My next stop was Crazy Horse Monument. I had heard a little about Crazy Horse, a Lakota Warrior, prior to my visit, like he was this bad ass warrior who had a vision that no white man’s bullet would kill him and he always rode fearlessly into battle. Well the vision was right, he was not killed by a bullet but by some loser who stabbed him in the back. I had gotten some of his back story at The Battle of the Little Bighorn, which I was grateful for as I was disappointed by the information at the monument. It seemed to be more focused on the sculptor and his family than Crazy Horse, which I found ironic as the monument was to honor Crazy Horse and his people.
Regardless of the content I still enjoyed myself and was impressed by the size of the monument. Sculpting started in 1948 and is still unfinished to this day and probably will be for the rest of my lifetime. Apparently I can come back in 5 years and Crazy Horse’s finger that is pointing to his lands will be done being sculpted.
It may be painstakingly slow but all the sculpting is done by the family and is not funded by the government, meaning they rely on donations and your entrance fee to continue the project. A fun way to donate to the project is by contributing money in exchange for rocks that have been chiseled from the sculpture. This is an inexpensive souvenir and a great way for them to get rid of some of their unneeded rocks. I donated a few dollars and picked up a few rocks for myself and my rock-hound friend back home.
I took a bus tour for a small fee of $4 USD to get a closer view of the monument, this is in addition to the $10 USD entrance fee into the park. Although the extra fee was slightly annoying, I recommend taking the bus tour. $4 is minimal for you to get an up close view of the monument and some additional history about the monument and sculptor. According to our tour leader all of Mount Rushmore fits in the small spot behind Crazy Horse’s head so needless to say the monument is massive in size. I decided after I picked up Boomer from Rapid City that we would come back for the laser light show later that night. If you decide to leave and come back later for the laser show be sure to get your admittance ticket validated at the Welcome Center for your return visit.
I have read some complaints online regarding the fees to get in and the bus ride was expensive. Also there was mention that the monument’s lack of being finished or questioning if it was ever going to be finished. Sure there has not been much progress for awhile and even my comment about the finger taking 5 years to finish alludes to just how long things are taking. People often compare Crazy Horse to Mount Rushmore and that Rushmore is complete, so what’s the hold up with Crazy Horse? In my opinion there are two main differences between Rushmore and Crazy Horse. As I already mentioned, Crazy Horse has private funding vs. Rushmore’s government funding. When money is given to you instead of raising it yourself can always make things go faster. The second is the way Crazy Horse is being carved into the mountain is completely different from Rushmore. Rushmore’s figures are tight and against the mountain where as Crazy Horse’s arm is outreached and pointing. I believe even his horse’s head will be a challenge due to it’s position. Craving rock that is already difficult to manipulate in the first place, while taking into to consideration creating proper support to not have the entire thing crumble under the weight is not something I personally would want to be responsible for. So I say cut them a break. It is going to take a long time but wouldn’t you rather have it completed and intact instead of quickly done and broken? I am pretty sure there is no amount of superglue or duct tape that would be able to fix it.
I drove back to Rapid City and picked up Boomer, where he had been boarding. We were both happy to be reunited. He snuggled in next to me as we drove back to Crazy Horse. Thanks buddy, make me feel even more guilty about boarding you.
We arrived just as it was getting dark. I did not have time to get dinner before the show started and decided a tailgate dinner would suffice. I made myself a sandwich and remembered that I had several growlers of beer in my cooler, so I got a cup and poured myself a beer. All of the sudden a worker from the park approached us, saw Boomer and instantly came over to pet him. I tucked my beer behind the bed wall in case an open container was not allowed and chatted with the worker a little. He went on his way and all of the sudden I hear a noise “lap… lap… lap”. I look over in the direction of where I had put my beer… that punk dog stole my beer!!!