"Dad would just sit with me after supper and just draw," said Don Montileaux.
It started when Don Montileaux was just 5 yearsold. He wanted to be an artist; the best artist. "There was no second place, there was first place," said Montileaux. "And that's the one I want to be, first place."
Now he creates art in his own studio inside Rapid City's Prairie Edge. "It's a ride that - it's just wonderful," said Montileaux. "I wouldn't stop this ride for anything. It's the best in the world."
But hold on! The ride isn't over yet! Montileaux has been inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame as an educator about the Lakota people. "Everyone has this misconception that we're the ones you see on the street, which unfortunately are the homeless and stuff like that," said Montileaux. "That's not who we are."
He's also recognized as a preserver of traditional art work, by drawing on 19th century ledger paper, which Natives used when they ran out of buffalo. "Retain our history, our ceremonies, and our culture, through drawing," said Montileaux.
But this award isn't for him. "This award isn't for me. It really isn't," said Montileaux. "I never wanted it for me, this is for my granddaughters."
He joins nine others being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. "It's a selection, if I can put it, the best of the best," said Richard Gowen, vice chair of the South Dakota Hall of Fame. "Its a chance to recognize how great this state is, because we measure achievements in terms of people."
And if Montileaux is a measure of the caliber of people chosen this year, South Dakota is in good hands.
Gowen says more than 80 people were nominated this year.
Montileaux joins West River inductees Fredric Cozad, Judy Duhamel, Kay Jorgensen, Dick Termes and the late James Emery.
The official induction ceremony is Sept. 13 in Chamberlain.