Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, we’ll be shocked to realize that no minorities actually live in the Black Hills and the name is just a scam to get Federal Affirmative Action Funding as we visit South Dakota. So let’s get started…
* South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2, 1889. The word “South” in the name is somewhat deceptive, since the state actually contains no hillbillies, alligators, or temperatures above freezing.
* The state bird of South Dakota is the ring-necked pheasant. When hunting these, try not to shoot a ring-nosed teenager by mistake.
* South Dakota’s license plates have blue numbers on a white background and say “Bison: the other red meat” across the bottom.
* The state motto of South Dakota is “When the Crazy Horse monument is finished, we’ll TELL you… Now STOP ASKING!”
* South Dakota’s nickname is “The bored people with mountains and explosives state”.
* Although there’s enough room for Bill Clinton on Mount Rushmore, he hasn’t been added for fear that no one would recognize him without a kneeling intern.
* Good luck trying to find a mountain big enough to fit Monica’s hips on.
* Lemmon, South Dakota is famous for it’s petrified forest. Undisturbed for 50 million years, it still contains many of its original petrified environmental activist protesters.
* When it was built in 1832, the American Fur Company’s trading post in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, was the largest one in the US, and was best know for its marketing slogan “Fur: Because she’s not going to put out for denim”.
* Belle Fourche, South Dakota, is the geographical center of the United States. It’s populated mostly by people who find Mexicans, Canadians, Californians, and New Yorkers equally repulsive.
* Personally, I’m thinking about moving to Greenland, since I’m only disgusted by the French and people from New Jersey.
* Clark, South Dakota, is home to the world famous annual Mashed Potato Wrestling contest. Rumor has it that the contest is rigged, since the mashed potato always wins.
* South Dakota’s Custer State Park is home to a herd of 1500 free-roaming bison, 1448 of which must be cut from the roster by the time they play the Budweiser Clydesdales in this year’s Superbowl commercial.
* When completed, the Crazy Horse monument near Hill City, South Dakota, will be the world’s largest sculpture. The project will be completed without a single dollar of government money, which explains why Crazy Horse isn’t holding a urine-dipped crucifix.
* South Dakota’s Badlands National Park contains the worlds richest fossil bed, which holds such ancient artifacts as Tyrannosaurus skeletons, Triceratops eggs, and Beatles 45’s.
* The Sage Creek Wilderness Area is where the highly endangered black-footed ferret is being re-introduced. For those not familiar with ferrets, they’re small mammals, more ratlike than weasels, but less weaselly than lawyers or the French.
* South Dakota’s famous Black Hills aren’t actually black. They only appear that way from a distance because they’re covered by pine trees – an effect similar to what happens when Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t get her upper lip waxed for a couple days.
* At 7242 feet, South Dakota’s Harney Peak is the highest point in the US east of the Rockies, and will likely be carved into a statue of Wilt Chamberlain at some point.
* Sturgis, South Dakota, is home to the annual Black Hills Classic Motorcycle Rally. It’s easy to find – just look for the crowd of burly, leather-clad guys. Make sure it’s not the Black Hills Classic S & M Rally, though.
* Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In which case… call me.
* The Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, houses more than 250 rare automobiles, including the Tucker, the Edsel, and Powell Motors’ infamous Homer.
* The Flaming Fountain on South Dakota State Capitol Lake is fed by an artesian well with natural gas content so high that it can be lit. The sight inspires both awe and the question, “how do you put out burning water?”
* The Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo Arena in Clear Lake, South Dakota was built on a drained duck pond. When the duck pond was initially drained, workers found a dead rabbit at the bottom with a sign around its neck that said “I TOLD you it was wabbit season”.
* The Silent Guide Monument in Philip, South Dakota is a 14-foot pile of flat stones assembled by a shepherd to mark a waterhole that never goes dry. Ironically, the waterhole itself had been created years earlier by an architect as a way to mark an abundant source of flat stones.
* The largest underground goldmine in the US is the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota. Ground was first broken on it by the six dwarves who were voted out of CBS’s “Survivor: Snow White’s Cottage”.
* The USS South Dakota is recognized as the most decorated battleship during World War II. Although, the USS John Kerry actually won MORE medals, it threw them all over a fence, so it doesn’t really count.
* The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, first published in 1861, is South Dakota’s oldest newspaper. It’s first headline was the now-famous criticism of the Civil War: “Lincoln lied! Weevils died!”
* The Prairie Rattlesnake is the only venomous snake native to South Dakota. It’s generally a light brown color, with a yellow underside and four dark, presidential-head-shaped blotches on its back.
* Hot Springs, South Dakota features the largest collection of Wooly Mammoth bones in the world. Wooly Mammoths were large, hairy beasts that killed their prey by sitting on it and crushing it into a pile of goo. Much as its modern-day cousin – the Michael Moore – hunts Twinkies today.
That wraps up the South Dakota edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be stocking up on souvenir Elvis shades as we visit Tennessee.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go call and see if Crazy Horse is finished yet.
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