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Archive for south dakota

A Tour of the Universe

By Linda Tancs

Seventy-five miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota lies Badlands National Park, a treasure in the southwest part of the state consisting of 244,000 mixed acres of badlands formations and prairie.  The fossil beds are a big draw, a protected resource and the largest assemblage of known late Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils.   But don’t spend all your time looking down at paleontologic wonders.  Now’s the time to look up.  During the summer from Friday to Monday nights, the park offers The Night Sky Program at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater.  Join a park ranger for a Tour of the Universe, punctuated by telescopic viewings of more than 7,500 stars in the night sky, including the Milky Way, star clusters, nebulae, planets and moons.  Visitors are also treated to fly-overs by numerous satellites.  Your cosmos awaits.

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Rendezvous in the Black Hills

By Linda Tancs

Motorcycle mania hits the Black Hills of South Dakota during the Sturgis Rally from August 8 to 14 this year. The origins of the race began with the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club in 1936, with an official American Motorcycle Association (AMA) charter in 1937. AMA began promoting the racing events which started the now famous Rally in Sturgis on August 14, 1938. That weekend celebration in 1938 had a lineup of only nine racers and a small audience watching the races.  Now the rally will hold 12 events, including motocross racing, a 1/2 mile race, hill climbs, road tours and short track racing.  As you can see, the Sturgis Rally has grown quite a bit since the first rally in 1937!  Is this the greatest motorcycle rally anywhere?  You decide.

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Czech, Mate

By Linda Tancs

Czech immigrants have settled in the tiny town of Tabor, South Dakota since 1869.  The founders of this town (population under 1000) are celebrated during the third weekend of each June at the Czech Days festival.  Fireworks are scheduled for 16 June.  See the Beseda Dancers, 238 colorful costumed dancers performing Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:30 pm in Sokol Park.  Other features include a heritage museum boasting a log school and log house, homemade noodles and Czech music.  Also, watch the screening of the film “Tabor: A Little Czech Town on the American Prairie.”  Bring your appetite.  Tiny Tabor is located on SD Highway 50, 100 miles southwest of Sioux Falls. 

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The 40-Foot Pheasant

By Linda Tancs

When the first settlers of the Dakota Territory arrived in the 1880s, rumors swirled about a giant pheasant.  Legend has it that the elusive bird produced the winds of the Dakota Prairie, his footprints in the spring forming creeks and river valleys.  The tale is memorialized on Highway 14 in Huron, South Dakota in the form of a 28 foot, 22 ton fiberglass pheasant.  Eight miles west of Huron on the highway you can see real ringnecks at the Maga Ta-Hohpi Waterfowl Production Area, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Named Maga Ta-Hohpi (meaning “duck nest) by the Sioux Indians who dedicated the area in 1992, the refuge system includes breeding and nesting habitats for millions of waterfowl and is home to hundreds of wildlfie species including fish, migratory birds, pheasants, deer, and many other plants and animals.

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