Locals reminisce on celebrities visiting Mount Rushmore

Anya Mueller caught up with some locals who remember their experiences with some famous faces visiting the 4 famous faces.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Almost 25 years ago, Kevin Phillips with HomeSlice Media, recalls meeting voice actor and radio personality Casey Kasem, who hosted the American Top 40 for many years.

Kevin Phillips with Casey Kasum, courtesy Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips with Casey Kasem, courtesy Kevin Phillips

Phillips says, “We were an affiliate of Casey’s Countdown show, he was doing a bit with David Letterman called Pants Across America. And basically he took the bottom half of a mannequin with khakis on it, took it to different spots in the United States each day. That day was Mount Rushmore, so all he had to do was stand in front of Mount Rushmore show the pants and say ‘Dave the pants are at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.’ But gosh we got to spend the whole day with him and just had a blast, in fact behind me is an autographed cue card- the cue card he used. Casey was great, back in the limousine we talked about Mount Rushmore, I told him what knew which was quite a bit. And he was just the most gracious, humble celebrity I’ve ever met in my life.”

On the way to Mount Rushmore from Rapid City is the popular Black Hills destination Reptile Gardens, which many celebrities frequent on the way to the monument.

Joan Rivers at Reptile Gardens, courtesy Reptile Gardens Facebook

Joan Rivers at Reptile Gardens, courtesy Reptile Gardens Facebook

Spokesperson for the attraction, John Brockelsby, remembers one time, among many celebs, comedian Joan Rivers came for a visit.

John Brockelsby, Public Relations for Reptile Gardens, “My very favorite part of Joan being here I remember her saying ‘well I decided to do this road trip with my grandchildren and we decided to go to Mount Rushmore and I just wanted my grand kids to see some faces that moved even less than mine.’”

Mark Parker has worked at the at Mount Rushmore gift shop for 26 years and has seen his fair share of famous people visiting the monument, like presidents, musicians and actors, but he has one particular, fond memory to hold onto.

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Mark Parker, Retail Manager for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, said, “Probably my best story though- it was my first year and I was working ice cream my first year and Montley Crue was in town and I’m a huge 80s fan. And so Tommy Lee was dating Bobby Brown, she was the lady on the cherry pie video for Warrant at the time. She came in and I recognized who she was and I walked up to her and I asked her what can I get you. She said well you can get me and ice cream cone and of course there was a huge, long line that day and I went and scooped her the biggest ice cream cone that she probably ever saw in her life.”

Mark Parker, Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Mark Parker, Xanterra Parks & Resorts

But the best part of his job is admiring the carvings of the U.S. Presidents. Parker says, “The perk of my job is working at Mount Rushmore, they are the reason why we are all here.”

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