Event Details

Summer Series: Discover the Back Porch

July 26, 2019  5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Enjoy our Summer Series - presentations on Black Hills figures or events packed with history and fun! Each presentation lasts an hour, including a Q&A.

Join us as we honor a historic bar and live music venue in Spearfish. The Back Porch has such a prodigious past that it has been enshrined by the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This presentation will be led by Rochelle Hagel and Leland Ruzicka. You’ll learn how the bar earned its legendary status and about the bands that have played there over the last few decades, like Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Red Willow Band and The Kenny Miller Band. The Back Porch has also seen the likes of Molly Hatchet and Indigenous - a band from the Yankton Sioux Reservation.

The bar was converted to a family-style restaurant in mid-1960s and was previously an International Harvest implement dealership. Ruzicka has owned the bar for more than 30 years, and his love for motorcycles and music is clearly shown.

In more recent years, live music has waned in popularity, and so fewer and fewer nights see a live band on the stage at the Porch. But it wasn’t too long ago that an up-and-coming band, Trampled by Turtles, came through and provided some great nights of entertainment. Not long after, Trampled by Turtles hit the big time.

Crowds may have flocked to the Back Porch to enjoy some of the best live music in the region, but it wasn’t only love of art that drove Ruzicka to keep hiring bands for his customers to enjoy.

“It’s a business,” Ruzicka said. “Bands would tell me how great they’d done and I’d say, ‘I’ll look at the cash register and find out how well you did.’”

Hagel works for South Dakota Public Broadcasting as the director of corporate development for the West River area. She frequented the Back Porch in the '90s, covering the bands that played there for her publication, "Panache Magazine," a local arts, entertainment, and culture tabloid. Many of the bands that played the Porch also graced the cover of Panache. She eventually married former Back Porch manager, Ralph Knickrehm, but that’s another story entirely.

Admission for a Summer Series event is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and half-off for members. Call 394-6923 to reserve seats. 

Theater map below. Seats marked ADA indicate wheelchair accessibility. Blue seats indicate space for foldout chairs, but ADA needs take first priority.


Friday, June 7 at 5 p.m.: Eyes of the Storm
Friday, June 14 at 5 p.m.: Celebrating 50 Years of the Chapel in the Hills

Friday, June 21 at 5 p.m.: Musical Experience by Hank Harris

Tuesday, June 25 at 2 p.m.: Battle of Greasy Grass

Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m.: Burros in Custer State Park

Friday, July 5 at 5 p.m.: James Webb Space Telescope
Friday, July 12 at 5 p.m.: 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission

Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m.:
 Custer Expedition
Friday, July 26 at 5 p.m.: 
The Back Porch - A Legend of Rock 'N Roll
Friday, Aug. 2 at 5 p.m.: Nuggets and Neutrinos

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The Journey Museum & Learning Center regularly adds new events, exhibits, and features to the expansive museum, covering American history, Black Hills history, and Native American culture.

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The Journey Museum is currently in Winter Hours:

Winter Hours

(October 1st – April 30th)
10 AM – 5 PM Monday through Saturday
1 PM – 5 PM Sundays

Summer Hours

(May 1st – September 30th)
9 AM – 6 PM Monday through Saturday
11 AM – 5 PM Sundays


All individual admissions are good for two days with receipt.

Museum General Admission:

Adults (ages 18+) $10
Seniors (ages 62+) $8
Students (ages 6 – 17) $7
Children 5 & under FREE with family

Groups (10+ people):

$7 per person

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.

Education Groups (12+ students):

$3 per student (all students 18 and under)
$5 College Students

Chaperones are requested. Special pricing will be extended to adult chaperones.

Tour guides available. Please call (605) 394-6923 one week prior to visit to schedule.