Crazy Horse is Crazy

Now, on to mountain stuff now that we had our Hill City experience complete with parrots!

On our way to Custer State Park, we stopped by Crazy Horse.

Hill City to Crazy Horse Map

Hill City to Crazy Horse Map

We both thought it was going to be way more awesome than it actually was. Not only is it still under construction (so there isn’t much to actually see), but it’s a tourist trap! There’s a mini-Disneyland built around the monument to spend your time without actually going to see the monument. There’s several museums, a video screening room, gift shops, souvenir shops, snack shops, a restaurant, a Native American dance display, a bus ride to the base of the monument (which costs extra, mind you), a mini-statue in its finished state, and an homage to the sculptor’s family. On top of that you get the pleasure of paying $11 EACH (not per vehicle) to gain entry and waste your time.

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse has been under construction for over 50 years (and still has another Century *at least* to go). 2 generations of the original sculptor’s family (Korczak Ziolkowsk, now deceased) have now been devoted to building the monument (kind of sad, really). We learned about each of his 10 sons and daughters in excruciating detail in the film (totally unnecessary). Once they got through telling the life story and function of son #3 we took our leave….did he really have this many children just so they could all work at the monument and continue his work? Or is it just that boring in this part of the country that the only recreational activity besides hiking is sex?

Probably the best part of the film was understanding just HOW the mountain was carved – through explosives and physics. I wish they spent more time on that rather than on the sculptor, who was actually quite boring and had too much talking time and nothing interesting to say.

While we get and resonate with the mission of the Crazy Horse Memorial – “so the White Man would know the Red Man has great heroes also” – we thought it was a little petty to get in to a dick measuring contest with Mount Rushmore, right around the corner. “Take that – we’re going to build a BIGGER and BETTER monument than yours” … but it will never be finished. Just sad really.

That said, I resonate with how hurtful it must have been to the Native Americans to have to live with the faces of their conquerors and destroyers plastered into their most sacred land (thanks to Leslie Belay for that epiphany). But is another monument really going to solve that?

Below is what Crazy Horse would look like if it actually gets finished.

Crazy Horse Finished

Crazy Horse Finished

What we concluded at the end of all this is Crazy Horse is crazy. Why don’t they just ask the government for money to finish it already? Once finished (if it ever gets there), it could be pretty cool – especially if they let you hike around/on it (they only let people do this once a year in late September during the Autumn Volksmarch). But now, my advice is just snap a picture from the road and get on your way. There are much better things to do in Custer State Park.


About therestlessroad

The tar in the street starts to melt from the heat And the sweats runnin’ down from my hair I walked 20 miles and I’m dragging my feet And I’ll walk 20 more I don’t care And I’ll wander this world, wander this world Wander this world, wander this world all alone I’m like a ghost some people can’t see Others drive by and stare A shadow that drifts by the side of the road It’s like I’m not even there And I’ll wander this world, wander this world Wander this world, wander this world all alone Well I’ve never been part of the game The life that I live is my own All that I know is that I was born To wander this world all alone, all alone Some people are born with their lives all laid out And all their success is assured Some people work hard all their lives for nothin’ They take it and don’t say a word They don’t say a word Sometimes it’s like I don’t even exist Even God has lost track of my soul Why else would he leave me out here like this To wander this world all alone And I’ll wander this world, wander this world Wander this world, wander this world all alone –Jonny Lang, “Wander This World”

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