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Vast Tendencies & Commonplace Adventures: The Cultural Lifestylings Of Southeastern South Dakota – Feature

The vast tendency of South Dakota changes via the personification of the town you’re in. Watching the elements swirl allows for a texture of commonplace but also with a sense of adventure. Comfortability is a factor but the focus needs to remain.


Artistry begins the progression with a musical interlude at the University Of South Dakota National Music Museum. The key in its possibility is actually hearing the instruments from bygone eras actually played. One room is completely devoted to harpsichord, which Mozart and others played as the rock stars of their ages. Interestingly enough, seeing these instruments played live gives them a representation of the later synth movement centuries later. Hearing a Prince or Lady Gaga song played on one of these instruments might prove disconcerting yet extremely telling. Guitars used by the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan pepper the hallways but it is the inclusion of a 1630 Strativarius violin that shows the value of this collection since an original in great shape can fetch millions (though there is no way this would be allowed to be played). Ratcheting up to the end, an old school nickelodeon from the 30s works brilliant (much less with the original motors). Watching it go full throttle with decent sound in a hallway brings to bear that if younger people saw this, they would be astounded by its craftsmanship and would-be magic.

Speaking of craftsmanship on a large scale, the progression of making a river change its course may not seem an overwhelming task in today’s modern world but think of it in terms of late 50s technology. Overseen by the Army Corp Of Engineers, who figured out the old school solutions after the problems of Katrina with the levees, a similar idea works here at the Gavins Point Dam. A presentation film in the overlook visitor center shows what was necessary to block the push of nature. Entering the Dam facility below, where no pictures can be taken and IDs are inspected in the name of Homeland Security, the interior takes on a life of an old school Stanley Kubrick film or an analog version of “Tron” where knobs and levers endlessly balance through the cavernous facility. It makes one reflect on what the space program was like back in those days because these mechanisms are actually working with results in their almost art deco presentation. The tour, helped along by a cute psychology major from the University Of South Dakota all buttoned in her uniform, unfurled as she revealed part of a curtain where a old school supercomputer room funnels its data through a modern digital readout.


Moving back to more basic tendencies, the McCrossan Boys Ranch hosted the Extreme Event Challenge Rodeo as hundreds gathered for tests of skill. The inset began with female barrel racings with the girls in full regalia racing at full speed around barrels trying to get the best time without tipping their horses over. Next, leading up to the men’s bull riding, youngsters under 8 engage in mutton racing which involves them strapped to a rambuntious sheep trying to hold on for dear life. While most kids fall off within a second of the opening of the gate, the winner at this particular event held on to the alpha male sheep in all his hanging glory as he galloped full speed into a collection of female sheep at the end of the corral before disappearing into the wool. Even though shaken, the young boy demurely held his trophy while trying to hold back the tears. As darkness descended, the bulls came out busting the place up. While many of the bull riders sustained at least 5 seconds, most did not reach the qualifying buzzer and more than a few times in the holding paddock some bulls tried to jump the fence which is like watching a great white shark trying to jump on land.


The intention and legacy of Jesse James is felt all over the Mid West region with varying degrees of intensity. While Missouri and Kentucky count among his prowling grounds, the woods outside Garretson hold up part of the mythology as a hideout of the famous outlaw. After his brother Frank was shot during a bank robbery in Sioux Falls, Jesse was chased into these back areas. At one point the legend dictates that he jumped his horse (who was supposedly blind) over the 10 foot span at Devil’s Gulch (though there was more earth covering the terrain at the time). Continuing down the Split Rock River on the Jesse James Pontoon Ride which proceeds out from this area, the cave that supposedly housed him during the time while Frank recovered plays to the geology of his strategy which made it impossible to sneak up on him surrounded by water, with his back to the wall.

Heading into posterity, the renovation of Dell Rapids, much like Chippewa Falls in Wisconsin, works on the basis of a crossroads back in the early 1900s when the texture of gangsterism made its way specifically into the inside of the country where the transportation racket steadied itself. Situated within this texture, the Grand Opera House at the center of town, primarily used for vaudeville and silent film back in its day, still regales in its beauty balanced by its acoustics and original reconstruction. The true longevity continues with the real mark of humans continuing  withsignatures lining the inside of the stage wall dating back to the late 1800s.

The Southeastern portion of South Dakota from Garretson to the edge of Dell Rapids definitely revels in the structure of old idealized notions while moving with the ideas of true innovation and maintaining the status quo.

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