The Days of 76 Rodeo Grounds get a face lift

DEADWOOD, S.D. – The 19th-century cowboy charm of the Days of ’76 Rodeo Grounds is getting a 21st-century update.

Days of '76 Rodeo grounds

Days of ’76 Rodeo grounds

Days of '76 Rodeo grounds

The rodeo grounds were established in 1880, as the Deadwood Amusement Park.  The iconic grandstands date back to the 1930s and were built using Black Hills timber by President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program during the Great Depression.

Modern amenities have been added over the years with restrooms and concession stands. The City of Deadwood along with the Deadwood Historic Preservation Office have recently embarked on a series of improvements to make the rodeo grounds and the Deadwood Event Complex a state-of-the-art multi-use entertainment facility.  The improvements are funded through the City of Deadwood gaming revenues.

“There are a lot of activities that use that historic venue down there and so we want to continue to invest in that for the future while we are protecting our past,” said Kevin Kuchenbecker, Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer. “There’s a lot of history in that arena.”

The major transformation will include added premier seating above the bucking chutes with a birds eye view of all the action behind the chutes.  The seating will include ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access. An additional bar will be added beneath the VIP grandstands, as well as, storage and a green room or office for all events.  A big screen tv will also be added for instant replays and close up views of the live action.  All of the improvement will enhance but not take away from the rodeo grounds Old West charm.

“Every improvement they are doing down there is going to make the fan and visitor experience even better.  We are excited that the City of Deadwood has taken on a lot of theses challenges and really making the Days of ’76 Complex a little more of a world class facility,” said Lee Harstad, Executive Director of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce.

The improvements are scheduled to be completed just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Days of ’76 Rodeo, July 24-30, 2022.  The hallowed rodeo grounds have hosted millions of visitors for the historic event over the years.  Through the years the event has been named the PRCA Small Outdoor Rodeo of the Year, PRCA Midsize Rodeo of the Year, and most recently PRCA Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year.

“We encourage the residents of the region to get their tickets early,” said Kuchenbecker. “Deadwood has been very busy.  We’ve had sell out crowds over the past few years, so make sure to plan ahead.”

Other events that the Deadwood Event Complex hosts include monster truck show, snow cross, motor cross, PRCA Badlands Circuit Finals Steer Roping, Back When They Bucked and the PBR.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News, South Dakota News