Despite slow start, tourism remains strong
Published: Thursday, September 19th, 2013
With Labor Day signaling an end to the summer, many Custer businesses and attractions are happy with their numbers.
“Summer was very steady for us,” said Pat Dobbs, Crazy Horse Memorial media relations specialist. “As an example, during bike week, our biker numbers from Sunday to Thursday were up 10 percent from a year ago.”
Bus tour groups were also up from the previous year and have been consistent throughout the summer.
“We’ve been busy with a lot of tours in addition to regular visitors,” Dobbs said. “It’s been pretty busy.”
Crazy Horse Memorial is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the height of summer. During the Rally, many visitors were at the memorial by 7 a.m. and stayed throughout the day, waiting for the laser light show at night.
“Many of the bikers showed up before some of our employees were in for the day,” Dobbs said.
Dobbs noted that a huge demographic visiting Crazy Horse is families, which would sometimes drop during bike week. This year was different.
“We would see fewer of the traditional visitor or family groups during bike week, but there was really no drop in family groups this year,” he said.
Dobbs also said media inquiries have increased over the years, many from international media outlets.
“May and June were slow for us,” said Cindy Hammer, owner of Beaver Lake Campground. “July and August were much better once the weather straightened out.”
During August, camping in Custer State Park was up about three percent from last year, according to Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator for the park. To date, camping for the year is up just over one percent.
“Last year was a record- setting camping year for us, so being up just one percent is great news,” Pugsley said. “The campgrounds are holding their own. We’ve been darn close to 100 percent full every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
Available only in the print version of the Custer County Chronicle. To subscribe, call 605-673-2217.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This