Getting spicy for Ranger Field

Thursday, July 21, 2016

By Kacie Svoboda

Though the Ranger Field fundraising is cooling down, the Gaslight Restaurant’s fundraiser was heating up with a wing-eating competition last Saturday afternoon. In June, Turtle Town of Hill City challenged the Gaslight Restaurant in Rockerville to continue the Ranger Field renovation fundraiser. After brainstorming several options, owner Cathy Little Bull landed on an idea by Hill City School teacher and coach Chad Ronish — a wing-eating competition.

“It was all Chad Ronish’s idea,” Little Bull said. “He planted the seed.”

Last Saturday afternoon, eight brave men tested their taste buds by enduring the Gaslight’s contest, which consisted of six, eight-minute rounds where contestants were challenged to consume six wings of increasing spiciness.

Ronish was unable to participate in the actual competition due to a scheduling conflict, but he did stop by the day before to contribute his fee and do a trial run on the contest.

“The Gaslight is a favorite wing establishment of a lot of folks,” he said. “We thought it would be a lot of fun.”

Ronish made it through four of the six rounds.

Hill City Middle School principal Blake Gardner, Rico Simental, Phil Uecker, Levi Brunmaier, Ryan Usera, Luke Moore, Dexter Johnson and Will Two Lance all competed in the actual challenge.

“It’s all for charity,” explained Gardner. “I know I’ll probably only eat one round of wings but it’s for a good cause.”

Fellow Hill City entrant Simental was much more enthusiastic about the wing-eating part of the competition.

“It's a wing eating contest and hot wings are my favorite food,” Simental said. “I wouldn’t turn that down. If the world was ending at 4 p.m., I’d still be here.”

Hill City’s final competitor Uecker had a more even breakdown of the wing-eating challenge.

“Well it’s a $30 entry fee. I figure $10 because I’m hungry — I just hiked Harney Peak — $10 because it’s a good cause — I live right next to the track — and $10 because I figure it will be pretty entertaining,” he explained. “So as long as I make up my money on those things it will be an afternoon well spent.”

The competition started with mild wings followed by hot wings in round two. Round three featured a barbeque chipotle sauce, round four was ghost pepper wings and round five had Diablo wings. The sixth round concluded the regular contest with Diablo’s Ghost wings.

The three surviving competitors then continued on to a wing-off with an unnamed wing that was hotter than the previous six. Moore of Rapid City was the individual champion devouring 20 wings in the 10-minute session. Moore had never attempted a spicy-food-eating competition before but his strategy appears to have paid off.

“I was just trying to get them down as fast as possible and then recover,” he said.

The Gaslight raised a total of $262 during the wing-eating competition. The wing entry fees, half of the afternoon’s special wing price and $1 for every Budweiser or Bud Light sold during the afternoon, were donated to reach this amount.

“Honestly, we’re kind of disappointed in the turnout,” Little Bull admitted. “We had only three people from Hill City and eight total. We were expecting a lot more.”

The Gaslight would like to challenge Chute Roosters Museum & Restaurant to keep the fundraiser going.

“I think as a community it’s just impressive how many businesses and individuals have stepped up to help raise funds for it,” summed up Ronish “(The Ranger Field renovation) is just going to be a great thing.”


‘Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose’ at the Hill City Flower Show

By Carol Walker

Hill City’s Evergreen Garden Club has always been about beautifying the environment with flowers and plants, but this year they are emphasizing the maintenance of the beauty of the world with a theme for their annual flower show, “Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose.” The Hill City Flower Show is set for Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of the Black Hills, 297 Walnut Ave.

Merlene Broer, chairman of the garden club, said the show is not just for garden club members and she encourages everyone to consider bringing in an entry for the show. There are several categories to choose from, including: annual and perennial cut flowers; floral arrangements; container gardens; wildflowers; table settings; and even a children’s division.

In keeping with the theme this year, some of the entries in the container garden and floral arrangement division require the participant to recycle, reuse and repurpose containers. Entries should be brought to the Club from 8-10 a.m.  the morning of the show. Cheryl Rudel will begin judging at 10 a.m.

The garden club usually plants things with children at the Boys and Girls Club in June each year and this year they already had in mind the theme of recycling for the flower show. The children planted seeds and plants in coffee cans, milk jugs and whatever containers they could find.

