Video's courtesy of Lifewrx Media LLC
Hats Off to the Bicentennial Committee, Volunteers, Sponsors & City of Fort Pierre for a Great Bicentennial Celebration!
We are basking in the afterglow of the Bicentennial Celebration. Months of preparations and almost two years of planning paid off in a highly successful event. Even though we had no control over the weather, it didn’t throw too big a curve ball. In typical South Dakota fashion, Fort Pierre volunteers proved that when “The going gets tough; the tough get going.”
Dakota Western Heritage Festival and Stirling Ranch Rodeo experienced record attendance, possibly 3,000 people attended activities over the three days. Bicentennial Arts Festival vendors were well pleased with their sales, some selling more in one day than in two days at similar art festivals they had attended. Friday night’s steak feed fed over 600 people. A crowd of 600 people enjoyed the Suzy Bogguss concert Saturday night. The Expo Center was filled with a large crowd both Saturday and Sunday and the grandstand was near full capacity at the Stirling Ranch rodeo.
The historic parade through Fort Pierre was a once in a lifetime event with over 200 horses, wagons, riders and walkers. Two marching bands provided music and three stagecoaches added to the colorful parade of wagons. Viewers commented on how well organized the parade was. Kudos to Randy Seiler. A video of the entire parade was taken by the Pierre Chamber and is available for viewing on the Fort Pierre Development Facebook page.
The Bicentennial Celebration and the many events held all year long will have an impact on this community for years to come. It showed what a community can do when everyone works together for a common goal laying aside their own agendas.
Friday evening’s Bicentennial opening ceremony featured the retelling of Fort Pierre’s history capped with the introduction of descendants from the key figures in Fort Pierre’s past including descendants of Black Buffalo, Merriweather Lewis, Joseph LaFramboise, Pierre Chouteau, Jr., Frederick Dupree, James “Scotty” Philip, Lt. Commander John C. Waldron, and Casey Tibbs. These same families were recognized as they rode in wagons in the historical parade.
The wagon train that left the Stanley County Fairgrounds Friday morning in a light drizzle was made up of over 40 wagons and 200 people. Led by wagon masters Willie Cowan and Maynard Wagner, four generations of Cowans rode along on the tour of the hills west of Fort Pierre. Wagons from around South Dakota from as far away as Deadwood, Rapid City and Sioux Falls joined in the wagon train or historic parade.
The following thank you given by Julie Fieldsend, Stirling family member, pretty well sums up the impact of the Bicentennial:
“On behalf of the Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo Board of Directors and members of the Stirling Family, I wish to thank and commend all of you for the coordination, hard work and dedication to an incredible series of FPBCC series of events!!!!
As I walked the parade route on Friday afternoon, my eyes were tearing and my heart was pounding with pride that our family was raised in this great community!!!! The culmination of the 20th Annual Stirling Family Memorial Ranch Rodeo as part of the FPBCC is and will always be one of the greatest opportunities for all of us!!!!!
Thank you for our inclusion in the FPBCC and all you did to support our event along the way!!!!