RAPID CITY, S.D. — In the past year, closures among businesses during the pandemic were common.
One year ago, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center was coming off a weekend that included its monster trucks event, which was followed by closures for a large part of the year for most businesses.
But one year later, the Civic Center was anything but quiet.
Monster trucks, a youth soccer tournament, dance competition, and three games of Rapid City Rush Hockey were just a few events that were going on. It was also a record year for sales for the Road 2 Destruction Monster Trucks event.
For the location soon to be called The Monument, it’s good to be back.
“It’s feeling a lot back to normal, I mean, I think there’s still some stuff missing from our schedule but when it comes to a lot of the athletics that we do and school events and all that, yeah we’re back on,” said Craig Baltzer, Executive Director of Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. “Even conventions, that kind of thing, last weekend was a very very busy weekend.”
With clients looking to hold events, Baltzer and his crew were asked to ensure viewer safety by taking precautions like creating additional space for participants in events, and keeping audiences spread out while also offering hand sanitizing stations.
But, all those changes came at a cost.
“We’ve had events that require folks to wear masks in the audience in the past; we’ve had them with us social distancing seating in the arena, which might or the theater, which might cut down your ability 50 percent or down to 30 percent of what attendance could possibility be,” Baltzer said.
As to when things will be completely normal, nobody knows. But in the mean time, the weekend brought a positive outlook for what’s to come.
“Overall, I think we’re one of the very few venues that have been able to operate and move forward and in the end maybe coming out better from COVID than before COVID, so it’s looking bright, it really is,” Baltzer said.
The busy weekend seems to be a step towards normal.