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May 9-11, 2013
hosted by South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
Rapid City, SD, USA

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

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Get ready for an experience of a lifetime! The Black Hills area is a backdrop of many colors and formations. The many colors of the sand is beautiful in the Black Hills Badlands with the sun shining on it, but if you are ever through there during a rain, the colors are even more vivid. There is also almost always a rainbow over this area after a rain. A real treat!
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just down the road less than 25 miles, attracts some two million visitors every year. In 1927 during the reign of President Calvin Coolidge, Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to carve this inspirational patriotic carving. Mr. Borglum and his crew continued until 1941. Over that time period, some 400 workers erected the sculpture under dangerous conditions, removing a total of 450,000 tons of rock in order to create the enormous carved heads, each of which reached a height of 60 feet (18 meters). Known as the "Shrine of Democracy", Mount Rushmore welcomes upwards of 2 million visitors every year, and is one of America's most popular tourist attractions.
Only 20 minutes from Mt. Rushmore you can find the world's largest carving in progress - the Crazy Horse Memorial. Lakota Sioux Chief Standing Bear asked sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve the memorial "so that the white man would know that the red man has great heroes, too." Drilling and blasting on this colossal mountain began in 1948 and continues by Ziolkowski's family today. Crazy Horse will stand 563 feet high, 641 feet long and it will be carved "in the round".
The Black Hills area has unusual attractions, too. The pigtail bridges and the Needles Drive through the southern Black Hills area leads you to Custer State Park with all its natural wildlife including the mountain sheep, donkeys, and brook trout plus spectacular scenery.

You will believe you have returned to the "Old West" if you have an opportunity to see the free roaming buffalo throughout Custer State Park. Such an unusual sight to see --so many buffalo--and they really are huge. The area is also great for bicycling and hiking.
The drive through Spearfish Canyon in the Northern Black Hills area is an experience to behold. Have your camera ready as Mother Nature gives you a breath taking experience of year round water falls that are always a drawing card. This area also offers hiking and bicycling and other outdoor activities include fishing, camping, boating, rockhounding , spelunking, and dinosaur digs.
Just above Deadwood is the renowned Homestake Mine, a deep underground gold mine located in Lead. Until it closed in 2002 it was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America, producing more than 40 million ounces (approximately 1.25 million kilograms) of gold. It is now famous in scientific circles for being the site at which the solar neutrino problem was first discovered. Experimental work is continuing through the collaboration of several large university plus Black Hills State University in Spearfish and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. Surface tours and annual programs are conducted through the Homestake Visitor Center.
There are museums available such as the mining museum in Lead, the Adams house and museum in Deadwood, the motorcycle museum in Sturgis, plus the Journey museum and Museum of Geology in Rapid City. Ellsworth Air Base, located just 10 miles from Rapid City sports an airplane museum which is available to the general public. Deadwood is also South Dakota's "mini-Las Vegas" where you can play the penny slot machines or make large bets at the various tables and wheels.
Be sure to have plenty of time planning a trip to western South Dakota to visit the many wonders of the area. Some of the small towns have horse-drawn trolleys to ride, and city motorized trolley rides, and local Black Hills tour busses.