South Dakota Pilots Association

ACE Camp

Devin Bastemeyer, Director of Aviation Operations, SDSU Aviation Program, Brookings, emailed on January 19, 2023, "Good afternoon Steve, We will not be hosting an Ace Camp this year and do not currently have plans to host them in the future. I was informed that the SDPA advertises a scholarship for the camp and that is where we get some of the inquiries. I just wanted to give you an update on the status."

REPLY by Steve Hamilton, SDPA Executive Director, on January 21, 2023: "Devin, Thanks for the email. I will note on our website that the camp is no longer held at SDSU."

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SDPA will remove "ACE Camp" as an option for donations, and will move donations to ACE Camp to the SDPA Scholarships Fund.


Aerospace Career and Education Camp was held annually in mid-July on the campus of South Dakota State University in Brookings and was open to all students enrolled in grades 9-12 for the following school year.  The SDPA provided scholarships to students from East River and West River to the ACE Camp (recipients are listed below). The Yankton Regional Aviation Association also provided scholarship assistance to students from southeastern South Dakota, west-central Iowa, or northeastern Nebraska to the ACE Camp since 1992. Major ACE Camp sponsors were the South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, which is funded by NASA, and the SD Aeronautics Commission.


The annual ACE Camp typically provided an inside look at careers in aerospace, and at the education needed to pursue those careers. Activities included in-flight training, tours of SD Air National Guard, Lake Area Technical Institutes Aviation Maintenance Program, an air ambulance, star-gazing, and several other aviation/aeronautics related facilities.

SDPA Scholarship Winners:

2022:  Discontinued.
2021:  No ACE Camp due to COVID-19.
2020:  No ACE Camp due to COVID-19.
2019:  Josh Rounds (Pierre) and Clayton Alban (Pierre) (two scholarship selectees were a no show).
2018:  Sibi Manian (Brookings), Alexander Heinrich (Custer), Logan Sikkink (Castlewood), Brooklyn Harrison (Eagle Butte).
2017:  Allison Blom (Huron), Nick Duncan (Brookings), Matthew Shad (Rapid City), Calvin Traversie (Eagle Butte).
2016:  Dalton Lund (Hermosa), Nate Kettelman (Tea), Kristen Schmidt (Brookings), Luke Julian (Rapid City).
2015:  Samuel Sorrell (Box Elder), Neil Spieker (Clark), and Brittani Snow (Pierre).
2014:  Cody Loup (Wilmot), Wyatt Rumrill (Pierre), Luke Schochenmeier (Pierre), Hannah Feten (Clear Lake). 
2013:  Gavin Munson (Pierre), Carter Venhuizen (Brookings), Trae Stenerson (Buffalo), Bramm Pickner (Sully Buttes).
2012:  Hannah Becker (Pierre), Cole Jorgensen (Hartford), Cody Hight (White River), Anna Maher (Fort Pierre).
2011:  Nathan Graham (Grundy Center, IA) and Leah Vander Vorst (Amherst, SD).
2010:  Samuel Hinricher (Dell Rapids) and Andrew Puetz (Brookings).
2009:  Yang Fuller (Brookings) and Courtney LaMont (Hot Springs)
2008:  Nicole Schwebach (Egan) and Chase O'Farrell (Summitt).
2007:  Ryan Peterson (Hitchcock) and Sebastian Nabb (Kearney, NE).
2006:  no scholarships due to paperwork problem at SDSU.
2005:  Emily Moncur (Miller) and Taylor Hagel (Rapid City).
2004:  John Bowman (Dakota Dunes) & Fielding Russell IV (Meckling).
2003:  Andy Cahoy (Aberdeen) & Kris Schwartz (Dallas).
2002:  Nicole Siebrasse (Aberdeen) & Benjamin Zeeb (Lesterville).
2001:  Leah Battin (Yankton) & Jesse Julius (Watertown).
2000:  no scholarships.
1999:  Andrew Schaunaman (Westport) & Ryan Siebrasse (Aberdeen).
1998:  Lee Huber (Emery) & Matthew Doerr (Mitchell).
1997:  Darren Bryant (Centerville) & Brent Chapman (Hills, MN).
1996:  Amanda Brandt (Brookings) & Steven Spanbauer (Iroquois).
1995:  Chad Edwards (Tea) & Jessica Goodart (Rapid City).

ACE Camp 2018
ACE Camp 2018

Ace Camp 2017
ACE Camp 2017

Thank You Ace Camp 2016
Group photo of ACE Camp 2016 at Sioux Falls Air Show.

Ace Campers
ACE Campers at the SD Air National Guard on the Sioux Falls Airport – Joe Foss Field -- 2015.

Ace Visit
Group photo of ACE Camp 2013 participants at Landmark Aviation, Sioux Falls.

2004 ACE Camp students learned about aircraft at Big Sioux Aviation in Brookings.

ACE Camp students at EAA Chapter 289 hangar in Tea to view experimental aircraft.

ACE Camp students building and launching rockets in 2002.

ACE Camp students at Aerostar International for hot air balloon demonstration in 2000.

ACE Camp students pose before preflighting aircraft for flight in 2002.