Sure, housekeeping chores can be a real drag. Then again, it sure beats tidying up after 80 tons of dirt has been dropped in your living room. It’s been a busy month at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, and all signs show full speed ahead. As the annual Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo® wrapped up on Saturday, February 2nd, crews immediately began the massive, necessary changeover from cleanup to setup for the Northern Plains Outdoor Expo.
However, for Assistant Operations Manager Tom Barber, this definitely isn’t his first rodeo. “We’ve done this year after year, so everybody knows what we need to get accomplished,” says Barber. He explains that a crew of 65 employees has worked around the clock from Saturday night until Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Northern Plains Outdoor Expo vendors will begin moving into Rushmore Hall and Barnett Arena in preparation for the event’s kickoff on Friday.
While the changeover is a lengthy process, Barber says the most challenging aspect is simply removing all of the dust. Crews pressure wash all the walls and restrooms, removing millions of particles that coat the facility. The task has its benefits, too. “Usually when the dust goes, the smell goes out with it,” says Barber.
For Barber and his crew, the changeover from the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo® is the biggest of the year. “It’s definitely the toughest one to change over and get clean again, just due to the huge size and sheer amount of dirt left behind,” Barber admits. The task provides valuable experience for the rest of the year. Next week the team will quickly change the Ice Arena from a Rush hockey game to high school wrestling the following day. In March, staff will transform Barnett Arena from Monster Trucks to the much anticipated 3 Doors Down concert, and the next week will bring a changeover from Jeff Dunham to a Rush hockey game the next day.
While changeovers bring plenty of work for Rushmore Plaza Civic Center staff, it’s an undertaking we’re happy to tackle. Tight changeovers mean a full schedule and a variety of events for the community to attend. We look forward to hosting entertainment and events of all types in the coming months, beginning with the Northern Plains Outdoor Expo this weekend.
This Friday through Sunday, visitors will have the opportunity to browse the area’s most exciting selection of inventory under one roof, as well as a Big Buck, Bull, & Mt. Lion Contest, Live Auction, seminars, gun raffle, youth archery, gift and art area, and free kid’s activities, among others. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for kids ages 7-15, and free for children 6 and under. A $12 weekend wristband pass is also available for purchase. See you at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center!