For years, if you saw Tyson and Kelly Terhark sporting North Dakota State gear, it was safe to assume they had lost a bet.

Despite living in the heart of Bison country for almost a decade, the couple never wavered in its support of one of NDSU's biggest rivals. Not only did Tyson and Kelly meet while attending South Dakota State, where they graduated in 1995 and 96 respectively, they spent more than a decade building a life in Sioux Falls, where three of their four children were born.

Though a 2010 move to West Fargo caused some of the younger Terharks to change their fandom --oldest daughter Hayley even enrolled at NDSU in 2018 -- their parent's allegiance to their Alma Mater never wavered. Tyson even starting a Facebook Fan Page for Jackrabbit fans in Fargo, which Kelly says consisted of "Maybe him, me and one other person."

"To buck the head winds of the fanbase of the Bison is not always easy," Tyson said. "For us to not convert to NDSU throughout that time makes us pretty strong South Dakota State fans."

However, there was always one scenario where the pair was willing to jump ship.

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"I've said in the past that the only time (our allegiance) will ever chance is if my kids play for the Bison," Tyson said.

The switch became official on June 26.

After attending a Bison football camp the previous weekend, Tyler Terhark, who will be a senior wide receiver and defensive back at West Fargo Sheyenne this fall, announced his commitment to North Dakota State the following Wednesday. Starting out as a preferred walk-on, he is expected to join the Bison as a receiver in 2020.

Terhark is the first Mustang player to commit to NDSU and the second to commit to a Division I program, following in the footsteps of Hayden Reynolds, who will be a redshirt sophomore linebacker at the University of North Dakota this fall.

A 12-year-old Tyler Terhark sports a South Dakota State jacket his father wore while a student at SDSU. Terhark's days of wearing Jackrabbit gear are over, after he committed to play football at North Dakota State last week. Photo submitted by Tyson Terhark.
A 12-year-old Tyler Terhark sports a South Dakota State jacket his father wore while a student at SDSU. Terhark's days of wearing Jackrabbit gear are over, after he committed to play football at North Dakota State last week. Photo submitted by Tyson Terhark.

A second-team All-State selection a season ago, Tyler, himself a Jackrabbit fan growing up, also considered pursuing basketball at the next level and admits to feeling stressed out by the recruiting process at times.

But his decision started coming together during that football camp, when Bison Head Coach Matt Entz personally told him he would have a place in a program that has won seven of the last eight FCS National Championships.

"In that moment, it was like 'Wow, that's amazing,'" Tyler said. "I felt really special."

If he needed any further convincing he'd found a home, it came when he and fellow camp members were shown a highlight video depicting the program's many successes in recent years.

"Seeing videos of that really got me hyped," Tyler said. "I was getting chills for sure."

Tyler's first order of business after committing? Buying NDSU's newest fans their first pieces of Bison gear.

"I think we look pretty good in it," Kelly said.

Though Tyler says deciding between college football and basketball was always difficult for him, his final decision was of little surprise to his mother. And though the destination was perhaps different than she may have expected in the past, Kelly says she is completely on board with where Tyler wound up.

"He and my husband, literally since he was probably three years old...would throw the football constantly," she said. "They'd whip it as close to the side of my face to irritate me. So I figured this was probably going to be the future someday.

"Not necessarily (with) the Bison, but it's been in his blood for several years."