Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Good morning. Now that we’ve all gone home, had a few hours rest and are back in our respective lifestyle routines, I thought I’d provide a little summarization, including the good and the not so good, of the 2012 rally experience from the crew’s perspective. The bottom line is that 2012’s was simply the most well-attended and best-in-every-respect party ever. It was simply phenomenal, and we thank you so much for making it happen.
First and foremost, thank you all for having joined the party and making it such an exceptionally enjoyable event. The crew spent many thousands of hours preparing for your arrival and the party that follows. That included the many new improvements, as well as the maintenance and repair of what you’d used before. It’s particularly rewarding for the crew to receive all the compliments given directly to them during the event. It is those thanks they deserve and truly enjoy the most.
Secondly, we’d like to thank the many folks involved with the musicians who performed for us. We were all treated to nine (9) consecutive days and nights of world class concerts. Dry heat, several days of unrelenting wind, beautiful evenings blessed with stars and a waning full moon, thunder and lightning and, on the last Saturday night, more than an inch of rain all saw the shows go on before appreciative audiences. Artists from absolutely every act complimented the audience, more than one saying it was the best audience they’d ever performed for, and said they want to do it again. Thank you. It’s that kind of respect you show the artists that made it possible, for example, for us to announce at this year’s show that ZZ Top and Toby Keith had already been confirmed to join your party in 2013. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The additional showers located at both the east and west ends of the campground worked perfectly. The crew had built those during the winter months and it was good to see them getting such heavy usage throughout the rally. The on-demand hot water worked exceptionally well.
The showers at both the north shower building and the south shower building worked without incident throughout the rally, as well. New boilers at each location insured consistent hot water, and the plumbing crew is danged proud of that. The Chip again received an almost perfect inspection from the South Dakota Department of Health (98 out of 100 points!). The two points lost was because the water temperature at one of the sinks in the south shower building was a couple of degrees too warm. The Chip had a 98 in 2012, also, and those two points were lost because the temperature at the same place was a couple of degrees low. The crew set it where they thought it was supposed to be, and were simply wrong, but it was set properly when you arrived. The Chip intends to get a 100 point inspection (perfect) in 2013.
You’ve seen and heard me say on the television shows that whenever one hosts a large number of people the host is really in the toilet, water and electricity business. This year was no exception and of course just because everything’s working perfectly before thousands of people show up in RVs to use it all at the same time in one day, with 100 degree weather and 30 mph winds, doesn’t mean something won’t break. It will, of course, and some of it did, so I’ll touch on that, too.
First, the good – and in this case it was actually great. The Chip repeatedly received compliments about the toilets’ cleanliness. One promoter of other major U.S. events, after “snooping” throughout the campground, went out of his way to say the Buffalo Chip’s bathrooms were the cleanest he’d ever seen at an event. Yahoo! Please feel free to further compliment Chris Graham’s Cleaning crew when you see them at Daytona and other Rally’s. Thanks also to Waste Connections’ crews. They together have done a tremendous job for you at the Chip.
The Buffalo Chip’s electrical staffing was quadrupled for the 2012 Rally, and pre-event coordination with our public utility (West River Electric) insured replacement transformers were in stock, if needed. The first few days were 100 degree weather and a couple of transformers did go out and were promptly replaced. A special thank you goes to one of the Chipsters (a lineman in his routine life) who found a problem transformer that neither WRE or our own electricians had identified as the cause of some problems. It was replaced within 3 hours of his report.
There was also a short that melted a bunch of wiring into a solid clump. Conrad Electric had 4 crews on site to locate the problem and, once located, dug it up and repaired a total of 14 lines that had all melted together. Tim Conrad, owner, personally stayed and kept working until 4 am that morning to insure it got fixed. Kudos to Conrad Electric.
The Chip’s three wells functioned perfectly throughout the rally. That enabled folks to have water to fill an unprecedented number of swimming pools brought along, as well as to permit washing RVs and bikes, as well as to water campsites and roads. That, however, led to something that had never before been experienced – low water pressure in some areas at some times. The times and areas affected are being determined so remedial measures can be completed prior to the 2013 festival.
It hadn’t rained for weeks prior to the rally. The irrigated greenery in the amphitheater and around the campground was appreciated by all. That vegetation, however, completely disappeared under the pressure of a few hundred thousand footsteps and some motorcycle tires. We know it will rain during the rally, though, and thank the good Lord for waiting until the last Friday and Saturday to bless us with about two inches. That more than settled the dust. The shows went on both nights, you left Sunday morning and the grounds immediately began healing. The amphitheater was again already turning green again on Monday.
It’s a beehive of activity here, a combination of recuperating from this year’s event and preparing for the next one. So, from all of us here at the Chip, we’re wishing for a year in which you continue to Ride Free, Take Risks and bring your smilin’ faces back here for the Chip’s 32nd annual rally.
Woody & Crew
PS: One last thing we’re particularly proud of. Our EMT crew has saved many lives over the years when someone goes into cardiac arrest. This year, however, they really set themselves apart as public servants. Here’s the story:
Myron Eliason, 81, was driving from his home in Belle Fourche. He was on his way to the Chip to volunteer to help the DAV. It was mid-afternoon and he picked up a hitchhiker at Whitewood. Just before getting to the Chip the hitchhiker, for no known reason, began stabbing Myron with a knife. Myron went into the ditch. He suffered numerous stab wounds, one deep wound in each lung, deflating both.
Myron lost track of time. It seemed so many people passed him by without stopping to help. Then an employee of Russ Brown Attorneys, returning to the Chip, saw the conflict, called 911 and actually went to help Myron, pulling him from the vehicle and helping ward off further attacks.
The Meade County Dispatch radioed the Buffalo Chip’s dispatch to advise the conflict was near the Chip. The Chip’s security, EMT’s and ambulance responded immediately and soon arrived at the scene. Buffalo Chip Security secured the crime scene until law enforcement could arrive. The Chip’s EMT’s stabilized Myron and, having no time to wait for an ambulance from town, ambulanced him to the hospital in the Chip’s ambulance.
Myron is still in the Rapid City Regional Hospital. He’s alive, is recovering and hopes to be transferred to the VA hospital in Fort Meade as soon as a bed becomes available.
May God grant a special blessing on all who helped.
We are so very proud of our people!