May 27, 2022

1972 Rapid City Flood: 'Remember, Honor, Commemorate' (Website/Schedule/Stories)

Here is the schedule for the 50th Rapid City Flood and Greenway Commemoration June 5-10 with an emphasis on June 8-9.  Visit for additional details, history of the tragic event, impacts on the regon and the efforts to recover. The theme for this year's observance is 'Remember, Honor, Commemorate'.  The focus is on REMEMBERING the tragedy of 50 years ago and the 238 flood victims, the thousands who were injured and the hundreds of millions in property damage.  It is also on HONORING those lives and the work and efforts of citizens and volunteers that tragic night and in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead.  And it's to COMMEMORATING the decisions, efforts and work of community leaders and citizens in recovering from the tragic event and in protecting and preserving today's greenway that is filled with parks, playgrounds and pathways. The event changed the Rapid City and Black Hills communities forever!  A committee has been working on details for the 50th observance for several months.  The committee's mission is to reflect and remember one of the worst natural tragedies in our nation's history and at the same time share how the community's story of recovery and growth, with an eye to our future.






3 p.m.:                        ‘Remembrance and Renewal’

                                    A special musical performance by 15 of Rapid City’s most talented musicians

                                    Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center


10 a.m.:                       Flood Memorial Walk hosted by Rapid City Parks & Recreation

                                    Memorial Park Band Shell

10 a.m.-4 p.m.:           Collect Oral Histories hosted by Rapid City Public Library

                                    (Public invited to record memories of 1972 Flood for preservation)

1:30 p.m.:                   Flood Remembrance Blessing featuring Gerald Yellow Hawk

                                    Journey Museum and Learning Center grounds

2 p.m.-4 p.m.:            ‘Community Storytelling and Sharing’ hosted by Journey Museum

                                   (Community members invited to share their flood experiences)

                                   Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

2 p.m.:                        Library Author Talk, Rapid City author and flood survivor Troy Dobyns

                                   Community Room/Rapid City Public Library

4 p.m.:                        50th Flood Observance Bike Ride hosted by Rapid City Parks & Recreation

                                    Founders Park

4 p.m.:                        ‘Remembrance, Resilience and Rebuilding: Lessons from 1972’

                                    Dr. Stephen Hausmann

                                    Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

5:30 p.m.:                   Opening Ceremony of the 50th Flood Exhibit

                                   Stanford Adelstein Gallery/

                                   Journey Museum and Learning Center

6:30 p.m.:                   ‘Surviving the 1972 Flood’

                                   South Dakota Public Broadcasting documentary premiere presentation

                                   Wells Fargo Theater/Journey Museum and Learning Center

8 p.m.:                        Rapid City Municipal Band Concert

                                   Memorial Park Band Shell


10 a.m.-4 p.m.:           Collect Oral Histories hosted by Rapid City Public Library

                                   (Public invited to record memories of 1972 Flood for preservation)

9 a.m.-3:45 p.m.:       Panel Discussions with speakers discussing aspects of the 1972 Rapid City Flood

                                   (Public invited to attend rotating half-hour presentations)

                                   Ponderosa and Alpine Rooms/The Monument


                                                         **PANEL DISCUSSION THEMES**

(9-10:15 a.m.)             ‘Lessons Learned/21st Century Forecasting/Preparedness’ (The Monument/Alpine Room)

                                    Featuring National Weather Service, Emergency Management officials presenting

                                    what happened June 9, lessons learned, today’s forecasting procedures

                                    ‘Protecting the Flood Plain’ (The Monument/Ponderosa Room)

                                   Featuring staff from city parks, planning, public works on flood plain/greenway

                                  designations, efforts to preserve/protect City’s greenway areas

(10:30-11:45 a.m.)     ‘Preserving the Flood story’ (The Monument/Alpine Room)

                                    How the stories of the 1972 flood are being preserved for future generations

                                    ‘Guard, Base and Volunteer Heroes’ (The Monument/Ponderosa Room)

                                    Profiling the efforts of the Guard, Ellsworth AFB and businesses during and after flood

                                                         BREAK FOR LUNCH…

(2-3:45p.m.)                ‘Covering the tragedy’ (The Monument/Alpine Room)

                                    Featuring former media members about coverage of the flood and aftermath

                                    1972 flood: Historical context, landscape changes and other impacts panel discussion (The Monument?Ponderosa Room)

                                    USGS, SD Mines, Western Dakota Water officials discuss 1972 flood and impacts



4 p.m.:                        1972 Flood Storyboard Wall Dedication/

                                    Ribbon-cutting ceremony and program

                                    Summit Arena/The Monument

5 p.m.:                        Open House/Reception

                                    (Open time to view static photo displays)

                                    South Concourse/The Monument

6 p.m.:                        Dakota Choral Union performance

                                    LaCroix Hall/The Monument

6:30 p.m.:                   ‘An Interview with Mayor Don Barnett: Recollections of the 1972 Flood’

                                   Featuring former Mayor Barnett and long-time news anchor Jack Caudill

                                   LaCroix Hall/The Monument


2 p.m.:                        ‘The Day After the Flood’ featuring Mayor Don Barnett

                                   Hosted by South Dakota Historical Society

                                   Journey Museum Theater






RAPID CITY, SD—The City’s 50th Flood and Greenway Commemoration Committee has released its list of panelists, presenters and topics for the upcoming 50th observance of the 1972 Black Hills Flood.  Events are scheduled June 5-10 with an emphasis on June 8-9.

            One presentation is scheduled Wednesday afternoon at The Journey Museum and Learning Center with three sessions featuring six panel discussions scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Thursday at The Monument’s Alpine and Ponderosa Rooms.  The observance’s keynote presentation ‘An Interview with Mayor Don Barnett’ is scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. featuring Barnett – Rapid City’s mayor at the time of the 1972 flood – and veteran journalist Jack Caudill.

            For a complete schedule of events, visit .

            The Black Hills Flood of June 9-10 of 1972 devastated Rapid City and area communities, claiming 238 lives, injuring thousands, producing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and impacting the area’s future.  Panelists will discuss how Rapid City’s floodplain is being protected, how the greenway is being preserved from development and the historical impacts of flooding in the Black Hills.  Retired journalists will share their experiences on covering the tragedy while other panelists will focus on lessons learned by forecasters, how forecasting and emergency preparedness has changed since the tragedy, how flood survivor and volunteer stories are being preserved, and the role of the South Dakota National Guard and Ellsworth Air Force Base in the recovery efforts.

            “We are offering panel sessions covering a variety of timely flood-related topics,” said Committee member Darrell Shoemaker.  “Panelists will be exploring what happened 50 years ago this summer; what has changed when it comes to forecasting; the city’s commitment to preserving and protecting our floodway and greenway areas; how the tragedy was covered by the media; and the sharing of experiences from historians, analysts as well as those who experienced the flood firsthand.”

            Each panel session will include two presentations by panelists to rotating audiences.  “We want to give participants an opportunity to take in each topic during the session,” said Shoemaker.  “We know that a great majority of the people living in the community and area today weren’t alive in 1972.  But it’s important for everyone to understand the importance of this observance and what happened 50 years ago, from the lessons that were learned, listening to the stories and experiences of survivors and volunteers, but also recognizing that much of Rapid City’s beauty and what we enjoy today, was produced out of the tragic flood of 1972.”

            The sessions with themes, panelists, moderators, locations and times are listed below.


“Remembrance, Resilience and Rebuilding: Lessons from 1972”

Wednesday, June 8

4 p.m.

Journey Museum and Learning Center

(Moderator: Troy Kilpatrick)

A presentation on the 1972 flood and its impacts on the community and its residents, and the lessons learned.

Dr. Stephan Hausmann

Serves as assistant professor in history at University of St. Thomas. Expertise in 19th/20th century American History, Environmental History, History of the American West and Native American History.  Book manuscript focuses on history of the 1972 Rapid City flood and the roots of environmental injustice and urban inequality among Native American communities in the West.


“Lessons Learned/21st Century Forecasting and Preparedness”

Thursday, June 9

9-10:15 a.m.

Alpine Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Anna Hamelin)

Featuring National Weather Service, Emergency Management officials and long-time meteorologist presenting what happened June 9, lessons learned, changes in forecasting procedures.

Susan Sanders

Susan is Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, serving as a liaison to local public safety officials and media and providing training and presentations for emergency response agencies, schools, and the general public.  She has held this position at the Rapid City NWS office since 1995. 

