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October 7, 2011


Badger Clark

Badger Clark was named the first Poet Laureate of South Dakota in 1937 by then Governor Leslie Jensen.  His distinctive cowboy poetry was published widely during his lifetime in such notable publications as Sunset Magazine, Pacific Monthly, Arizona Highways, Colliers, Century Magazine, the Rotarian, and Scribners.


There is some that like the city –
Grass that’s curried smooth and green,
Theaytres and stranglin’ collars,
Wagons run by gasoline –
But for me it’s hawse and saddle
Every day without a change,
And a desert sun a-blazin’
On a hundred miles of range.

        Just a-ridin’, a-ridin’ –
Desert Ripplin’ in the sun,
Mountains blue along the skyline –
I don’t envy anyone
When I’m ridin’.

When my feet is in the stirrups
And my hawse is on the bust,
With his hoofs a-flashin’ lightnin’
From a cloud of golden dust,
And the bawlin’ of the cattle
Is a-comin’ down the wind
Then a finer life than ridin’
Would be mighty hard to find.

        Just a-ridin’, a-ridin’
Splittin’ long cracks through the air,
Stirrin’ up a baby cyclone,
Rippin’ up the prickly pear
As I’m ridin’.

I don’t need no art exhibits
When the sunset does her best,
Paintin’ everlastin’ glory
On the mountains to the west
And your opery looks foolist
When the night-bird starts his tune
And the desert’s silver mounted
By the touches of the moon.

        Just a-ridin’, a-ridin’,
Who kin envy kings and czars
When the coyotes down the valley
Are a-singin’ to the stars,
If he’s ridin’?

When my earthly trail is ended
And my final bacon curled
And the last great roundup’s finished
At the Home Ranch of the world
I don’t want no harps nor haloes,
Robes nor other dressed up things –
Let me ride the starry ranges
On a pinto hawse with wings!

            Just a-ridin’, a-ridin’-
Nothin’ I’d like half so well
As a-rounin’ up the sinners
That have wandered out of Hell,
And a-ridin’.


Rapid City is the second-largest city in South Dakota, Named after Eapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills  mountain range. The population was 67,956. Rapid City is known as the “Gateway to the Black Hills” and the “Star of the West”. The city is divided by a mountain range that splits the western and eastern parts of the city into two.

Rapid City also has a large amount of public sculpture on display in many parts of the city. The most visible is “The City of Presidents” – a series of life-sized bronze statues representing each of the American presidents. The statues are located on street corners in the downtown area.
These statues are being erected by public subscription over a ten-year period between 2000 and 2010.

PRESIDENT JAMES POLK 1845 - 1849 - After Thomas Jefferson, James K. Polk increased the size of the United States more than any other president through the acquisition of California and New Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American War. He also claimed Oregon Territory after a treaty with England. He was a key figure in Manifest Destiny. He was also an extremely effective leader during the Mexican-American War. He is considered to be the best one-term president. Polk’s wife Sarah Childress banned dancing and liquor from the White House.

PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT 1901 - 1909 - In 1884 he moved to the Dakota Territory and worked as a cattle rancher. These areas had not yet attained statehood when Roosevelt lived there from 1884–1887. Roosevelt owned the Elkhorn Ranch located near the town of Medora and on the banks of the Little Missouri River. Roosevelt quit the cattle ranching business after a cold spell in 1886 killed most of the cattle and made Medora a ghost town. From 1889-1895, Roosevelt was a U.S. Civil Service Commissioner. He was president of the New York City Police Board from 1895-97 and then Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1897-98). Roosevelt was a fiery individualist who embodied American culture of the early 1900's. His conservationism and willingness to take on big business are examples of why he is considered to be one of the better presidents. His progressive policies set the stage for important reforms of the 20th century.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN PIERCE 1853 -1857 - Franklin Pierce became friends with author Nathanial Hawthorne while they were students at Bowdoin College in Maine. Hawthorne would go on to write the official Franklin Pierce campaign biography, and in 1853, Pierce appointed him as United States consul in Liverpool, England. Pierce's son died in a train accident while the family was on their way to Washington to his inauguration in February 1853. Pierce was the first president to put a Christmas tree in the White House. He did so in an attempt to cheer up his wife who was still mourning over the death of their son. One issue that caused a lot of criticism against Pierce was the Ostend Manifesto. This was a document published in the New York Herald which stated that if Spain was not willing to sell Cuba to the U.S., the United States would consider taking aggressive action to get it.

PRESIDENT MARTIN VAN BUREN 1837 -1841 - Van Buren's administration began with “The Panic of 1837”, a depression that lasted until 1845. Over 900 banks eventually closed and many people went unemployed. To combat this, Van Buren fought for an Independent Treasury to help ensure the safe deposit of funds. Texas applied for statehood after gaining independence in 1836. If admitted, it would have become another slave state which was opposed by the Northern states. Van Buren, wishing to help fight against sectional slavery issues, agreed with the North. Van Buren is sometimes credited with creating the word "OK." Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York. During his campaign, Old Kinderhook (O.K.) clubs formed to support the president. Later, "OK" or "okay," came to mean "all right."




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