The Price is Right in South Dakota!

“Help control the animal population. Have your pets spayed or neutered”

Bob Barker

State 14: South Dakota - September 3, 2017


We camped for two days to enjoy the prairies of South Dakota. We were well rested and ready for another day on the open road. Today we would drive across town to the South Dakota Hall of Fame, to visit the Cross Country Couple’s Famous Person for the state of South Dakota, “Bob Barker". Although Barker’s television career spanned 50 years, he will always be best remembered as the host of the Price is Right from 1972 to 2007; the longest running game show in North American television history!

Bob Barker was born on December 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington. At the age of 6, Barker’s father passed away in a work related accident. Barker’s mother moved the family to an Indian Reservation in Rosebud, SD where he spent the majority of his childhood. He married his high school sweetheart Dorothy Jo, went to college on a basketball scholarship, joined the Navy to fight World War II, and moved to California in 1950, to pursue a career in broadcasting. From those humble and tragic beginnings, Bob Barker would be become the most famous game show host of all time. Barker's lengthy list of accomplishments include: 19 time Emmy Award winner, Outstanding Game Show Host winner 14 times, 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award for Daytime Television, 2004 Television Hall of Fame, Time magazine's Greatest Game Show Host of All Time, Game Show Network Lifetime Achievement Award, and inductee into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

There is another side to Bob Barker which is not as commonly known. Bob Barker is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, animal rights activists of our time. His wife Dorothy Jo was a life time vegetarian, and Bob Barker became a vegetarian as well in 1979. Upon his wife’s passing in 1981, Barker decided to advocate for animal rights in memory of, and to carry on the work of his late wife. After hosting the Miss USA/ Universe pageants for 20 years, Barker resigned, after the pageant leaders refused to remove the fur prizes awarded to the winners. In a very controversial move for a TV host, Barker also refused to color his hair, because the dye was tested on animals. Barker founded the DJ&T Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars for animal neutering, and animal rescue facilities throughout the US. He donated 2.5 million dollars to establish a new west coast office in Los Angeles for PETA. In 2010, Barker donated 5 million dollars, to the Sea Shepard Conservatory Society to purchase a ship to combat Japanese Whaling hunting operations. Finally, he donated $1 million dollars to Columbia University School of law to support the study of animal rights, and fund a student clinic in environmental law. Perhaps Barker's most lasting and memorable contribution to animal rights was in the closing line at the end of each episode of the Price is Right, “Help control the animal population. Have your pets spayed or neutered”. Bob Barker was recently rushed to the hospital after sustaining a fall in his home. Our thoughts and prayers are with Barker, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Sadly, we could only find one memorial within South Dakota commemorating Bob Barker’s substantial professional accomplishments. Among his many achievements, Barker was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1980, so we decided to visit. Overall, the South Dakota Hall of Fame was unremarkable and greatly disappointing. However, we successfully found Bob Barker’s name among the over 708 other members, which was no easy task. There are 279 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame has 278 members. The North Dakota Hall of Fame has 43 members. After reading many of the South Dakota Hall of Fame Members bio’s, perhaps it is time the induction committee becomes a little more discerning with their nominations!

Upon leaving the South Dakota HOF, we meet back up with Rosie in the parking lot. I went on Facebook, and saw my Aunt Chrissy had commented on a newly erected Native American statue in Chamberlain, SD called Dignity. Ironically, I was currently in Cumberland, SD! I literally looked out the van window, and saw the Dignity Statue proudly perched on top of a nearby hill from our parking space in the South Dakota HOF. A quick Google search revealed the statue was located at the Lewis and Clark rest stop off exit 263 off I-90, and we immediately set in a course. Thank you for the tip Aunt Chrissy, and for a brief moment, it felt as if you were here with us on our trip. Nate and I love, and miss you and Uncle Tommy very much, and can’t wait to see you guys again!

Erected in 2016, the Dignity Statue is the result of a 1-million-dollar gift from Norm & Eunabel Mckie of Rapid City, SD to the people of South Dakota in celebration of the 125th anniversary of statehood. Dignity is over 50 feet tall, and stands on top a hill overlooking Missouri River. She symbolizes the courage, perseverance, wisdom, respect, and promise for future of the Lakota and Dakota people and their culture. Dignity’s face represents the melding of the of 3 Native American models profiles at 14, 29, and 55 years old. Her body is constructed with stainless steel, and she wears an 1850 outstretched quilt featuring 128 individual pieces of blue glass shaped in diamonds. At night, LED lights illuminate the diamonds, giving the appearance of the quilt fluttering in the wind. During our visit, there were over 200 people viewing Dignity. We felt extremely fortunate to have seen this magnificent work of art by chance only weeks after it’s completion. Our only regret was we would not be able to view Dignity in all of her splendor while illuminated at night. What a beautiful and fitting tribute to the Native Americans and Citizens of South Dakota. Please see the pictures below.

After departing Dignity, we drove 140 miles East to the state’s largest city, and home to 165,000 residents; Sioux Falls, SD. Since the cities is named Sioux Falls, we assumed there must be a waterfall somewhere in the city, and made a point to find it. Soon thereafter, we discovered Falls Park, which was a short drive from cities' downtown.

From 1881-1883 the Queen Bee Mill operated at the site of the current park, and its ruins can still be seen today. In the early 20th century a hydroelectric plant once operated along the river. What was once an abandoned industrial waste land, Sioux Falls expertly transformed it's decrepit riverfront into a destination.

We began our exploration of Falls Park on the wet and jagged boulders along the Big Sioux River for an up close and personal experience with the stunning waterfalls. Please see the pictures below.

Next, we headed towards the nearby 50 foot tall observation tower offering stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the Big Sioux River and the city’s skyline. Please see the pictures below.

After taking all of the pictures our memory card could hold, we exited the tower, and crossed a bridge over the rapids to the Falls Overlook Café’. The café is located in the building which used to house an old hydroelectric plant. The city did an excellent job preserving the character and history of the building, while re-purposing it into a functional space. While we did not eat there, we were very impressed with the healthy options offered. There is also an outdoor patio where one can dine while viewing the falls. Please see the pictures below.

Falls Park is the nicest local park we have come across so far on the trip. It was expertly designed, and a relaxing place to spend a lazy summer day. After leaving Falls Park, we drove to a nearby Walmart in Sioux Falls, SD, where we slept for the night.

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