Alexa White

Alexa is Deputy Director at Rapid City Pennington County Emergency Management. She joined the office May 2009 and has worked to grow and expand the education programs to the community by bringing awareness to the risks and hazards that have occurred and will continue to occur in Pennington County.

Bob Riggio

Bob’s career as a meteorologist in Rapid City spans from before the 1972 Flood to beyond Winter Storm Atlas.  He has forecasted the weather for Air Force pilots, government officials, industry and TV, has conducted cloud and rainfall research and reported about weather’s impact on air quality. He is author of ‘A Weather Legacy: Half-Century on the Job’ – a book about South Dakota’s weather.


“Protecting the Flood Plain”

Thursday, June 9

9-10:15 a.m.

Ponderosa Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Vicki Fisher)

Featuring staff from the City’s parks, planning and public works departments on flood plain/greenway designations, efforts to preserve and protect the greenway areas

Mary Bosworth

Mary has been with the City of Rapid City since 2006 and currently serves as Engineering Design Project Engineer and the City’s Floodplain Administrator.  Graduate of South Dakota Mines in civil engineering.  Has practiced in the engineering-related field for over 40 years.  Licensed professional engineer in South Dakota and is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).

Vicki Fisher

Vicki has worked for the City of Rapid City for 27 years and currently serves as Director of Community Development. University of South Dakota graduate w/degrees in Criminal Justice, Sociology, Mathematics and Psychology and has worked in the planning profession for over 40 years.

Jeff Biegler

Jeff has served as Rapid City’s Parks and Recreation Director for 10 years and has been in the field of Parks and Recreation for the past 38 years.  Born and raised in Rapid City, Jeff was a resident of Rapid City during the June 9, 1972 flood.  Oversees City’s three dozen parks and more than 1700 acres of park and greenway areas


“Preserving the Flood Story”

Thursday, June 9

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Alpine Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Greta Chapman)

How the stories of the 1972 flood are being preserved for future generations, featuring a local author, a researcher and a mapping analyst.

Corey Christianson

Corey has been employed with the Journey Museum and Learning Center for six years, most recently in the role of researcher. Throughout her tenure at the Journey Museum and Learning Center, Corey has researched and set up 14 temporary exhibits and made multiple presentations both online and at the Museum, with many of them on the topic of the 1972 Black Hills Flood. Degrees in History and English from the University of South Dakota and a masters in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma. 

Adam Weaver

Adam Weaver has served as an analyst for the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) since 2019.  The department provides mapping services, data and technical support to the staffs of the City of Rapid City and Pennington County, and to the public.  Weaver has developed a number of innovative mapping items including special flood mapping feature allowing online visitors to review historical and current information about sites along the 1972 flood path, now the site of the City’s greenway.

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper: Veteran journalist, serves as supervising senior producer at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Worked for Rapid City Journal, Mitchell Daily Republic & Daily Globe in Worthington, MN.  Authored ‘Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills’, a contributor to Fodor’s guidebook ‘The Black Hills of South Dakota’ and co-author of ‘Surviving the ’72 Flood’. Won a national Edward R. Murrow Award in 2021 for investigative reporting


“Guard, Base and Volunteer Stories”

Thursday, June 9

10:30-11:45 a.m.

Ponderosa Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Leah Braun)

Profiling the efforts of the South Dakota National Guard, Ellsworth Air Force Base and volunteers during the flood and the recovery in the aftermath of the tragedy.

John Moyes

John has served as the 28th Bomb Wing Historian at Ellsworth Air Force Base since January 2015.  His prior service in the US Air Force included as an AMMO Troop with service in Operations Desert Shield and Storm, to provide Comfort and Northern Watch.

Duke Doering

Since 2012, Duke been the historian for the South Dakota National Guard at Rapid City. Doering retired from a full-time National Guard career on November 8, 1999 as the Command Chief Warrant Officer. He was appointed as South Dakota’s First State Command Chief Warrant Officer in 1999. Began his military service as a Private E-1 on September 15, 1955 when he enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard with the 109th Engineer Battalion in Sturgis, SD.  After years in numerous enlisted positions, he received his appointment as Warrant Officer in July 1978.


“Covering the Tragedy”

Thursday, June 9

2-3:45 .m.

Alpine Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Helene Duhamel)

Retired members of Rapid City media share their memories of the flood and how the media covered the event and the aftermath.

