Sunday, October 17, 2010

West River History Conference summary

This summary of the 2010 West River History Conference was provided
 by Shebby Lee, President of the organization.
Participants in the Eighteenth Annual West River History Conference were very pleased with the new venue according to the evaluations and feedback for the conference which ended September 25. The fully-equipped and modern classrooms enhanced the experience and were complimented by the lounge area with its cozy fireplace, and spacious ballroom where booksellers offered biographies and historic books for sale.

Presenters at this year's conference hailed from as far away as AZ, Texas, and NY. As always, attendees also came from the neighboring states of North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Minnesota as well as Kansas and all parts of South Dakota.

Attendance was also up over record-breaking 2009, and plans are already underway for next year's conference to be held Sept. 22, 23, and 24 at the Surbeck Center on the School of Mines campus in Rapid City, SD. Check our website often as plans are unveiled for another exciting conference in 2011.

2009 Award Winners

At the Friday awards luncheon, winners of the 2009 conference papers were announced. Winner of the best student paper was Emily Wicks of Faith High School, whose paper was entitled "Annie Oakley: Guns, Romance and Hardships". Second place went to Cassie Foster, Faith High School for her paper, "The Myths and Legends of Belle Starr, the ‘Bandit Queen'".

First place in the adult category went to Pat Moore of Chestnut Hill, MA, for her paper, "Answering the Call: Women Missionaires in the West, 1810-1900". Pat has donated her prize to the WRHC scholarship fund. Second place went to Jan Cerney of Philip, SD for her paper entitled, "Missionary Corabelle Fellows. Victim of the Yellow Press". Third place was awarded to Donna Fisher of Deadwood for her paper, "Pursuit of Art: Grace French, Pioneer Artist and Teacher". With so many excellent papers, the judges opted to award an additional Honorable Mention to Barb White of Herrick, SD, for "How Todd Lost His County (and Found it Again Out West)"

In addition to prizes for best papers, the conference presents awards to deserving promoters and preservers of history in our region. The Herb Blakely Award for outstanding contributions to local and regional history, a sense of American Patriotism, and efforts to further the concepts of good citizenship went to Mary Lewis of Wasta, SD. The Zoom Zoom award for outstanding support of local history went to Marcia Hill of Rapid City; and the Sandria Friske Helping Hand Award went to Grove Rathbun of Rapid City.

The conference was made possible with support by the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Black Hills Corral of Westerners, International, the Society of Black Hills Pioneers, the Reptile Gardens, Keystone Historical Museum, Big Thunder Gold Mine, the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Lewis Publishing and Dode Lee.