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
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
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
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.