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First responders from around the state run the ropes in Rapid City

Lon Chau with the Rapid City Fire Department repels down from the roof of the Monument Arena
C.J. Keene
Lon Chau with the Rapid City Fire Department repels down from the roof of the Monument Arena

It’s always hectic when the Sturgis Rally rolls around. With extra calls bringing in extra hands every single year, it’s an opportunity to get everyone on the same page in training.

It’s not every day you see boot prints on the ceiling of the Monument Arena in downtown Rapid City, but this training hosted by the RCFD has firefighters from across the state ready to repel.

Doing the ropes training are members of the South Dakota Task Force-1 from Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown and Aberdeen. RCFD public information officer Tessa Jeager said the rally can be hard on the community.

“We specifically bring the task force in during the week of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally because it does have an impact on the community of Rapid City," Jaeger said. "It effects all forces of our community. We respond to more calls, so that’s why we have the South Dakota task force in our area training this week in case a large incident were to happen.”

RCFD Captain Ryan Ricke led the training. He said learning the ropes are practical in many firefighting situations.

“All of our USR – Urban Search and Rescue specialties – require a certain amount of rope knowledge," Ricke said. "If we’re going to be moving heavy things, rescuing people, there’s always some kind of rope aspect or there could be. So, it’s kind of a base that we like to focus on.”

In addition to ascending the walls, firefighters also made a roughly 150-foot descent from the catwalks of the Monument basketball arena.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture