About the Event

Saddle up with Col. John Eidsmoe and Dr. Bill Potter for a unique five-day tour of America’s Heartland. Our home-base will be Rapid City, South Dakota whence we will venture out on a coach to the iconic attractions of the area: Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower, and much more! Along the way, our guides will be telling the providential history of the Native Americans and settlers that shaped this area into a place of breathtaking beauty and rich history. Bring your boots and hat as we will traverse the dusty trails and rolling hills to get an authentic experience of this special area.

Our hope is to provide you with some interaction with folks that actually live here that can give us a first-hand perspective on the life of a Christian Indian, a rancher, or civil magistrate in this particular area today, as well as in the past.

Looking forward to seeing you on the prairie this fall!

Welcome to Rapid City!

Settle in to your room and go grab lunch before joining us for a casual welcome gathering where you will meet your fellow guests, receive your audio equipment, and get a brief overview of the tour from your guides, Col. John Eidsmoe and Dr. Bill Potter.  After introductions and orientation, we will go downtown to see the sites and the Presidents before moseying out to Fort Hays for a Chuck Wagon Dinner and Western Show.

Rapid City

We will start the tour in the afternoon with a casual welcome/gathering where you will meet your fellow guests, receive your audio equipment, and get a brief overview of the tour from your tour guides, Col. John Eidsmoe and Bill Potter.

Presidential Walk

Rapid City is The City of Presidents with statues lining Main and St. Joseph Streets. All formers Presidents are represented but one—and his is in process. Bill Potter and Col. Eidsmoe will comment on some of the more famous, and infamous, Presidents during our afternoon walk downtown, followed by free time to familiarize yourself with our home base.

1:00pm   Tour begins at the Menger Hotel
2:00pm   Walking tour downtown SATX (Stops include: The Alamo, Milam Park, La Villita, Military Plaza)
5:00pm   Buckhorn Saloon Museum Tour and Dinner (ending approx. 7pm)

Cattle Ranch, Badlands and Wall Drugs

We will venture out by motor coach through scenic ranch country, headed toward an authentic working cattle ranch where a special guest will describe the importance of ranching to this area and what it takes to make a ranch successful.  On the way back we will tour the beautiful Badlands National Park and make a stop at Wall Drug, which is a historic landmark but also a centerpiece of western heritage.

Holy Cow Longhorn Ranch

We are working on scheduling a visit to a working ranch owned by a friend of Col. Eidsmoe. His insight and experience will paint an interesting and educational picture into the life of a rancher here on the great plains. He will also answer the question: why Longhorns?

Badlands National Park

The prairie in all its splendor, Badlands National Park hosts striking geologic deposits containing one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient horses and rhinos once roamed this expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today.

Wall Drug Store

It’s hard to believe Wall Drug Store got its start with something many wouldn’t even turn their heads at today… the promise of free ice water. The ultimate roadside souvenir stop, Wall Drug boasts the largest collection of Western art in the US, along with a café and gift shop.

Chapel of the Hills, Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon

Today, we head south from Rapid City to the Chapel of the Hills, a replica of an old Norse stavkirke (stave church) of the style a thousand years ago.  We will make a stop at the oldest Museum in the Black Hills, The Adams Museum, before turning you loose on the streets of Historic Deadwood for lunch and shopping.  Deadwood attracted infamous characters including Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, all drawn by the discovery of gold and the resulting Black Hills Gold Rush.  We will spend the afternoon leisurely hiking alongside a tranquil trout filled stream with cascading waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon.  The perfect end to a great day.

Deadwood

The city had its heyday from 1876 to 1879, after gold deposits had been discovered there, leading to the Black Hill Gold Rush. At its height, the city had a population of 25,000, attracting Old West figures such as Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok (who was killed there).

Chapel of the Hills

Many of the original settlers of the Dakotas and surrounding states were Norwegian Lutherans. Two of these men partnered to construct a chapel built in the style of an original stave church (in Norwegian, “stavkirke”). The chapel is an exact replica of the famous Borgund stavkirke, of Laerdal, Norway, built around the year 1150.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon is the Northern Hills’ number one natural attraction. A great spot for wildlife enthusiasts, as the diverse array of plant life, provides a comfortable home for deer, mountain goats, porcupines and bobcats.

Bear Butte, Black Hills National Cemetery, Devils Tower

We will point our coach west and set out toward Bear Butte, a butte just east of the Black Hills that is a sacred site for many Indian tribes.   A hike up Bear Butte is not difficult and affords a very nice view of the South Dakota plains. A stop at the Black Hills National Cemetery by Sturgis will afford an opportunity to meet some notable people that were used by God in unique ways to play a key role in WWII.  Our ultimate destination is the breathtaking Devils Tower, just across the Wyoming border.  As the first National Monument it set a precedent of preservation and controversy that continues today.  

Bear Butte

Bear Butte is a sacred site for many Indian tribes. The Cheyenne believed that an ancient chief named Sweet Medicine met the Great Spirit who gave him the laws and sacred arrows of the Cheyenne here. We will learn at this historic site how Indian religions impacted their worldview.

Black Hills National Cemetery

Notable burials include Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Charles Windolph (Indian Wars) and Brig. Gen. Richard E. Ellsworth, Commander of Rapid City Air Force Base (later renamed Ellsworth Air Force Base in his honor) as well as John Bear King and Clarence Eugene Wolf Guts, two of the eleven Lakota Code Talkers, a top-secret program in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

Devils Tower

Rising 867 feet from base to summit, Devils Tower is an igneous butte that intruded through the sedimentary shale and limestone of the plains. This iconic geologic column was the first United States national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Buffalo Roundup, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore & Western Dinner Show!

Our final day we will rise early and head out to Custer State Park to see annual Buffalo Roundup, where over a thousand bison—one of the world’s largest publicly owned bison herds, are brought in for branding, assessment and medical maintenance – it’s a remarkable site.  After a Bison Burger lunch at the corrals we will head to the magnificent  Crazy Horse Monument and iconic Mt. Rushmore before capping off our evening at Fort Hays for a foot stomping old west show and chuck wagon dinner!  

Buffalo Roundup

Feel the ground shake as the hooves of more than 1,300 American buffalo thunder through the valley. At the annual Buffalo Roundup, cowboys and cowgirls on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting. The entire Custer State herd passes by only a few hundred feet from your seat.

Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse Memorial depicts the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing to his tribal land. A private, nonprofit organization, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, operate this beautiful, interesting and important project.

Mount Rushmore

Gutzon Borglum carved the mammoth busts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln into the face of Mount Rushmore. Surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, they tell the story of the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country.

Historian Bill Potter

Historian Bill Potter

An experienced historian and avid bibliophile, Bill Potter combines a lifelong study of American history with an uncommon ability to captivate audiences of all ages as he traces the providential acts of God throughout the ages. Mr. Potter has taught history in high schools and colleges, has led many tours of American and European historical sites and brings to each event a wealth of experience and knowledge. An experienced researcher and writer, Mr. Potter possesses a practical knowledge of antiquarian books, documents, and artifacts and has published several short books and has penned many articles and book reviews for publication. Bill has earned a well-deserved reputation as a man gifted in communicating the story of God’s providential hand in American history. As a father of eight children, he appreciates the necessity of passing on to the succeeding generations the richness of both our regional and national history. He and his wife, Leslie, reside in Virginia.

Col. John Eidsmoe

John Eidsmoe

John Eidsmoe is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and Alabama State Defense Force Colonel, and a graduate of the Air Command & Staff College and the Air War College. He is Professor of Law at the Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy and, in his various teaching assignments, his students have given him the Outstanding Professor Award or Professor of the Year Award five times. He has served as Senior Staff Attorney with the Alabama Supreme Court and is currently Legal Counsel for the Foundation for Moral Law. Eidsmoe also serves on the boards of Lutherans for Life, The Plymouth Rock Foundation, and the Gospel Martial Arts Union, and is a constitutional attorney who has defended homeschools, Christian schools, the right of students to study the Bible in public schools, and the right to display the Ten Commandments in the public arena. He has authored numerous books, including Historical & Theological Foundations of Law, Christianity & the Constitution, God & Caesar, and Columbus & Cortez, and has produced a variety of audio and video lecture albums including The Institute on the Constitution and Here I Stand: A Biblical Worldview for a New Millennium. He holds seven academic degrees in law, theology, history, and political science. He and his wife, Marlene, have been married since 1970, have three children, and live in rural Pike Road, Alabama.

Included in This Tour

  • Admission to all venues
  • All guide and docent fees
  • Chuck-wagon Dinner Show!
  • Picnic lunch from Panera at Devil’s Tower
  • Bison burger lunch at the Buffalo Roundup!
  • Transportation on Deluxe Motor Coach
  • Electronic headset receiver for ease of hearing guides
  • Biblical/providential interpretation from Col. John Eidsmoe & historian Dr. Bill Potter
  • Special local guest speakers
  • Rich fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ
  • Landmark Events’ signature service throughout the tour

Ticket Pricing

First 15 to register save $50.00 off Early Bird Rates!

Early Bird pricing good through July 31.

Adults (16+)

First 15: $714.10
Early Bird: $764.10
Standard Price: $849

Youth (5-15)

First 15: $624.10
Early Bird: $674.10
Standard Price: $749

Child (0-4)

Early Bird: FREE*

* Children must ride on the lap of an adult family member and share meals to be free.  If you want your child to have his own seat and meals, register him under the youth category.

For your convenience, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Howard Johnson hotel (950 North Street, Rapid City, SD 57701  Phone: 605-737-4656) beginning Sunday, September 22 and departing Saturday, September 28. The hotel is just three blocks from the bustling downtown area of Rapid City full of great shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Nearby Rushmore Plaza Civic Center hosts events and live shows. Non-smoking hotel provides a comfortable stay for family fun, featuring many rooms with double king beds, plus a snack bar, pool, and service with a smile. 
 
This clean hotel will be the site of the opening gathering and after-dinner discussions. Our coach will depart from the hotel each morning, so if you are staying somewhere else please plan accordingly.  Free parking is available at the hotel. Rooms are $124 per night, including breakfast.  Cut off is August 22.
 

 

As with all cities we visit, there is a wide array of accommodations to meet your budget and comfort level and you are welcome to stay wherever best suits your family’s needs. We suggest using Trip Advisor as a starting place for your research.

When does the tour start and end?

  • The tour starts with a welcome gathering at 2pm on Monday, 9/23 at the Howard Johnson hotel.  Afterward,  we will go downtown to familiarize you with  Rapid City before heading to the chuck wagon dinner show!
  • Our final night will  will conclude around 9pm on Friday, 9/27.

Can I drive?

  • Certainly! Free parking is available at the Howard Johnson for guests.

What airport would I fly into?

  • Rapid City Regional (RAP) Located 11 miles from downtown Rapid City. Taxi or Uber available to transport you to the hotel, no hotel shuttle.

Do I need a car?

  • No, although you may want to have one for your off-hours convenience and exploration. Rentals available at the airport. Plenty of restaurants within walking distance of the Howard Johnson. We will be traveling out on a motorcoach each day, leaving from the hotel.

Are hotel rooms included in the price?

  • No, but we have negotiated a friendly rate at the Howard Johnson hotel downtown—see the accommodations section above for details. You are free to stay wherever you like, but keep In mind that the coach leaves from the Howard Johnson each day.

Are there any meals included in the registration?

  • Yes. Dinner on the first and last nights of the tour is included, as well as two lunches.

Will I see a live buffalo?

  • Yes, lots of them, Lord willing. You will even have an opportunity to enjoy some for lunch Friday after the round up!

How much walking is there?

  • It depends on you. A typical day will total about 1 -2 miles of walking for most folks. We have allotted time for those who wish to spend a few hours on some moderate hikes like Devil’s Tower and Bear Butte. Less rigorous options will be available for those that operate in a different gear.

What should I bring?

  • Comfortable clothing with a light jacket and rain gear would be appropriate. Shorts are fine, as are appropriate t-shirts. There is no need for a coat or tie, unless it’s a bolo. We ask that all clothing be modest in coverage, fit and appearance. Lots of time outside so good shoes or boots will make the trip more enjoyable, along with a hat and some sunscreen. We will issue you an audio receiver that allows you to hear our guides from a distance through headphones or earbuds, which we provide. Some folks prefer to bring their own, so note that the audio sets take a 3.5 mm jack for headphones and are not Bluetooth compatible.

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