Delegating Denver #46 of 56: South Dakota

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South Dakota

Total Number of Delegates: 23 Pledged: 15 Unpledged: 8

How to Recognize a South Dakota Delegate: Students at Sturgis High School are known as "Scoopers," and their mascot is always pictured with a shovel. The nickname dates back to the 1880s and was coined by the cavalry serving at nearby Fort Meade. It seems that even then, before the advent of the motorcycle, Sturgis was a party town. The residents knew when the soldiers got paid, and would "scoop" money from them as they rallied and drank. Perhaps this is where Philip Van Cise learned about tourism and graft. The Deadwood native became Denver district attorney in 1921 and single-handedly fought the con men who preyed on Denver tourists, along with the corrupt city officials who were in on the take. The Colonel, as he was known, was able to stand up to Denver's infamous Blonger Gang (and later the state's Ku Klux Klan) because he possessed the unique South Dakota characteristic of inflexible self-righteousness. From Hubert H. Humphrey and George McGovern to Russell Means and Cecilia Fire-Thunder, South Dakotans are a people who have a clear vision of all that is wrong with the world, and the lifelong single-mindedness it takes to make it right. In Denver, South Dakotans will be the delegates demanding that the 2008 convention be used to rewrite party rules and end the nonsense of super delegate corruption once and for all. Females will wear bright-red or blue blazers with unmatched slacks, accessorized with scarves tied around their necks. Males will wear odd combinations of polyester slacks and leather shirts or vice-versa. All will sport home-cut, windblown hairstyles with over-long bangs.

Famous South Dakotans: Lakota leaders Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, Lakota cheerleader Russell Means; USA Today founder Allen Neuharth; TV news readers Tom Brokaw, Mary Hart and Gary Owens; cheesecake actresses Mamie Van Doren, Cheryl Ladd and January Jones; singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin; corn palace mural artist Oscar Howe; canvas sphere artist Dick Termes; body-modification artist Fakir Musafar.

Famous South Dakota Democrats: 1968 Democratic presidential candidate and 38th United States vice president Hubert H. Humphrey; 1972 Democratic presidential candidate and former United States senator George McGovern; former United States Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle; Florida Democratic Party chairman Karen Thurman; 34th Nebraska governor James Exon; executive director of Stonewall Democrats Jon Hoadley.

Famous South Dakotans With Denver Connections: Rocky Mountain News political reporter Lynn Bartels; 40th District representative Debbie Stafford; corruption-busting district attorney Philip S. Van Cise; pro-assault-weapons lobbyist Dudley Brown; Metro Economic Development Corporation marketing director Janet Fritz; monotype artist Sharon Strasburg.

State Nickname: The Mount Rushmore State, the Coyote State, the Blizzard State (official); The Land of Infinite Variety, Pheasant Plucker's Paradise, the Everyone's Your Cousin State (unofficial) Population: 781,919 Racial Distribution: 87% white, 1% black, 9% Native American, 1% Asian, 2% Hispanic Per Capita Personal Income: $29,234 Unemployment: 4%


Most South Dakotan Denver Neighborhood: University Park

Most South Dakotan Bar: Sharp's Roadhouse 6496 Colorado Highway 2 Commerce City, Colorado A perfect balance of East River rock-n-roll and West River country biker to bring the delegation together. And so near to the delegate hotel!

Most South Dakotan Restaurant: Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs On the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street A dog for every day of the week (Alaskan reindeer dogs, Louisiana red-hots, Southwest Buffalo dogs, German white-veal brats). The line at the hot dog cart on Wednesday must mean it's pheasant sausage hot dog day. And, for dinner:

Potager 1109 Ogden Street Eating at Potager is like eating in a Paris bistro located in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Fransisco — and all right in the heart of Denver, which is like an oversized Rapid City, South Dakota.

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Best Day Trip: 14,067 (Mighty) Mo Mountain Seven hundred twenty quartzite markers, each about four feet tall and weighing 800 pounds, are spread one-half mile apart to demarcate the border between North and South Dakota. This restless westering urge, completed in 1892 to distinguish two new states from one territory, is completely at odds with a natural boundary that splits the land and people so clearly. The Missouri River should have been used to divide an East Dakota from West Dakota. The Mighty Mo, as the locals call it, separates South Dakota into the East River and West River regions. East is centered in Sioux Falls, west is centered in Rapid City, and their rivalry is as old as the hills. Fear not, however, for nothing demonstrates separation anxiety better than the Rocky Mountain geology of central Colorado. From the delegate hotel, take I-70 west to southbound I-25. Take the Hampden Avenue exit and turn right onto westbound U.S. Highway 285. It is 130 miles to Buena Vista. Once there, turn right (north) onto U.S. Highway 24, drive for fourteen miles and turn left onto Chaffee County Road 390 (at Clear Creek Reservoir) and continue ten miles up to the ghost town of Vicksburg. The trailhead is across the road from the scattering of historic cabins that remain of the silver mining town. The well-maintained trail climbs up Missouri Gulch to Elkhead Pass. Stay left when the trail splits just past the old miner's cabin at timberline. From the summit of 14,196-foot Mt. Belford, Missouri Mountain dominates the view to the west. To the north, Mt. Elbert rises twice as high as South Dakota's 7,242-foot Harney Peak. On a clear day, 28 of Colorado's 56 "fourteeners" can be seen from this spot. Look around and note that the area is littered with quartzite — not in the form of an imaginary boundary, but as ancient Precambrian fragments pushed up through thousands of feet of the Earth's crust and into the sky when the young and restless Rio Grande rift sliced its way north from the equator, tossing Colorado's tertiary salad with magma and ash flows blazing. Proving once again that neither stone fences nor geology can keep things apart when the forces of nature keep bringing us back together. -- Kenny Be

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