South Dakota – The President

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we head to South Dakota to find out why they call it the Mount Rushmore State… well, that was an easy mystery to solve. The Coyote State is also the home of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, so let’s throw on some assless chaps and ride on through:

Motto: “Under God the people rule” – And what if these people are atheists?

Food: Chislic is lamb or beef kabob cubes grilled or deep fried. The dish is thought of as South Dakota’s unofficial State Food, having been enjoyed since well before the territory was even a state. My attention was piqued when I read chislic goes well with beer. Following your meal, why not try the State Dessert, Kuchen, a fruit and custard pie.

Drink: If the Sip Advisor ever gets to South Dakota, you can bet I’ll try to go through as many of the state’s iconic saloons as I possibly can. A highlight stop would be the rebuilt Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, where ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was slain (more on that later). Also, the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis offers burlesque dancers, little person wrestling, a zip-line and body painting.

Saloons

Site to See: Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the carved faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, the monument opened on October 31, 1941, after 14 years of work and at a cost of $1 million. The site is nicknamed the ‘Shrine of Democracy’. Over two million people visit Mount Rushmore each year.

Street: South Dakota has a number of popular scenic byways, allowing for views of Mount Rushmore (Iron Mountain Road), the Badlands (Badlands Loop Road), wildlife (Wildlife Loop Road) and other landmarks (Needles Highway/Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway). There’s also the Black Hills Run motorcycle ride, frequented by those attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

TV Show: Deadwood was a western drama, running for three seasons and 36 episodes of violent, curse-word filled entertainment. It starred Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, depicting real-life personalities from the lawless gold rush town. Years after the series was unceremoniously cancelled, a movie was produced, offering some closure to the show.

Movie: The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, takes place in the Dakota Territory. The film is about the real-life story of frontiersman Hugh Glass who looks to exact revenge on his companions after being attacked by a bear and left for dead. The movie was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning three, including Best Actor for DiCaprio.

Mount Rushmore

Book/Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family moved to De Smet in 1879. Their experiences inspired five of Wilder’s books from the Little House of the Prairie series (By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years). Wilder even met her future husband Almanzo Wilder in the city.

Fictional Character: While some Deadwood characters existed in real-life (saloon/brothel owner Al Swearengen, sheriff Seth Bullock, mayor E.B. Farnum, frontierswoman Calamity Jane, etc.) others were created for the TV series. This included prostitute Trixie, madam Joanie Stubbs, widower Alma Garrett, and Dr. Amos Cochran.

Fictional City: Rapid City, located in South Dakota, has been used by DC Comics in a few situations. Most notably, the Rapid City Monuments football team were among the many victims when the stadium of the Gotham City Rogues was bombed by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises movie. The scene, filmed at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, had the city’s mayor cameoing as a Monuments player.

Actor/Actress: January Jones (one of the best names in showbiz!) was born in Sioux Falls. She is best known for her role of repressed stay-at-home mom Betty Draper in the TV drama Mad Men, for which she was nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy. She also starred in the movie X-Men: First Class as telepathic supervillain Emma Frost.

Deadwood

Song: South Dakota Morning by the Bee Gees is a soft rock ballad that highlights the beauty of the state, particularly in the morning as the sun rises and shines down on the land. The song was released on the band’s 1973 Life in a Tin Can album, which sold poorly and didn’t chart very well, but was called Album of the Year by Record World magazine.

Band/Musician: Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, best known for her 1997 hit Sunny Came Home, was born in Vermillion. The track earned Colvin 1998 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Colvin has also done voice work on The Simpsons, as musician Rachel Jordan, a romantic interest for religious do-gooder Ned Flanders.

People: A number of notable TV personalities hail from South Dakota. This includes The Price is Right host Bob Barker (raised on the Rosebud Indian Reservation), Entertainment Tonight presenter Mary Hart (born in Madison), Access Hollywood and The Insider host Pat O’Brien (born in Sioux Falls), and news anchor Tom Brokaw (born in Webster).

