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Noem Says Tourists Come to South Dakota for Freedom; Freedom Fest Goes Back to Las Vegas

Governor Noem tweeted Wednesday that “South Dakota leads the nation in tourism fgrowth because we respect our people, their rights, and their freedoms.” That blurb was a warm-up for her big Friday propaganda piece on South Dakota tourism, which itself is a warm-up for National Travel and Tourism Week next week.

The Governor’s much-espoused love of Freedom™ (which is code for, “We’d rather make a buck on tourism than prevent deaths from coronavirus) explains how she got the organizers of Freedom Fest to abandon Las Vegas and hold their 2021 libertarian rally in Rapid City. Noem got to speak there, as did Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, which Noem has put in charge of rewriting South Dakota’s social studies standards.

But South Dakota’s respect for rights and freedoms must have only a fleeting pull on the Freedom Festers. Even though the racist Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City has been promoting Freedom Fest continually (most recently just four days ago, on April 25) in its cycle of Twitter tourism posts, Freedom Fest won’t be bringing the Grand Gateway or any other Black Hills hotelier any business this year. Freedom Fest is going back to Vegas this year:

Freedom Fest, web banner for 2022 event in Las Vegas, screen cap from 2022.04.29.
Freedom Fest, web banner for 2022 event in Las Vegas, screen cap from 2022.04.29.

Freedom Fest 2022 is planned for July 13 through July 16 in Las Vegas at the luxurious Mirage, where rooms range from $79 Tuesday night, July 12, to $371 Friday night, July 15, with an additional $39 resort fee each night (though Freedom Fest can get you special event rates ranging from $98 Tuesday night to $178 on Friday night and knock $10 off each night’s resort fee). That’s in addition to the $499 pre-registration rate available through June 30.

Maybe Freedom Fest just wanted to pop back to Las Vegas for one last shindig at The Mirage before Hard Rock Entertainment, which is buying the place for $1.075 billion, bulldozes the volcano out front and remodels it into who-knows-what. Then the Freedom Festers will flock back to South Dakota where they discovered all that Freedom™ from Censorship and Statism and Taxation that Kristi Noem offers.

Or maybe “freedom” as a lasting tourism draw was the real mirage….


  1. leslie 2022-04-29

    “…rather make a buck on tourism than prevent deaths from coronavirus”

    Even in very conservative states like Utah, Tennessee, Alabama, and Wyoming, GOP governors, along with hospital associations and state Chambers of Commerce, support Medicaid expansion as a way to garner subsidized profits and new revenues for their states. But the Koch strategy calls for all-out opposition to any and all expansions of public social spending.
    The Koch network has opposed business associations as well as majority popular opinion in ongoing state-level battles over acceptance of new federal funding to expand Medicaid under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
    (See 2016 Harvard white paper, p38, link in DFP Wealth redistribution thread)

  2. Mark Anderson 2022-04-29

    She’s Killer Kristi Cory. Freedom from vaccines, face masks, social distancing. Why do you think venereal diseases skyrocketed in So Dak? Killer Noem killed from indifference. All the pubs like killing and they made America the leader in death from Covid.
    Just compare Australia a nation of over 25 million people, they had half the deaths of South Dakota. Really not amazing when you look at it. Compare the miniscule number of deaths in New Zealand with over 5 million people. They had an actual female leader who did things, not so in So Dak.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2022-04-29

    It seems to me the Governor has modeled her career on tele-evangelists and big tent preachers of the Pentacostal persuasion and is reaping the whirlwind. Very popular now, but a long way to fall from grace. She can be all over the map. From wet T shirt loving bikers, to far right religionists all are deserving of a spot under her tent. Lots of Drama, Not much substance, and little or no actual governing. Smoke and mirrors.

  4. cibvet 2022-04-29

    These are just anarchists are the white wing of the repub party whose beliefs make them
    complicit in the racism, bigotry,and greed that is prevalent in the US and world wide.
    On the bright side, they die right along with everyone else, but the down side is the
    chaos they cause before becoming worm food.

  5. Willy 2022-04-29

    Noem’s statements are so funny, I think she’s trying out for the a new character for the Williams and Ree act: super-fascist/racist. She probably can’t sing, so that’s against her. That and her stupidity. (Sorry, Williams and Ree, you don’t deserve the association I just made.)

  6. John 2022-04-29

    It’s my highest wish the US would establish a “registry of collaborators” with the trumpian treason of January 6th.
    Then make the list public. Ensure Noem, et al are high on the list.

    It’s beyond belief why Gen Flynn and the 134 traitor generals who signed the ‘reinstate trump letter’ are not court martialed and imprisoned. Democrats are woefully incompetent to prosecute political crimes and it may well be their downfall and the downfall of the nation.

    Zelenskyy, almost coincidentally to the WAPO article, above, had an interview with Polish press. Zelenskyy said that Ukraine will seek international prosecution of Russian and Ukrainian war criminals, but if some folks disappear in the night – so it goes. He understands the raw emotional of Ukrainians and their hesitancy to embrace systems that failed them. I favor justice. Sometimes the means is uneven.

    Read, How Civil Wars Start to gain a deeper understanding. The democrats model of virtually no accountability, bolstered by congressional theater is a recipe for national disaster. Lix Cheney gets it. Adam Kinzinger gets it. Why do not democrats get it?!

  7. DaveFN 2022-04-29

    “Someone once said, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” I could not agree more.”

    [Noem’s propaganda piece of the week, cited by Cory: }

    Noem’s travel makes South Dakota taxpayers poorer, however much it enriches Noem. Any other State employee doing unauthorized travel would likely be subject to discipline and dismissal.

  8. All Mammal 2022-04-29

    The greatest way to express the claim that South Dakota, “respect[s] the people, their rights, and their freedoms” is to honor their vote.

    “South Dakota leads the nation in tourism growth because lie, lie, lie..” should go more like:

    “South Dakota leads the nation in tourism growth because we are willing to sell out our goods. For cheap. We’ll pay $10 for every little tail ripped off any critter hungry for pheasant eggs so you can waste asian ring-neck pheasants to your heart’s content. We will sell off our very last bighorn sheep to the highest bidder to mount on his wall. We will burn down our own beloved, sacred Black Hills for a patriotic pyro spectacle. And, if you want a keepsake, nab a kid to take as a souvenir. We don’t take a headcount of certain ones.”

    Unless you’re not super right. Then it’s, “Come on vacation, stay in incarceration, and leave on probation.”

  9. sx123 2022-04-30

    Not sure how SD is any more free than most other states. Still have speed limits, must get building permits, can’t beat your spouse, can’t kill (*cough*), can’t steal, etc.

  10. V 2022-04-30

    Yes All Mammal, tourism focuses on using and destroying the resources that don’t even belong to the establishment. As a geographer, I’ve observed the destruction of the environment ever since the dams were built however with Noem and her gun loving all ag lifestyle, I am sickened by such heartless waste. She exemplifies the worst of American exceptionalism, right up there with nationalists who later turned their heartless attacks on people.

    Our humane society in town saves the lives of animals who people have abused. We also have a woman’s shelter. A town of 3200 in S.D. needs these two shelters. Noem loves to slaughter animals and hang around with abusers. Hmmmmmmm

    During the pandemic, we had hundreds of state park campers from all over the U.S., none wearing masks in our small town and many who came here just because we were an open state. Of course, many heard it on Fox News from the wiliest governor of all. And rally riders came through doing the same thing. So, I blame Noem for the death of people I know who worked in the hospitality business and our elders who died of exposure from the outside.

  11. grudznick 2022-04-30

    We don’t want the freedomfesters here in Rapid City, even if they were at that crappy hotel. Which I thought we got closed. If they are opening up again I sure hope the Indian Collective marches again.

    And we don’t want more tourists either. They all need to stay out of South Dakota and go somewhere else.

  12. mike from iowa 2022-04-30

    Freedumb for Trans people and women of child bearing years? Not so much.

  13. Jenny 2022-04-30

    I agree sx123. “More freedom” in SD is really code for letting employers rip you off from the wages a worker deserves and the freedom of an employer to fire you on the spot for no reason at all. Ahh, the freedom of living in a right to work state. (Go MN Unions – thank you for protecting worker’s rights!).
    ” More Freedom” in SD also means not letting LGBT youth live peacefully without being harassed by the SD Legislature every year.

  14. Donald Pay 2022-04-30

    Grudz, are you giving up your imported after-breakfast “Maga Muffins?” I just heard that twist of words from Tiffany Cross, applying to females who identify with the male misogyny, racism and homoerotic homophobia of Trump and the Make America Great Again culture. Noem and women of that ilk would be considered a “Maga Muffins.”

    I can’t wait for the SNL skit on that.

  15. grudznick 2022-04-30

    Mr. Pay, you have confused poor grudznick. I’m feeling quite addled these days and your muffin teasing is just mean.

  16. ABC 2022-05-01

    I agree with Bob Newland. Something’s gotta give! (See the movie–Jack Nicholson falling in love?)

    For apartheid states, we have the Longest one Party reign in recent US History, 44 years and counting!!! (Yes, even Alaska and Utah . Utah had a Democratic Governor until 1985 !)

    We’ve had Denny Repeal Ethics Law That We Passed Daugaard and Kristy Covid Noem lately.

    It’s gonna give!

    What are the possibilities?

    I see two.

    1. Is a one-off snowstorm in June 4 year run of a Democratic Governor and a Republican legislature. (Without the Democratic Governor
    using that cuss word BiPartisa* )

    2. A better outcome. With the Republican Party now fighting within itself with the Trump-Insurrectionist-Crazy Wing and the Johnson-Thune-Good Ole SD corruption Wing.

    Realistically. What does the R Party do? They run 100 or so candidates for Legislature every 2 years, they pick a Gov candidate, and their Party base votes R anyway, and they won the last 11 Gov races.

    What if the base crumbles?

    I will point out an “Its gonna give” scenario.

    You may think this is mathematically impossible…

    What if R’s had a losing streak of 11 elections or longer, 20 elections (80 years)?

    We ‘re not looking at the competency of the D’s here.

    Don’t look at history.or

    Its mathematically possible, however unlikely.

    We don’t know what will happen in the future. Will the D Party swing Progressive to the left and run candidates everywhere? Will the Libertarian Party swing to center-left? Will a 4th or 5th Party emerge, definitely Progressive or as smart as New Zealand, Australia, Norway and Sweden? Many things could happen.

    Instead of thinking, Oh the R’s will screw up once, and lose a close race to Smith or someone else, why not, what if they FRACTURE, FALL APART, SPLINTER, DISAPPEAR? South Dakota in 1888 did not exist!

    This is all mathematically possible.

    Common sense tells us, given that Republicans are always ready to run, and Democrats are not, the status quo will continue.

    Going back to the movie.

    Jack Nicholson’s character is a playboy, owner of a record label, in his 60’s who has never committed. An easy life of parties and sexual dates and no commitments.

    Then he has a heart attack, awkwardly meets a lady his own age, and unexpectedly falls in love. He has changed!!!

    The old playboy rich guy has changed. He feels he has to be with this lady!

    There is a change!

    Back to politics. Something’s GONNA give!

    The Democratic Party seems like it won;t change. HQ in Sioux Falls? (Not Pierre???) Not running 105 candidates??? (out of 140,000 members?) Not capturing the IMAGINATION of the voting and non-voting public? Remember Stephanie herseth sandlin? She liked guns, too. Me. too, doesn;t win elections.

    So I think the mathematically most likely scenario is the R party fractures (thanks to the Trump wing) and another Party or 2 runs COMPELLING candidates, and the past 44 years of political history vanishes and a newer reality is created.

    Just as the Jack Nicholson character in the movie 100% changed, our political reality in South Dakota can change 100% , just like that!
    (I just don’t think it will come from the Democratic Party).

    Something IS gonna give!

  17. ABC 2022-05-01

    If Michael Jordan moved to Sioux Falls and ran for Governor as a Republican in 2026, could he win?

    Probably not. Apartheid South Dakota.

    Somethings gonna give!

    Instead of waiting centuries for unlikely mathematical possibilities to occur, why not BE THE CHANGE NOW ?

    It is UNLIKELY South Dakota Apartheid will continue…

    We will BE the change. Something’s GONNA GIVE.

  18. Mark Anderson 2022-05-01

    Well grudz, if the tourists stayed out of the hills, would you give it back to the Sioux, its still theirs after all.

  19. grudznick 2022-05-01

    It belonged, back in the day, to the Crow, Mr. Anderson. And it’s not grudznick’s choice or decision to give away property that legally belongs to fellows who are white, brown, green and red that own their own land. I, sir, would happily give away your property which probably belonged to the Chippewa, if you would sign over your deed to grudznick.

    Otherwise, you are just spitting in grudznick’s backyard, and have no standing. So deliver your deed to grudznick and I’ll start selling it back from the Iowa border, west.

  20. grudznick 2022-05-01

    Mr. Anderson, “Sioux” is often considered an offensive term, by many of my Lakota friends. We are going to set up a sensitivity training for you. At this joint. Wednesday. 2pm local time. Bring cry hankies.

  21. leslie 2022-05-02

    Grdz ever rationalizing his open racism here and parochialism. Reminds of Rush Limbaugh. Spinning, spinning Republican hatred.

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