“A note went home on the container telling the children to bring the plants to the flower show. We are hoping for a good turnout for children’s entries. Last year we had more children’s exhibits than ever,” said Broer.

There will be something new for the children this year at 10 a.m. when Gina Kassube will engage them in an activity that will encourage the recycling of items. This year the garden club will sponsor a raffle of three planted items on display at the show. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club.

The only fundraiser for the Evergreen Garden Club is making and selling Christmas wreaths during the month of November. Last year they made 194 wreaths for people in the Hill City area. The money is used to give out four scholarships totaling $1,500 to high school seniors each year. Part of the money is also used to beautify the area as garden club members tend plants near the Slate Creek Grille, Patriarch, Tracy Park, Hill City Senior Center and an area near Crazy Horse.

Broer said the club sponsors many free garden-related programs during the winter months. From January through April, they have hosted such programs as bees, weeds, prairie flowers, house plants, container gardens and hydroponic gardening.

Currently, Broer said there are about 42 members in the garden club and she encourages others to join. An individual membership is $15 and only $16 for a couple to join the club.

“I encourage people to attend the flower show. There is a lot to learn, not only from viewing the exhibits but also from listening to the judge, a master gardener, comment on the entries,” said Broer.

For more information and guidelines for the show, people may contact Broer at 574-4559 or Sheila Grieme at 209-0251.


Hill City granted over $16K for arts

By Kacie Svoboda

The Hill City Arts Council (HCAC) and the Black Hills Film Festival (BHFF) were chosen, along with more than 250 South Dakota artists, arts organizations, schools and art projects, to receive $11,212 and $5,000 grants, respectively, from the South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC) for fiscal year 2017.

According to HCAC executive director Cheryl Whetham, the SDAC grant is applied for every two years and receiving it guarantees the organization the awarded amount per year for the next two years.

The $11,212 will go toward the day-to-day operations of the HCAC, freeing up the organization’s fundraised monies and donations to be utilized directly for programs and events.

“The (SDAC) grant is mainly for general operating support including the costs of rent, phones and staff,” Whetham explained.

The HCAC has been awarded this grant for the past 13 years.

“We’re glad that the South Dakota Arts Council values what we do in this community and helps us achieve our goal and mission of providing access to the arts,” Whetham said.

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No go for Heart of Hills parade, show

By Kacie Svoboda

With July 2016 soon coming to a close, it should come as no surprise that Hill City will not be hosting its traditional Heart of the Hills Logging Show and Parade this summer. The planning for this long-standing event encountered several drawbacks but ultimately, the logging show and parade were cancelled due to a lack of community participation.

“People have to step up if they want events to go on,” explained Shari Greseth, Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce vice president and Hill City Merchant member. “We need to work together with the community instead of the same people just doing everything.”

Past chamber president and current advisor Bob Stanfiel vehemently agrees. “People need to wake up,” he said. “The majority of people want events to happen but very few want to put in the effort.”
Last fall, the chamber stepped away from the Heart of the Hills Logging Show and Parade when its members decided on a short list of events to back that were likely to continue in Hill City’s future. This was a final step, following a series of official announcements that the chamber would no longer be heading up events on its own. According to Greseth and Stanfiel, this resulted from the chamber’s limited budget and the loss of its event coordinator Angela Raderschadt.

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Have you noticed the bikes?

By Bev Pechan

What happens when a town like Sturgis gets so full of people at rally time that it’s nearly impossible to get in or out of town? You devise an alternative solution. And that seems to be what has been happening in the Black Hills these past few years so far as bikers are concerned. For the non-concert goers, riding the hills during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Classic has not only become frustrating, but dangerous, with the number of bikes andmany more novice riders each year.

Readers have probably noticed that there has been a constant hum of motorcycles for several weeks now. I can’t speak for the other surrounding towns, but the main drags of Hill City and Keystone have been loaded with two and three-wheelers ever since tourist season kicked off. Many are flying the American flag and Mount Rushmore Memorial has been an annual trek included as a “must-do” for veterans when in the area.

 Last week at a rest stop along I-90, two biker women, each going in opposite directions to and from Sturgis, were sharing their experiences and I couldn’t help but hear their conversations. Both were sharing that  they were coming and leaving early to avoid the large crowds, over-inflated  prices and lack of lodging and other amenities during the big bash in August. A far cry from the traditional gathering mentality, it signaled to me some time ago that something had to give. Some of the pressure on Sturgis was absorbed by the towns of Custer and Hulett and Beulah, Wyo., but that too, wasn’t enough.

