Powerball winner lists 50K-acre South Dakota ranch for $41M

If sold near the asking price, it would be one of the largest ranch deals in the state

New York Weekend Edition /
Sep.September 06, 2020 12:00 PM
The 50K-acre South Dakota ranch (Credit: Hall and Hall)

The 50K-acre South Dakota ranch (Credit: Hall and Hall)

After Neal Wanless won the biggest Powerball jackpot in the history of South Dakota in 2009, he started assembling a massive ranch in his home state. Now he wants to sell.

Wanless, who works as a rancher, is asking $41.2 million for the 50,000-acre property dubbed Bismarck Ranch, according to the Wall Street Journal. If sold near the asking price, it would be among the largest single ranch sales ever recorded in South Dakota.

The 34-year-old said he and his wife are spending more time at her family’s ranch in Canada. They also just bought a home in Arizona to wait out the winters.

“I like the South Dakota winter, but I don’t like the wind,” he said.

The Vale property includes 42,000 deeded acres, another 4,000 acres leased from the federal Bureau of Land Management, and 1,600 acres leased from the state. Wanless also built four homes on the property — a 6,500-square-foot home for himself, another for his mother, and a pair of smaller homes for ranch hands and guests, according to the Journal.

He designed the main house himself. It includes a large open-floor kitchen; a game room with a pool table and bar, poker table; and a screening room.

The property is a working ranch. He leases most of the land out to ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management, so most of the animals aren’t his own. About 3,000 yearlings, 1,600 cow-calf pairs, and 1,000 wild horses live on the expansive property.

When he won the Powerball lottery, Wanless decided to take an $88.5 million lump sum instead of the full payout over 30 years. He started assembling the ranch with the purchase of a 7,000-acre property.

Media mogul Ted Turner was responsible for one of the biggest ranch deals in the state. In 2015, he paid $32.4 million for the 45,400-acre Triple U Ranch.

Robb Nelson with Hall and Hall has the listing. [WSJ]Dennis Lynch 

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