Pole Vault Champion Chooses BEEF!

Posted on January 14, 2021

Pierre, SD – U.S Pole Vault Champion, Chris Nilsen established a deeper connection with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) and the Sanford Sports Science Institute through a recent endorsement of the Build Your Base with Beef Program (Build Your Base). Build Your Base is a comprehensive sports nutrition program developed through a collaborative partnership between the SDBIC, Sanford Health, and the Sanford Sports Science Institute (SSSI) and utilizes beef as the premier protein.

22-year-old Kansas City, Missouri native, Chris Nilsen participated in various sports throughout his childhood including soccer. He found a love for pole vaulting his freshman year of high school that led to multiple collegiate scholarship offers his Junior year. University of South Dakota’s (USD) Associate Director of Track and Field, Derek Miles, secured the recruit with his offer to coach in one powerful statement. ” You can go anywhere in the world to become a better pole vaulter, but you’ll never find a coach who cares about you and your career more than I do”. With the decision made, Nilsen moved to Vermillion, South Dakota to begin his unforgettable collegiate career at USD!

Nilsen led a highly decorated Pole-Vaulting career while at USD that includes; reigning Pan American Gold Medalist, NCAA Pole Vault Champion, Six-Time All- American and 4-Time National Pole Vaulting Champion. Nilsen continues to take his pro career to the next level and was 3rd Place in the 2020 Brussels Diamond League and 2nd Place in the 2020 Anhalt Dessau Meeting in Bauhaus, Germany in September of 2020. Nilsen continues to set the bar high as he trains to earn a spot on the US Olympic team.

Nilsen explains his interest in a beef partnership, “Beef plays a vital role in my diet, it’s my favorite whole protein, and getting the chance to partner with such an amazing organization such as the South Dakota Beef Industry Council is a great opportunity to learn more about the importance of beef in one’s diet, and to tell people about how it personally benefits me! Nothing pleases me more than helping others, and especially in the sports world. With this opportunity to learn more and educate others about the Build Your Base program, I could see myself becoming a better, more helpful person, athlete, and family member! I’m excited to be working with a closely connected group in the great state of South Dakota!”

Nilsen continues to train and participate at multiple pro events and competitions, where he will represent South Dakota Beef globally as he prepares for the Olympic Trials with future Olympian goals. SDBIC Executive Director, Suzy Geppert is excited to bring Nilsen into the Build Your Base program. “Chris understands the value of whole proteins like beef in an athlete’s diet and uses it consistently as part of his nutrition plan. We are excited to have him representing BEEF!”

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council works on behalf of South Dakota beef producers through the $1 Beef Checkoff program.

For more information on Beef Checkoff and statewide efforts visit and or contact Suzy Geppert at