The third time again proved to be a charm for a longtime Northern Hills sports announcer and radio executive.
Al Decker of KDSJ Radio in Deadwood recently won his third South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year award.
Decker was previously named South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year in 2003 and 2009.
"South Dakota has the fifth highest membership of all 50 states, so it's quite an honor to be recognized by the state's sportswriters and sportscasters,"said Decker.
Some encouragement growing up sparked his start in broadcasting.
"My speech teacher in high school said I had the gift of gab," Decker said.
He attended broadcasting school in Kansas City, Mo. Decker has covered sporting events since 1971, the first eleven years at KIJV in Huron.
He bought KDSJ from Eli and Harry Daniels in 1982 and has covered sports ever since.
Each year Decker does special reports from the State Wrestling Tournament and State Track and Field meets, plus a full slate of area high school football and girls and boys basketball games.
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Decker also works the morning shift on KDSJ, delivering the station's local news and music and includes regular sports reports and coaches' interviews and updates.
He recalls memorable game broadcasts over the years, including a multiple overtime football game between Lead-Deadwood and Spearfish, and a multiple overtime boys basketball game between Rapid City Central and Spearfish in Dan Martin's last year as head coach of the Spartans.
He announced Black Hills State University sports events for 25 years. In 1997, Decker covered the Lady Yellow Jackets during their runner-up finish in the NAIA Division II Women's National Basketball Tournament in Angola, Indiana.
A highlight from 2018 for Decker was being able to broadcast his grandson, Alex Weaver's, games at the South Dakota State AA Basketball Tournament.
Weaver and his Rapid City Stevens Raider teammates finished third.
Weaver, now a freshman at Black Hills State, joined his grandfather in the booth, donning a headset and microphone to help out with football and basketball game broadcasts.
National Sports Media Association members voted Doris Burke as the 2018 National Sportscaster of the Year, Adrian Wojnarowski as the 2018 National Sportswriter of the Year. Members in each state elected 109 state Sportscasters and Sportswriters of the Year from 49 states, plus the District of Columbia. They will be honored during the 60th annual NSMA Awards Weekend, June 22-24, 2019, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Mike “Doc” Emrick, Bob Ley, Peter King and Tony Kornheiser have been voted into the NSMA Hall of Fame.