Animal: With the Badlands National Park providing such a rich fossil bed, it’s no surprise some famous dinosaurs have been discovered there. This includes Sue the Tyrannosaurs Rex fossil, one of the largest and most complete skeletons of its kind, found by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson. The fossil now resides at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Bob Barker

Invention: The Cyclotron particle accelerator was invented by Ernest Lawrence of Canton between 1929-1930. The devices – more than 1,200 of which now exist – are used for nuclear physics experiments and nuclear medicine treatments for ailments such as cancer. For his efforts, Lawrence was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Crime: South Dakota’s most infamous murder happened in 1876, when folk hero ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was shot in the back of the head, while playing poker in Deadwood. Hickok’s card hand when he was murdered, pairs of aces and eights, is now known as the dead man’s hand. Jack McCall, who had lost heavily to Hickok the day before, was hanged for the slaying.

Law: In South Dakota, hotels must be outfitted with two twin beds, two feet apart and it’s illegal to make love between the two beds. That’s very specific and it should be on every South Dakotan’s (and visitors to the state) bucket list to break this law.

Sports Team: South Dakota has no professional teams in the Big 4 sports leagues. For athletic action, there is the University of South Dakota Coyotes and South Dakota State University Jackrabbits NCAA programs, which have enjoyed an intrastate rivalry with one another. It should also be noted, South Dakota’s State Sport is Rodeo.

Twin Beds

Athlete: Brock Lesnar was born in Webster. He is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, as well as an eight-time WWE World Champion. Known as ‘The Beast’, Lesnar enjoyed a successful amateur wrestling career, winning a NCAA heavyweight championship, prior to becoming a pro wrestler. He also tried his hand at an NFL career, trying out for the Minnesota Vikings.

Famous Home: The Ingalls Home and Museum (aka The House that Pa Built) from many of the Little House on the Prairie books can be found in De Smet. It was built between 1887-1889. Around the town, visitors can also find the location of the Ingalls Store, the school Laura Ingalls Wilder attended and the graves of many of the Ingalls family members.

Urban Legend: In 1973, five teenagers from Sioux Falls were attacked by three brothers, while camping at the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Iowa. Four of the victims, males aged 14-18, were killed, while a 13-year-old female was raped. It’s said the spirits of the murdered boys haunt the area, extending into southeast South Dakota.

Museum: The National Presidential Wax Museum can be found in Keystone. There, the wax figures of all 45 U.S. presidents can be found, posed in a recreation of a major moment from their presidency. These include George Washington being presented the U.S. flag by Betsy Ross and Richard Nixon greeting the returning astronauts from the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Brock Lesnar

Firsts: The first World War II memorial in the country was erected in Pierre in 2001. It features six bronzed statues from various branches of the military, saluting as they have returned from the battlefield, forever changed. They face the Flaming Fountain Memorial, which is dedicated to South Dakota’s war veterans. Both sites are located along the Capitol Lake.

Company: Wall Drug Store in the town of Wall, is among the world’s largest drug stores. Over time, the collection of cowboy-themed stores, gift shops, restaurants and other attractions (art museum, chapel, etc.) became a popular tourist destination, bringing two million visitors to the area annually. The store offers free ice water and 5-cent coffee to guests.

Events: The 1874 Black Hills Gold Rush brought thousands of people to the Dakota Territory, creating legendary mining towns such as Deadwood. As a result, the U.S. government attempted to purchase the land, leading to the Black Hills War of 1876, between Native American tribes and U.S. forces. Black Hills Gold is the State Jewelry of South Dakota.

Miscellaneous: A little more on the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which lasts for 10 days in early August. The festival began in 1938, centered on racing and stunts. Today, the gathering brings 500,000 to 700,000 people to Sturgis, generating $800 million in tourism revenue. This year, the event came under fire for its lack of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President

The President

  • 2 oz Light Rum
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I chose this cocktail as an homage to the Mount Rushmore monument. The recipe is similar to the El Presidente drink, with a couple alterations (OJ subbed in for Triple Sec and Lemon Juice rather than Dry Vermouth). A recipe similar to The President first appeared in the 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book.

February 7 – Lynchburg Lemonade

TV Injustice

It’s amazing with all the trash that airs on TV nowadays that some spectacular shows were never given a fair run and cancelled before they had a chance to gain an audience. Tonight, one of Mr. and Mrs. Sip’s favourite shows returns, as Community comes back to the airwaves with an abbreviated, delayed and, in all likelihood, fourth and final season. It’s really too bad Community was never given a fair shake, as it has a loyal following, but just can’t seem to gain ground in the mainstream. Here are some other shows that were treated poorly and unjustifiably lynched.

