Looking Forward - 10,000 Lakes Region of the WPC Club

October 2017

Kool Deadwood Nites

   By Garry Yazell

Mickey and I opted out of a national convention this year (WPC in Tacoma or NDC in San Diego) in favor of something closer to home, and I would say, more fun. We went to Deadwood, South Dakota for Kool Deadwood Nites, a four-day festival (August 24 -27) of car show, live music, parades, tourist destinations and incredible natural beauty in the heart of the Black Hills.  

We packed up the DeSoto and headed out the weekend before the show. We stopped at Mickey's family farm in Tripp, SD for a few days. This stop was conveniently halfway to our destination, 350 miles from St. Paul and 350 miles to Deadwood.  Some friends from Waterloo, IA were going to join us at the farm with their 1941 DeSoto. Unfortunately, they arrived in their modern car because the DeSoto broke down. Mickey's cousin from Kansas City came up to travel with us, and once we got to Deadwood we met up with two more of her cousins.  

Our DeSoto made the entire 1,400-mile trip with flying colors, getting about 18 mpg, speeding down the freeway through that long stretch of Dakota nothingness between Mitchell and Wall, home of Wall Drug. That was our first tourist stop along the way. Mickey and I have been there many times, but the Iowa people had never been. We then drove the remaining 90 miles to Deadwood, where Mickey's cousin Tom and his wife Julie hosted all of us in their beautiful home in the hills above the town.

Tom and Julie also have a shop on Deadwood's Main St. – “Madame Peacock's Beer and Bling”. The building is an 1894 bank that was converted into a saloon in the 1910s. The original mahogany bar is still there, and Tom serves beer to the gentlemen, while the ladies shop for clothing and accessories on Julie's “bling” side of the store. It's a fun concept and the store is very popular with the tourists. The store was central to all the goings-on in town, and the main stage was right outside the front door. The first night's (Thursday) musical show was Jay and the Americans, and the street was packed with hundreds (thousands?) of people. Mickey's cousin Mark and I played bartender for a while to help out, at the height of the beer frenzy.

Friday morning we car show participants had a very nice buffet breakfast at The Lodge, the biggest, fanciest hotel/casino in town. Deadwood's slogan is “No Rules, No Regrets” from its early days as a gold rush town, and in that vein there are 24 casinos in the town, which has a population of about 1,300. The population swells to about 4 - 5 times that when there is an event, and there is an event almost every month. It is a very robust tourist/party town.

After breakfast, there were several driving tours (Mt. Rushmore, Spearfish Canyon, Devil's Tower), but since we have seen all those places we decided to spend the day in town, seeing the local sights. There are excellent museums, and the cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok is buried is on a hill overlooking the town. The whole town is a registered National Historic Landmark, and everywhere you turn there is something interesting to see or do.

Saturday was a perfect day for the car show, held at the new rodeo grounds/sports complex on the north edge of town. There were 1800+ cars registered, but only 400 or so were on the show field. There were lots of muscle cars and rods and customs, but there were many classics, too. Ours was the only DeSoto, but there was a beautiful '57 Dodge with fins almost as big as ours. The awards ceremony was in the late afternoon at the town square, and afterwards a BBQ was held at the Deadwood Gulch Casino. The music on Main St. that night was a Beatles cover band, and they were really good.

Sunday was the morning parade through town and south to the next town of Lead (pronounced 'Leed', even though it was named after the open-pit lead mine there), through Lead and back to Deadwood, where cars then parked all up and down Main Street for “show-and-shine” from 10:00-2:00. Dennis Gage, host of the TV program “My Classic Car” was visiting and filmed the goings-on, and he spotted the bright chrome rear bumper of my car. I don't know if he has a soft spot for DeSotos, or just likes shiny objects, but he zeroed in on the car and stopped to interview me about it, and his cameraman took lots of video. The program featuring Kool Deadwood Nites will air on the Velocity or MAVTV channels sometime early in the new year. See www.myclassiccar.com


Submitted by Bob Smith, Sept 19, 2017, for Period June 19, 2017 to Sep.19, 2017

Checking Account Balance June 19, 2017                                                    $2,848.66


7/10    Membership dues       $20.00

8/2      Membership dues         20.00

8/14    Car show receipts       240.00


                                 Total      $280.00


7/17   Mar.-Jul. newsletter    $224.19

8/13   Car show plaques         176.75

8/13   Garry Yazell-reimburse  40.00

                                  Total       $440.94

Checking Account Balance on Sept 19, 2017                                               $2,687.72


Pending $74.00 check to Iaccoca Family Fund from car show profits.