HILL CITY, S.D. — On Monday, a ribbon cutting was held officially welcoming a Smokey Bear sculpture to the community of Hill City.
The statue, symbol and reminder of 1939, when 25 Hill City High School students helped put out one of the largest fires ever in the Black Hills.
After the fire, the Smokey Bear symbol was gifted to the Hill City High School as a mascot; its the only high school in the region that has exclusive rights to hold graduation at Mount Rushmore.
“This school is privileged to be able to be the only school that graduates at Mt. Rushmore as well, so in Hill City, we preserve our history and this is an important act in preserving that history for Hill City,” said Hill City Mayor, Kathy Skorzewski.
Dahl’s Chainsaw Art of Hill City donated time and money to help build Smokey – and it only took 10 days to build.
Jordan Dahl was one of seven sculptors who helped build the bear.
“It was very cool to hear all seven of our ideas, kind of how we can do the jeans and how we can do you know, the head and the hat and the hands, you know, coming up with different ideas,” Dahl said. “It was a lot of fun to work on this.”
Smokey Bear cupcakes given out at the ribbon cutting as a token of appreciation.