Mt Rushmore Tours – Pt 1

The tour started with breakfast this morning at the chuck wagon, pancakes it is! You can come in and eat breakfast here without being on the tour and it is all you can eat pancakes for 99c. You heard me, 99c.


As we depart Ft. Hays, our bus driver for the day is Dan Eggebraaten. There are 28 on the bus from Indiana, the rest of us Nebraska, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Jack and I the only Internationals from Australia.

And so began the trivia and extra information about South Dakota, the Black Hills and the little towns in between. So here is some of today's history lesson for those that haven't been before,

The population for the whole state of South Dakota is 800,000. There are several different reservations with 75,000 native Americans and they populate 25% of the state land. The Lakota Sioux named the hills of South Dakota with the Indian name of Paha Sapa meaning hills that are black. Hence, the Black Hills.

Lead (pronounced leed) got its name from the lead's in the rock that the miners would look for when searching for gold. You can see some of these white lines (lead's) in some of the rock faces we passed on the road.

This bridge is made from laminated Douglas fir timber, it is called the Keystone Wye Bridge.


Keystone was an old mining camp from years ago. Mines were said to be often named after the miners wives. Big thunder mine is still open for touring, and there is another mine named after a miners wife called the holy terror, it was a very prosperous mine in its time. It could yield 250pds of gold a month. A lot of cave in's and deaths occurred at that mine before it was closed off. Keystone folks celebrate Holy Terror Days annually.


First stop on the tour is Mt Rushmore. The Mt Rushmore Memorial is sculptured on the south east face of the mountain featuring Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

The four presidents were carved by Gutzon Borglum, commenced at the age of 60 and took him 14 years to carve finishing in 1941. In actual time working on the carvings were 6.5 years (if you considered weather and other things that halted work along the way).

The sculpture is complete as finished on the mountain. No further carving was done after he Bordlum passed away but his intentions were to have them carved to the waist.

$1M was spent on the sculpture which doesn't seem a lot until you know that it was done during the Great Depression. Washington's face is 60ft from top of his head to bottom of his chin and 11ft across the eyes. This means if completed would be 400ft high. Lincoln's mole is 16″ across.


There were 400 people working with this monument and its surroundings and no one died whilst doing it. There is a granite wall recognising all those involved, only one man is still alive today – Donald “Nick” Clifford now 94. (He was actually in the gift store signing books, so an opportunity we couldn't pass up)


The avenue of flags leads you to the viewing platform and entrances to the presidential trail and sculpture studio.

90% of the work on the faces was done with dynamite and then Borglum could do the finer details.

The sheer size of this monument is amazing to see. There is also the amphitheatre, exhibit hall, restaurant and gift shop. If you ever get there it's a must see.

Apparently Mt Rushmore was named after Charlie Rushmore a New York Lawyer, who went out to check on some of his clients mining claims. It was reported that he may have made a sizeable donation hence the name may have come from then.

Kat – your local 'how fast can your fingers type' historian

July 28th, 2015



Black Gold Shootout 2014

Wow! What a sensational weekend.

Thursday started out good, sunny and warm shooting 4 stages of Wild Bunch in the morning before lunch and then the afternoon for speed events and warm up stages.

Into the evening and they held Cowboy Olympics. This involved a whole heap of fun and laughter amongst drinks!

Game 1 – Cans hanging from a frame, shot with a slingshot, now you can choose to shoot Traditional, meaning rocks off the ground or Modern with marbles.

Game 2 – take your pea shooter, a straw, and load Traditional with spit wads of paper or Modern with frogs eyes (the BB gun pellets).

Game 3 – then go a round with Hilary and Obama caricatures. Take your bow and arrow and shoot through their smiles, then ‘chunk coal’ through their smiles. Oh and you had to wear an Indian head dress (feathers in an elastic band, fruit of the loom off yer underpants!) and have an Indian name, so mine was Fanny Fosters Walkabout from the Crackatinni tribe!

Game 4 – was golf with a walking stick and ball pit balls. Hit into a flowerpot or you can try for the mason jar.

Game 5 -the final one you had to lasso a steers head on a bale of hay.

Hilarious, good times and nearly everyone there had a go.

The evening was finished off with a little too much drinking and dancing. The table and I met a few times going by the bruises on my leg and wish I had a picture of Whiskey Creek Johnson and Jackaroo doing a slow dance! Fun in Kentucky!!

Friday, feeling a little seedy to say the least was main match, 5 stages, now it really pays to listen when you don’t have a shoot book in the guncart. I can’t remember the last time I had a procedural but got one today much to my sheer horror! Jack had a sensational run!

The rain set in after we finished shooting and didn’t really let up into the night. That put paid to team shoots for the afternoon and instead we opted for the Motel and a Nanna nap.

We headed back out for dinner and the band. They had 11 entrants for the lying contest, a brownie and cake bake off and side match awards. And then came the band. Wow! These guys are a sensational Bluegrass band (Virgil Abolis?). Duelling banjos style!! Awesome!

A much earlier night getting back around 11.30pm.

Saturday, saw more rain on and off and the final 5 stages. Two train wrecks and a miss for me, shotgun re-engagements, pistol round the world and a miss. Hey! Had fun though! Jackaroo had a great match and finished clean!

We had team match in the afternoon when it wasn’t raining. Our team consisted of myself, Jack and Let’s Go. We shot a few times, switched up with other’s but at the end of the day no one could beat our sensational run! All plate knock downs alternate between static, run tip the other person onto the guy at shotgun and Texas star targets. 24.97 we ran!

Anyway Jack finished 3rd in category, clean shooter and finished 9th place overall! Congratulations to 2nd place Knob Creek Drover, and in 1st place Fast Eddie!

Congratulations to Lady Wranglers 1st Place Sue Render, 2nd Place Anita Margarita and Kathouse Kelli 3rd place.

Overall champions for 2014 Blackgold Shootout were Ladies – Dixie City Gal and Men’s – Missouri Lefty.

Saturday night finished off with Blackwater Desperado and Milkbone, their band out of Nashville. They played Lynnard Skynard, Joe Cocker and a whole heap of other stuff. Opened with ‘who stopped the rain’ seeing as it had been raining a good part of the weekend!

Thanks to the Jarvis family and Ponderosa Pines for a great weekend! To all of those who put in effort before and during, we take our hats off to you!

Kat xo






Welcome to Kentucky

Kentucky, home of unbridled spirit the sign says and birthplace to Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the US and famous for his Gettysburg Address.

Some 17 hours travelling time later we have made it to Kentucky. I can't help but think 'Justified' here seeing as I just finished watching all 5 series again, and wondering what's up in them hills!

Moonshine? Old whiskey runners and stills? Are the Bennett's running weed and are there really any bodies down mine shafts here? Just my over active imagination at play.

BUT there is coal in these parts and we are headed the next few days for Ponderosa Pines – Black Gold Shootout. Sitting right in back of what seems to still be a working coal mine.

It's gorgeous through Southern Kentucky up here to Manchester, it's winding roads, hills and an abundance of trees, and the weather is perfect. Well for today, next to no humidity and sitting around 79F/26C.

We found Ponderosa Pines and ventured in, coming out to a clearing, green grass, covered entertainment areas, a stage, a pond and then beyond the pond is the ranges. This looks like party Central and as 'Blackwater' said, “this is a party with a side match of a shoot!”

Too funny, this should be a ripper, looking forward to it. Pic's of the range tomorrow.

Cheers! Kat xo