Summer Series: Discover the Back Porch

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. 


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

Friday, July 26, 2019 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm

The Journey Museum & Learning Center
222 New York St, Rapid City, SD 57701

Event Type

Arts & Culture








Adults $12, Seniors $10, Students $7, Children 5 & under FREE



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