David Super

Rapid City’s self-appointed “Mild-mannered Reporter” during the years he was editor of The Rapid City Guide. Sturgis native and Black Hills State University graduate, Super spent dozen years working for weekly papers in Sturgis, Sioux Falls and in Rapid City at “The Guide” from 1972 until 1982. Served in the National Guard’s 129th Public Affairs Detachment during those years, leaving Rapid City in early 1983 to accept an active duty assignment at National Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.  After retiring from military service, Super remained in the D.C. area as a defense contractor, concluding his working career as a licensed District of Columbia tour guide.

Bill Duhamel

Born and raised in Rapid City, Bill was part of the Duhamel family legacy in broadcasting which spanned 82 years.  After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Saint Louis, completed Ph.D in operations research at Stanford. Served several years as assistant professor at Northwestern’s School of Business then became Econometric Research Manager at Whirlpool Corporation. In 1967 Bill moved his family back to Rapid City where he became station manager for both KOTA Radio and KOTA-TV. Bill sold KOTA radio in early 2019.

Monte Loos

Monte moved to Rapid City in 1959 and worked at KRSD TV for three years, before moving to KOTA TV for a 50-year career as operations manager for Duhamel Broadcasting. Served on numerous broadcasting boards including the National Association of Broadcasters, the South Dakota Broadcasters Association. Named SD Broadcaster of the Year and received Tom Brokaw Award.

Jack Getz

Jack joined Rapid City Journal staff as law enforcement reporter in December 1969 and was in that position at the time of June 1972 flood. For seven years, covered police, state and local government, politics and outdoors issues then served four years as Journal’s copy editor, two years as assistant news editor and one year as news editor. In 1984, left to finish his master’s degree at University of Arizona. In 1985, signed first of 25 teaching contracts in Department of Journalism at South Dakota State University, teaching basic newswriting and public affairs reporting. Directed SDSU’s journalism internship program for 20 years. Retired in 2010.

Ned Leonard

While pursuing a journalism and broadcasting degree at South Dakota State University, Ned worked summers at the Rapid City Journal and in June 1972 was interning at Rapid Cable TV. When the flood knocked the cable system off-the-air, KIMM Radio detailed Ned to disaster response headquarters to convey official announcements over the next 11 days. Returned to KIMM as news director in 1973 and was Bureau of Reclamation’s public information officer for the Oahe project from 1974 until U.S. Senator George McGovern asked him to join his Washington, DC staff in 1977. In 1981, Ned began 23-year career in senior management at Western Fuels Association, where he became Assistant General Manager for Communications and Advocacy. Joined Center for Energy and Economic Development in 2005 as Assistant Vice President for Policy.


“1972 Flood: Historical Context, Landscape Changes and Other Impacts”

Thursday, June 9

2-3:45 p.m.

Ponderosa Room/The Monument

(Moderator: Michael Howard)

Officials discuss the 1972 flood, flood’s history in the Hills and flood’s impacts

Don Konechne

Rancher Don Konechne experienced the 1972 Black Hills flood first-hand, witnessing the impacts and devastation of 15 inches of rain on local creeks and tributaries.  He provided rescue efforts and witnessed the role of first responders in the rescue efforts.

Dr. Perry Rahn

Perry has been affiliated with South Dakota Mines and Technology since 1968, serving in the roles of assistant professor, associate professor, professor (1979-1997) and as professor emeritus (1997-present).  Professor Emeritus of Geological Engineering at SD Mines. He served as director of the Black Hills Natural Science Field Station from 1995 to 1999.  He has authored more than 150 publications and conducted dozens of research projects and provided dozens of consulting experiences on a wide array of topics including the impacts, effects and analysis of the Black Hills Flood of 1972.

Dr. Jerry Wright

Jerry experienced the 1972 Black Hills Flood first-hand and provided rescue efforts as a young man.  In his career, Jerry worked in the construction industry for 20 years, owning a business from 1975 through 1987 and then worked as division manager for the City’s Solid Waste Division from 1987 to 2010.  He served on the Rapid City Council from 2011 to 2017.

Obtained PhD in Civil Engineering from the School of Mines in 2019.  Served in the U. S Army, active and reserve, from 1971 through 1997 and 2006 through 2007



Login Form