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Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood now open

Big Kenny of country music duo Big & Rich, center, celebrates during the traditional guitar smash. Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas is to his left, while Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola is to his right. (Kevin Eilbeck)

The Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood celebrated its grand opening in Deadwood, South Dakota, on Aug. 8. Hard Rock International officials said the property is a first of its kind offering in the company’s portfolio – a boutique hotel and casino experience.

Deadwood is a historic city with a population of about 1,200, located in the heart of the Black Hills National Forest and known for its gold rush history. 

According to an Aug. 9 news release, the grand opening event included a proclamation read by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, remarks from the Seminole Tribe’s Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola and Sioux tribal leaders, a traditional guitar smash, and live music.

The Seminole Tribe is the parent entity of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming.

“For years, historic Deadwood and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have given countless individuals the opportunity to vacation and to enjoy the state of South Dakota,” Gov. Noem said. “This new Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood will make those opportunities even better for years to come. In fact, as governor of South Dakota, I am proclaiming today `Hard Rock Day’ across the entire state.”

The Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood will have familiar touches for fans of the Hard Rock brand, just at a smaller scale. The casino area has 86 slot machines, a restaurant and bar, music memorabilia and a Rock Shop retail store. Officials said renovated guest rooms in the hotel are scheduled to open later this year.

“Hard Rock prides itself on being able to provide authentic and memorable experiences for our guests, embodied by music and rich cultural history,” Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International, said in the release. “We are thrilled to become a part of one of the most celebrated historic places in the U.S. and provide an economic stimulus to the city of Deadwood.”

“As a community famous for entertaining guests since 1876, Deadwood is excited to welcome Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood as our newest, can’t-miss property,” Deadwood Mayor David Ruth, said in the release. “Our rich, Old West history combined with the Hard Rock brand will enhance the Deadwood experience for which we are known for. The Rocksino by Hard Rock Deadwood is sure to be an additional gem luring visitors to this amazing town.”

The festivities also included a gift exchange between Councilman Osceola and Sioux tribal leaders, a performance by the Wakinyan Luta drum circle from Pine Ridge, and music act Sublime with Rome performing an outdoor concert.

As part of the event, a $40,000 check from the Hard Rock Heals Foundation – the nonprofit arm of Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming – and the Willie G. Invitational golf tournamentwas presented to representatives of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Veterans Shelter.

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A $40,000 check presentation was made to the Oglala Sioux Tribe Veterans Shelter at the grand opening. The donation came from the first Willie G. Invitational golf tournament and the Hard Rock Heals Foundation. From left to right are Hard Rock International COO Jon Lucas, Oglala Sioux Tribe vice president Alicia Mousseau, Karen and Bill Davidson of the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and Marlin and Camille McMakin of the Boulder Canyon Golf Club. (Kevin Eilbeck)
The Rocksino is located in historic Deadwood, South Dakota. (Kevin Eilbeck)
Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola gave remarks at the event. (Kevin Eilbeck)
The festivities also included a gift exchange between Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola, at right, and Sioux tribal leaders. (Kevin Eilbeck) 
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued a proclamation on the occasion of the Rocksino grand opening. (Hard Rock)