Back in 2009, a South Dakota cowboy named Neal Wanless hit the Powerball jackpot and won $232.1 million. One of the things he decided to spend his money on was an almost 50,000-acre ranch not too far from Rapid City. Fast forward to the present and he's sold the property for $37 million — not only over twice what he originally paid for it, but according to the ranch's listing agent the most ever paid for a ranch in the state.
Known as Bismarck Trail Ranch and located in Vale, South Dakota, the most expensive ranch in South Dakota history is one fit for a Powerball winner. And official marketing materials for the ranch say its appeal goes far beyond its expansive natural beauty:
"There is a tremendous set of first-class improvements consisting of four homes, multiple sets of working facilities, and numerous new Morton outbuildings. The owner's residence and one other home are very nice custom homes that didn't spare any exquisite details … If there is a category for luxury working ranches the Bismarck Trail Ranch would likely be the top listing in the central plains states."
Wanless's own custom residence is done in an elaborate Western style, spanning 6,500 square feet with space for a games room, a poker room, and a home theater. He reportedly designed the home himself, and used it to showcase his large taxidermy collection (which presumably wasn't included in the sale).
Wanless reportedly first listed the ranch for sale for $41.15 million back in September of 2020, later lowering the price to $37.5 million, additionally discounting it by another $500,000 for its eventual buyer.
Now that he's sold the ranch, you might assume Wanless is relocating to a property that requires a little less work. But in fact, he's reported to be moving to another cattle ranch in Canada, owned by his wife's family, as well as a winter home in Arizona. Back in 2020, he spoke to WSJ about his love for the ranching lifestyle:
"I could have retired and done really nothing and sat on my butt and enjoyed it. But I love it. Ranching is a hard life, but if you love what you're doing, it's an easy life."
Take a look at the Bismarck Trail Ranch in the video below from Hall & Hall: