Keystone treats tribal youths to day on the town

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KEYSTONE, S.D. (KOTA TV) -- They set out with a simple goal. To make a big group of kids smile.

Tribal youths enjoy a day in Keystone on the rides and at the attractions.

Did they succeed? In a word, yes.

Some 150 kids planned to gather at Pe Sla, the tribally owned land north of Hill City for solstice celebrations. Then an idea popped up. What if the kids could spend a day of fun in Keystone? When folks in Keystone heard of the idea they jumped at it.

"We're really excited to have the kids from Pe Sla in Keystone," Rick Branfas, the president of the Keystone Board of Trustees, said Wednesday. "We've opened our doors to bring them in."

The city and local businesses chipped in -- as did the Pennington County Sheriff -- and an exciting idea became an even more exciting day.

It started with a ride from Hill City on the 1880 Train and then spread to Rush Mountain, Big Thunder Gold Mine Rushmore Tramway and Holy Terror Mini Golf course.

"Keystone is a wonderful community," said Keystone Trustee Sandra McLain. "The businesses and the residents always want to give. They gave food, they gave hospitality. They opened their doors so all of the Pe Sla youth group could have a great day."

Added Kraig Wood, a lieutenant with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, who was on hand Wednesday helping with lunch: "We're very excited and thankful to be part of this process. the Pennington County Sheriff's office is here with the Rapid City Police Department we're feeding lunch to them. It's good to see their smiles it's fun for them and it's very fun for us as well."

Organizers hope to make the event an annual tradition.