Dauby’s Sports Center has been a Sioux Falls fixture since 1934. From the beginning, school sports equipment, team kits and uniforms for a variety of activities have been sold there. The first question is who or what is Dauby?
Herbert C. “Dauby” Daubenberger was born on September 20, 1898 in the town of McGregor in northeast Iowa. There he attended public schools and graduated from high school in 1916. He attended Grinnell College east of Des Moines, where he excelled in track and basketball before graduating in 1920. In 1921 he took a job coaching high school football in Colfax, Iowa, just east of Grinnell, a profession for which he seemed suited. He continued to coach there until 1927, when he took a job at Aberdeen Central High School and coached the Golden Eagles. Under his leadership, the Eagles won the 1931 Conference Football Championship in Eastern South Dakota.
On May 27, 1932, Dauby announced that a new sporting event, The Aberdeen Relays, would be held the following year. The new track and field competition was created to attract competitors from South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota who were too far away from the Drake Relays in Des Moines. The next year, Dauby left his position at Aberdeen Central and moved to Sioux Falls to start a new career.
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In late 1934, Dauby’s Sport Shop opened at 209 W. 10th St. Dauby felt that there was an unmet need in Sioux Falls for a sporting goods store that could serve not only the needs of individuals but also of teams. Up to this point, sports gear could be purchased from other local stores, but these stores were not specialists. Dauby knew what coaches and teams needed because he was in their tunnels.
Over the years, the business won contracts with the Sioux Falls School District and others in the area. This became the bread and butter of the business, but if a neighborhood kid wanted a glove for a pickup game, the perfect glove could be found at Dauby’s.
In 1940, Dauby became chief timekeeper of the Howard Wood Dakota Relays. He was active in local sporting events as soon as he arrived in town and also remained active at the Aberdeen Relays, where he served as a starter until 1959.
In 1952 Dauby married Magdalene Krueger, a woman he had met in Aberdeen. She took an active role and helped run the store.
In July 1957, Dauby’s moved to 223 S. Main Ave. into a space that had been the Eat Shoppe restaurant since 1933. In 1960, at the 28th running of the Aberdeen Relays, Dauby was honored in a special ceremony for his long service at the event.
In the late afternoon of February 9, 1962, Herbert Daubenberger died in a Sioux Falls hospital. The loss was felt by all he trained and those who were grateful for his guidance. Years after his death, Magdalene continued to run Dauby’s. Magdalena died in 1976.
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Although the Daubenberg family had no heirs, their business continued under a new owner. By 1985, Dauby’s had moved to its current location at 2720 W. 41st St. The old store was demolished in September of the same year.
Dauby’s is the kind of place most of us don’t realize until we need a piece of exercise equipment. It’s a company that can be trusted to be there in a rare time of need. For sports teams and schools, business is a resource year after year. Uniforms need to be refreshed, and pads and other protective gear are always needed. Herbert Daubenberger may be gone, but his nickname lives on.