Turtle Soup: Colorado Charlie Utter
February 28, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pmFeed your mind and your belly with Turtle Soup, featuring a presentation on historic Black Hills figures or events and a bowl of soup provided by Angel’s Catering.
This week, Randy Christensen presents, "Colorado Charlie Utter," reenacting the character.
Colorado Charlie Utter was one of the more colorful characters to trudge through the muddy streets of Deadwood during the wild and raucous gold rush era. His famous wagon train pulled into the “Gulch” on July 12, 1876 with an amazing cast of Old West celebrities, including the colorful Martha “Calamity Jane” Cannary, Charlie’s brother Steve Utter, the infamous Madame Mustache and her friend little Miss Tidbit, and Charlie’s best pard’, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.
Charlie was a “Jack of all trades” including a freighter and guide high in the Rocky Mountains, Pony Express and freight owner in Deadwood, and a brothel owner in Lead. On Aug. 3, 1876, he buried his dear friend Wild Bill at Ingleside Cemetery and later moved him up the hill to Mt. Moriah. Though Charlie had no medical degree, “Dr. Utter” eventually moved to Panama and supposedly set-up shop as a physician. Why not?! Charlie died there sometime after 1912.
Randy Christensen holds degrees from the University of South Dakota in History and Sociology, and South Dakota State University in Counseling, Guidance and Personnel Services.
He spent 13 years as a child and family counselor with Lutheran Social Services in Sioux Falls. He then moved to Rapid City where he spent 24 years as an elementary counselor and program coordinator for the Rapid City Area Schools. During this time, he directed children’s theater in several schools along with coaching several state and national championship scholastic chess teams.
Also during this time (32 years), he was an Adjunct College Instructor teaching literally hundreds of classes in History, Education and Counseling for Augustana University, Sioux Falls University, South Dakota State University and Morningside College graduate credit.
For 15 years during the summer months, he was the executive and theatrical director, living history actor, musician and script writer for “Deadwood Alive.” This included performing “Deputy Marshal D. Boone May” on the streets of Deadwood, and “Col. George May” at the famous “Trial of Jack McCall.” For the past four summers, he's been at Deadwood’s legendary Old Style Saloon #10 working as their resident historian and author, plus acting in their shows as Hickok’s best pard’, Colorado Charlie Utter.
Christensen is the author of a historically based children’s Old West illustrated fantasy entitled, “Charlie Klinker the Lil’ Stinker: a Tale of a Pioneer Mouse.” Little Charlie Klinker came to Deadwood in early 1876, before there was hardly any cats in the “Gulch.” It was truly a mousey paradise, until Fluffy Johnson, the nastiest cat in the West came to town. The rest...is history!
Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, half-off for members. Call 605-394-6923 to reserve tickets.
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