Following a long ancestry of farmers, Floyd Korzan raised cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens as well as corn and other crops in Brule County, South Dakota. His seventh child was a daughter, Margaret, aka “Toni”. While her older brothers helped with farm work and her sisters helped with housework, Toni was free to pursue her own interests. She raised rabbits and ornamental chickens, constantly designing new and innovative structures in which to house them. Floyd was 53 when Toni was born and he was troubled with bad knees, so she became his constant companion and helper. Toni built wooden stools for every barn and shed so that her father could always sit. She fetched tools for him when he tinkered on vehicles, and consequently she knew all her fractions long before kindergarten.
The Korzan children attended a one-room school house just a mile from home with all the elementary grades taught by one teacher. Toni loved school and liked listening to the lessons given to the older students, especially math. Her father had often opined that boys don’t need much education because they can do manual labor to provide for their families, but girls need solid schooling to manage their home and finances, so Toni had always planned to attend college. When she was in high school, she asked her physics teacher to recommend a good engineering school, and he told Toni that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would be an excellent choice. Although it was far from South Dakota, Toni decided to apply. Not realizing that MIT is quite selective, it was the only school to which she applied, so fortunately she was accepted.
After earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering at MIT, Toni worked as an energy and management consultant and eventually completed her M.B.A. in night school while she was with Deloitte & Touche. She then took time off to pursue her family goals and had five children, three girls and two boys. Meanwhile, Floyd Korzan passed away and his youngest son continued farming on most of the land, with Toni retaining some of the original homestead. During all the years that Toni spent in Massachusetts, she came back home to South Dakota every year for opening weekend of pheasant season. Because so many family members returned at this time, the annual Korzan reunion was also held during this weekend.
Building on a long history of hunting in the family, the Korzans began guiding hunters in the late 1990’s. Toni was peripherally involved in this endeavor and then decided that these clients would enjoy their time in South Dakota even more with the amenities of a full-service lodge at their disposal. Drawing on her own travel experiences in Italy, Aruba, Canada, London and numerous U.S. destinations, Toni designed the lodge to provide guests a comfortable, relaxed environment with a combined focus on outdoor recreation and a peaceful vacation. The Dakota Prairie Lodge & Resort is a work in progress as Toni creates a pheasant hunting mecca, and in recent years she has added waterfowl and varmint hunting as well as walleye fishing.