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       West River History Conference                March , 2017
Rapid City, South Dakota
Commerce on the Frontier   

October 12-14, 2017
The 25th Annual West River History Conference will be held October 12-14, 2017, at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City.  The theme for this year's conference is Commerce on the Frontier.

South Dakota and the Northern Plains were settled relatively late in our country's long history of westward expansion.  But once pioneers made their way here, merchants, newspapers, government officials (to file all those land claims), bull trains,  and then railroads were not far behind.

Commerce of course, takes many forms:  Native Americans had developed a very complex trade network across North America long before Lewis & Clark came this way.  Mormons financed their cross country migration by building bridges, ferries and sometimes entire communities to house emigrants awaiting spring.  Teamsters provided the means to transfer merchandise. 

Do you have a story to tell about this expansive time in our region?  We'd love to hear it!

Make plans now to attend the 2017 West River History Conference in October.
The West River History Conference is open to all individuals and the public.  Paper titles are welcome from amateur and professional historians alike, and especially sought from students from middle school through graduate school.

The collected papers of the conference are published annually in a permanent bound volume available for purchase by schools, libraries, museums and other interested parties. Prizes for the best papers in adult and student categories will be awarded.

The 2016 Conference books will be available in early summer.
Do you know a deserving student?
Scholarship money is available for conference registration and travel expenses to encourage students and their teachers and/or parents to attend. It has been a long-time goal of the West River History Conference to increase the participation of young people so they can learn more about their heritage and carry on the work of preserving it.  All applications for this year's conference are welcome!
Sponsorships are available to help keep the conference affordable for our participants
and to encourage young people to attend.
Highlights of the 2016 Conference 
Paul Horsted 
Joe Wiegand as Theodore Roosevelt
BethAnn Herman, National Park Service
2015 Conference Best Paper Awards
The winners for  superior papers presented at the 2015 conference were announced at last fall's conference:


Nick Gale:  "Century that Changed South Dakota" 



Nancy Harlan:  "Polo:  Past and Present"

Donald Berg:  "Dusting Off the Dustbowl"  



June Ring:  "Rally Days and Playground Games"  



Karen Holzer:  "Sea of Grass:  Timeline of History" 

Call for Papers
Commerce on  
the Frontier
October 12-14, 2017
Paper topics are not limited to the conference theme.  Topics must be submitted with a title, brief description, and biographical sketch of the presenter by September 12th in order to be included in the program.
West River History
Conference Board

Shebby Lee, President
Bobbi Sago, VP / Publications
Wayne Gilbert, Secretary
Karen Holzer,  Treasurer
Peg Aplan, Grants Coordinator
Marguerite Kleven
Diana Hayes

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Notable Quotable

The West is dead my friend.  
But writers hold the seed.  
And what they saw
Will live and grow
Again to those who read.

C.M. Russell, 1917


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