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Days of 76: Spirits of Deadwood

Original 33” x 17 1/4” inch gouache painting. Official 2004 Art for the Black Hills Stock Show Foundation. By Artist Mick Harrison, features early day organizers and characters of historic Days of 76 in Deadwood, SD. Custom framed & plated by Perfect Hanging Gallery. *Donated in part 

The Foundation reaches back into the past of the historical Days of ’76 for its fourth in a series of The Great American Cowboy original art and limited editions prints.

Well known cowboy artist Mick Harrison has created a one-of-a-kind image, a certain wild ride boldness mixed with subject detail.

An old ’76 chute gate is the backdrop for this action packed painting that depicts early day organizers and personalities  of the "Days of ’76: Spirits of Deadwood".

Information on people included in Days of ‘76: Spirits of Deadwood” 
   * All are deceased except for Rosie Ridley and Chief David Bald Eagle

Eddie Rypkema:  Was General Chairman of the Days of ‘76 committee more years than any other person in the history of the celebration.  He was a serious businessman and he brought serious business principles to the Days of ‘76 organization.  Eddie was never afraid of change as long as the change pointed to progress.

Russ Madison:  Was known in the Midwest as “Mr. Rodeo”.  He furnished rough stock for the Days of ‘76 for many years, his son Gene, for many more after that.  There have been many stock contractors over the years at Deadwood.  The significance here of Russ Madison and Deadwood is that during this tenure, the rodeo part of the celebration moved from being a “show” to being an organized, competition rodeo as we know rodeo today.

Ezra Bachand:  Days of ‘76 history says that as long as the Cheyenne Stage (the big stage) has been used in the celebration, that a Bachand has always been in the driver’s box, in the front boot.  Ezra drove the stage for many, many years.  His father drove before him.  Ezra’s son Mark drove for over 20 years and now a cousin of Mark’s, Mike Bachand continues the legacy.

Lew Keehn:  Loved Deadwood, SD in general and the Days of ‘76 celebration in particular.  He fought long and hard to perpetuate the past, present and future of both in a very large way.  No one cared more for the Days of ‘76 than Lew Keehn.  He and others in early day Deadwood encountered a fair share of hardship including a declining business community and the ever-present danger of fire - both of which directly touched his business, the Old Style Saloon #10. Yet the “Spirit of Deadwood” prevails through the vision and determination of people like Lew Keehn.

Bud Bowen:  His family recreated authentic oxen powered travel, “bull teams”, as they were called and brought them to the Day’s of ‘76 Parade and Rodeo for decades. These exhibits consisted of big, high (wooden) wheeled wagons, pulled by two yoke (4 head) of oxen, up to 8-9 yoke (16-18 head) depending on the year.  They used big, colorful, Longhorn steers and the pictures of these units were invaluable over the years in advertising of the Days of ‘76.

Bat and Rosie Ridley: Were involved with the Days of ‘76 for many years.  Bat came to his first Days of ‘76 from Oklahoma in 1942 as a rodeo contestant, roping calves and bulldogging steers.  An important part of their married life involved helping with the Days of ‘76.  Rosie secretaried the rodeo for 50 years and Bat served as General Chairman and was on the executive committee for many years.  Together, their selfless devotion to Deadwood and never ending support was truly the “Spirit of Deadwood.”  Ridley is a recipient of the 2003 Tom Didier Pioneer Award.

Pat Roberts:  And his family from Whitewood, for many years secured work teams from the surrounding area to be trailed to Deadwood up through Centennial Valley for use to pull wagons in the Days of ‘76 Parade.  Because the ‘76 event was billed as “all horse drawn”, supplying 50-70 head of work horses was a very important link in the success of the celebration. A member of the Roberts family has been involved in some capacity, since its beginning.

Chief David Bald Eagle:  Has been to every Days of ‘76 for 65 years.  It is with pride as an American that he carries out his duties every year at the Days of ‘76 celebration, leading the parade with our nation’s flag, (he is a WW II veteran), leading a native dance group during the rodeo performance, and helping where needed.  The Lakota traditions are well represented by him.  Bald Eagle is a recipient of the 2003 Tom Didier Pioneer Award.

For more information see "Days of '76: Spirits of Deadwood" Captured on Canvas Press Release.

 

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For Questions Or For More Information:
Black Hills Stock Show Foundation, Inc.
444 Mt. Rushmore Road North
Rapid City, SD 57701

Phone: 605-718-0810
email:
foundation@BHSSF.com

The Black Hills Stock Show Foundation is a non-profit organization. As part of its mission of "Preserving The Legacy, Investing In The Future,"  the Foundation is dedicated to supporting youth in higher education and organizations, programs and projects that enhance services and education to the public.