranchers, employees, and small business owners planning for retirement; and families of all shapes and sizes who are dealing with life’s unexpected circumstances.

With sound financial advice, Billie helps clients across South Dakota prepare to succeed despite the challenges they may face.


Billie Sutton believes in a South Dakota where every person can get a job – a job with a good wage that provides the opportunity to build a better future for their family. He is committed to growing better jobs with higher wages in every part of our state. Billie believes that if you are willing to work hard, you should be able to get ahead.

Billie believes in a South Dakota where we embrace our agricultural economy and our rural way of life. Our entire state, rural and urban, is impacted by the strength of our ag economy. When ag struggles, South Dakota struggles. When ag is strong, South Dakota is strong. 

Billie believes in a South Dakota where every child gets a world-class education that prepares them for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow. 

Billie believes in a South Dakota where our state government and our politics will be as honest and as hardworking as our people. 




Billie Sutton knows it’s more important to live by God’s plan for his life than it is to live by his own plan. What Billie has been through taught him what it means to truly live by faith: faith in God, faith in our community, and faith in our values. Faith is what powers us forward regardless of what challenges we face as individuals, as a community, and as a state.

As our next Governor, Billie will make sure that every South Dakotan has the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential.

Billie is a lifelong member of Lucas Baptist Church, where he often provides music and plays the guitar. He has led a number of devotional services at rodeo camps and on the rodeo circuit.