Community Superheros

Boomtown

Running for only 24 amazing episodes, this drama was critically acclaimed, but the audience just didn’t pick it up. The series featured stories told through the point-of-view of the various characters (beat cops, detectives, paramedic, reporter, district attorney, etc.) and that’s where they went wrong. The viewing audience just couldn’t handle having to put together a story by themselves (why do you think jigsaw puzzles have seen a drastic drop in sales in recent times? Okay I don’t know that for a fact, but I assume so since we’re all become brain dead from watching too much Real Houswives of Minnesota or some such crap). Instead audiences rather be spoon-fed their CSI Miami, CSI Las Vegas, and CSI Neptune formula crime dramas. (Note: it’s too bad CSI doesn’t take place on Neptune, at least it would explain why they are always looking for clues in the dark)

Arrested Development

Its original run lasted only three seasons, with a rushed 13-episode final season, in order to wrap up as many storylines as the writers possibly could. Nearly seven years later, the series is returning to the screen with a run of 14 shows, to be followed by a feature-length movie. Arrested Development is the kind of show when each time you watch it, you notice new things and you have to really pay attention to catch all the jokes… that’s exactly why it didn’t work for most audience members who would rather watch a bunch of losers with no personality or apparently dating skills, chase an attractive, but equally uninteresting woman on reality shows like The Bachelorette. Mr. Sip was once a contestant, by the way… I’m still a little bitter after being kicked off on the first episode of my season!

Arrested Development

Firefly

I am not a big Sci-Fi fan, but even I have to admit that this show was wonderful and deserved much more than the 14 episodes it was originally allowed to air. The Fox network bungled this one pretty bad, placing the show on Friday nights and advertising it as a comedy. Sure, there’s a lot of humour in the show, but drama and action were also integral parts of the series. Fan demand (or in this case nerd demand… respect them, when they make rare appearances in public, they come out in large numbers… just look at any Comic-Con event!) was so high for the show – with many people discovering it long after it had been cancelled – that a feature film was made, 2005’s Serenity.

Titus

For those that have never watched this show, I urge you to search it out and enjoy every moment of it. Starring brilliant stand-up comedian Christopher Titus, the show takes a sharp look at the dysfunctional family, which as Titus proudly states has now become the majority in North America. What is so special about white picket fences, anyway? Titus was one of many gems Fox dropped in favour of its rotating door of failures. (See Arrested Development and Firefly above, as well as Family Guy, Married with Children, etc.) I guess they also need space in their schedule for more American Idol audition broadcasts.

Titus

Deadwood

The fact that what would turn out to be the conclusion of this series was so anti-climactic still bothers me to this day. Of course, the producers didn’t know they wouldn’t be renewed for a fourth season and thought they had time to finish the story. I hate it when networks don’t let a show close out its storylines. They might as well be flipping all of their viewers over for a probing. I get it, production costs on a period piece are astronomical, but shouldn’t you know that when you get into that business? I kind of wish Al Swearengen had the chance to let loose on one of his obscenity-laced tirades against the HBO team that killed this fine show. Awesomely, the F-word was used nearly 3,000 times during the shows run of 36 episodes.

Drink #38: Lynchburg Lemonade

Lynchburg Lemonade drink recipe

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Triple Sec (I used Cointreau)
  • 1 oz Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Top with lemon-lime soda
  • Garnish with lemon wedge

I implore all my little sippers to enjoy the 13-episode offering of Community we will get this season. If you’ve never seen the show before, do whatever you can to get caught up. Illegally download it, steal the DVD’s from your local entertainment store… hell, hack into the NBC network if you have to …I mean er, go buy the DVD boxset as The Sip Advisor does not endorse or promote the illegal downloading or pirating of copyright material (PS: Do video stores even exist anymore?). Trust me though, (and I know you do), watch Community, it’s worth it!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
A great drink. I like sour and fizzy and this cocktail had that in spades. I don’t know if anyone playing at home noticed, but that’s a McDonald’s straw garnishing the drink with its yellow stripe. Thanks, Ronald!