It was only a couple years ago that Iron Mountain Road near Mount Rushmore drew new attention as a great ride and a few years before that when a survey of owners  in Easy Rider magazine named the Black Hills as a favorite place to take the curves and see the scenery.  During the Sturgis rally, it’s not only too crowded to enjoy the welcoming outdoors, but too dangerous, regulars said, citing a new generation of bikers who bought the wardrobe, trailered their new bikes to the Hills and then tried learning to ride them and learn the necessary etiquette. It’s subtle, but there are changes taking place.
It’s funny how things happen. The first rally in Sturgis was a large picnic and ride to Mount Rushmore organized by “Pappy Hoel”and his wife, Pearl. Hoel had started the Jackpine Gypsies motorcycle club and it was a small, close-knit brotherhood of locals mostly. What has always intrigued me is that although Harley-Davidson has linked itself with the rally, Pappy Hoel was a dealer in Indian Motorcycles. Back then, they were the epitome of class and style.

 Somewhere, I can’t recall for sure when —I’m thinking in the 1970s or early 1980s —the Harley-Davidson company was nearly a bankrupt corporation when someone savvy in marketing connected their brand with the Sturgis image and blew the doors off sales from there on.

As a museum director in Fort Meade, I learned something interesting: the only connection Pappy really had with Harleys was the number of them he repaired from Fort Meade when they replaced cavalry horses with motorcycles in the 1940s, which turned out to be a short-lived affair.


Juveniles responsible for blaze

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Storm Fire — A submitted photo from Winston Barclay of Hill City shows the massive growth of the fire. The Storm Fire reached 193 acres before it was contained. [Submitted Photo]

By Kacie Svoboda

Months after the smoke cleared from the Storm Hill fire in April, incident commander Ray Bubb, division chief with South Dakota Wildland Fire Division (SDWFD), has determined the cause of the over 200-acre fire.

The investigation found that local minors carelessly discarded smoking materials on private property, which set the hill, full of dead trees and dry timber, aflame.

Due to the young age of the fire starters, no further information on the juveniles’ identities can be released.

According to South Dakota state law, those responsible or their guardians will have to cover all of the suppression costs for the fire, which Bubb estimates at $27,000, not including the volunteer fire departments’ expenses or any forest rehabilitation costs on the site.

The Storm Hill Fire was reported at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23 on the hillside behind Mitchell Lake along Hwy. 16/385. The blaze lasted three days, as Storm Hill’s steep cone shape made for dangerous ground for firefighters.

When approximately 50 acres had burned, the agencies in charge decided to conduct a burnout. This allowed the fire to work down to established fire control lines on easier terrain for fire-fighting procedures.

“There was no reason to kill a human being or risk injuring firefighters,” explained Bubb.

This burnout was so impressive Saturday night that Hwy. 16/385 was closed, with traffic controlled by the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department. This was done to minimize the risk of collisions.

By the time the fire was stifled to ashes, over 100 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service and the Hill City, Keystone, Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish, Interior, Silver City, Custer, Wall, Johnson Siding and Whispering Pines fire departments had joined the effort and prevented the blaze from damaging any structures or causing any injuries.


Peterson sworn in at council meeting

New Alderman — From left, Jim Peterson is led through his first oath of office for Hill City Council Ward I alderman by Mayor Dave Gray. Peterson beat out incumbent Roger Broer in the June election, with 65 percent of the votes. [PN Photo/Kacie Svoboda]­

By Kacie Svoboda

At the Hill City Council meeting Monday, July 11, incumbent alderman Roger Broer stepped down to be replaced by newcomer Jim Peterson of Integrity Realty.

Broer was presented a plaque by mayor Dave Gray for his dedicated service as Ward I alderman from 2014-16.

“It’s a real pleasure that I’ve had association with Roger Broer all these years, both here at city council and as a citizen of Hill City,” stated Gray. “I really appreciate the leadership you’ve shown the council and I know that every decision you went into you went into with the best interest of Hill City.”

Though Broer will no longer be on the council, he doesn’t plan to remove himself entirely from city decisions entirely.

Available only in the print version of the Hill City Prevailer News. To subscribe, call (605) 574-2538.