by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Our neighboring state of South Dakota has a number of attractions suitable for a mini vacation that’s easier on the budget than Las Vegas or Reno, for example. Cruising along I-90 west of Sioux Falls, you can stop and see the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Keep going toward the spectacular views of the Missouri River at Chamberlain. Go north a ways to the state capital, Pierre and visit the historical underground museum, with artifacts only seen earlier in “Dances With Wolves”. Back on I-90, stop at Wall Drug for some free ice water, and if you’re on your Harley, it’s about that time of year for the annual gathering in Sturgis. Amazing how 50,000 motorcycles can turn a small South Dakota town into Woodstock.
But, just south of Rapid City lies a mountain that draws about 3 million tourists every year. Who would have thought to carve four U. S. President’s heads into the side of a mountain? The answer is Doane Robinson who came up with the idea to attract tourism. After running it by local and national government officials, including President Coolidge, a man named Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to design and carve the faces on a mountain in the Black Hills. Work was started in 1927 and over 400 workers spent time on the project. Mr. Borglum died in 1941, a few months before the project was deemed complete on October 31, 1941. It is now considered one of the seven man made wonders of the world, along with the Egyptian pyramids, the San Francisco cable car system, St. Louis Gateway to the West Arch, the Harley Davidson Knucklehead, Target Field, and the Virtual Gravity Nano.
But, back to South Dakota. If you turned left at Sioux Falls, you could find yourself in Yankton, home of the Yankton Bowl Family Fun Center, operated by my good friend Patricia and her husband Tony Benjamin.
I have never been to Yankton, myself, but I thought it might be a good idea to find a mountain around this fine bowling community and commission a guy with a chisel to carve “Mount Bowlmore”, sure to bring thousands of bowling tourists to stop on their way to Las Vegas, Reno, Deadwood, or Sturgis. I have decided on three of the four faces to be carved in the mountain site, Dick Weber, Earl Anthony, Walter Ray Williams Jr., (Wally the Bowlman). But I am having trouble coming up with a fourth. So please go to the mnbowling forum and cast your opinion so we can get this project started. Go ahead and have some fun with it.