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Mercer Documents Rushmore Firework Costs, Despite Reticent Team Noem

Never mind—the Noem Administration’s stonewalling of the media continues. The intrepid Bob Mercer was trying to get answers last year’s Mount Rushmore fireworks and the National Park Service’s kabosh on a repeat blast this year, and Noem’s tourism officials were too busy to answer:

State Tourism officials were asked several questions Monday and Tuesday by KELOLAND News for this story. They were busy with other duties and were working on responses, according to a spokesperson [Bob Mercer, “Federal Agency Charged South Dakota Taxpayers for Noem to Host Trump at Mount Rushmore,” KELO-TV, 2021.04.21].

So Mercer just has to settle for running his story on newly obtained documents showing that we the taxpayers forked over $470K to the National Park Service to pay for Governor Kristi Noem’s booming homage to her Prince of Darkness, that tubby shouting guy who was on the news a lot last year:

State government spending records filed with the state auditor office show the Republican governor’s administration authorized transfers totaling $470,000 — $300,000 on July 1, 2020, and $170,000 on July 22, 2020 — to the NPS office in Omaha, Nebraska. That information wasn’t previously disclosed.

…Fireworks returned to the public grounds of Mount Rushmore as a way to honor the Republican president, who at the time was running for re-election, and whose speech that night turned into a dark commentary on current American politics [Mercer, 2021.04.21].

Now, Kristi, don’t be offended by Bob’s characterization of the Rushmore speech as dark. You need to love Bob, and all those other reporters, along with your critics.

Mercer finds that our $300,000 payment on July 1 covered the following items:

State of South Dakota spending records for 2020 Mount Rushmore fireworks show, in Mercer, 2021.04.21.
State of South Dakota spending records for 2020 Mount Rushmore fireworks show, in Mercer, 2021.04.21.

Remember, this $300K and the unitemized later payment of $170K are just a portion of the $1.5 million total that we South Dakota taxpayers spent for last summer’s July 3 GOP party at Mount Rushmore. All we made back on that was an alleged $160K in sales tax revenues that came in thanks to the event (because without fireworks and Noem making a speech, nobody would have come to Mount Rushmore or Keystone or the Black Hills on July 3? Bunk and rot!).

Instead of government intervention, let’s try the free market again at Mount Rushmore. Instead of Kristi closing down the monument for some vanity show, let’s just leave Mount Rushmore open to everyone through the whole holiday weekend. I’ll bet even if we don’t rain fire down on everyone’s heads, Keystone and the Black Hills will see more tax dollars come rolling in this Independence Day weekend than they did last year with South Dakotans subsidizing a political rally.


  1. I’m No Dr. Seuss 2021-04-21

    Interestingly enough, “portable toilets” and “dumpsters” remind me of the previous administration.

    “Prince of Darkness” -classic.

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-04-21

    Jeez, I did watch that on TV, thanks all you South Dakotans who paid for it. I’m kind of wondering who payed for the little sculpture with trump on the mountain and who did it by the way?

  3. John 2021-04-21

    Brilliant work! Kudos to Corey and Bob.
    Just the facts.

  4. grudznick 2021-04-21

    It was a great bang for the buck. We should do it again!

  5. ds 2021-04-21

    Let Keystone, S.D. pay for a 4th of July fireworks display if they want it.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-04-21

    Your absolutely correct grudz, all the master debaters were there.

  7. grudznick 2021-04-21

    Mr. Anderson, I did not see Mr. H at the event, and if he was not only was he hiding but he did not write a blogging about being in the audience. So I do not think all the master debaters were there.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2021-04-21

    well…Half a million dollars and no Napalm Drop by the Blue Angels???

  9. Mike Livingston 2021-04-21

    I am shocked! What does it mean to be conservative?

  10. Tim 2021-04-22

    Mike, to be conservative these days means being willing to kiss the orange mans….ring.

  11. Donald Pay 2021-04-22

    And, the question is, how much does Noem plan to fork over to the feds to pay for this year’s fireworks display?

  12. jake 2021-04-22

    Grudz-you need to read and re-read again Mark’s second comment…
    Perhaps in your case it will take more than a couple re-reads, tho.

  13. John Dale 2021-04-22

    If most of SD wants the fireworks there, it would make sense to not have them since we’re not living in any kind of democracy at the moment.

  14. grudznick 2021-04-22

    Mr. Dale is righter than right.

  15. mike from iowa 2021-04-22

    Most if South Dakota doesn’t make decisions for National Parks and Monuments, including 100% of Grudzilla/John Dale dichotomy.

  16. grudznick 2021-04-22

    You don’t really know that now, do you Mr. mike? You are, after all, from Iowa, and not the Black Hills of the Great State of South Dakota, from whenc Mr. Dale and grudznick hail.

    For all you know, grudznick is the chief decision maker for the Minuteman Historic site AND the chief breakfast server at the Carver’s Cafe; and Mr. Dale is a frequent customer who tips well and give me great advice as sort of a Deep State within the Dept. of the Interior and his suggestions are taken very seriously. Very, very seriously. You don’t see any of the poles that put out the 5 Gs anywhere in the Badlands now, do you? Coincidence? Maybe not.

  17. Porter Lansing 2021-04-22

    CARVERS CAFE, Keystone – Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews …
    Search domain
    Kick​ off your morning w/ our “monumental breakfast,” which includes traditional favorites such as: hot cereal, eggs, omelets, hash browns, bacon, sausage & biscuits like grandma used to make. Lunch & dinner favorites include american buffalo stew, new england pot roast, fresh, farm-raised trout & sumptuous herb-roasted chicken.

  18. grudznick 2021-04-22

    Mmm. Bacon and gravy taters. Sausage. It is unfortunate the portions are not quite as generous as the Campbell Street Cafe and it is a further drive, or the Conservatives with Common Sense would stake out the fireplace seating every Sunday for our breakfast debates.

  19. Porter Lansing 2021-04-22

    Thanks for the tip, Mr. g.
    Campbell Street Cafe it is, next time I’m up in Fast Town.

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