It’s an unconventional way to learn about American history: taking a motorcycle and camera along for the ride. A Utah teacher is taking a unique journey to educate people about the nation’s history, while helping to spark tourism in the Black Hills.
It’s a small town known for its gambling and rich history. Inside Deadwood’s Saloon #10, Stan Ellsworth gives his audience a lesson on American history. The Salt Lake City history teacher is taking his motorcycle and a production team on a ride around the country, an American Ride.
“American Ride is about the founding fathers, the fundamentals of our government and the great stories of the American people,” said Ellsworth.
In the episode being filmed Monday, Ellsworth tells a story about deadwood’s infamous bad boy, Wild Bill Hickcock.
“He killed about 36 men before he shows up here in Deadwood, in Deadwood he added a few more to that tally but the gold that Bill came here for, not so much the gold in the Black Hills, but the gold that was at the gambling tables,” Ellsworth said.
The former NFL player says while in the Black Hills, he plans to share the stories of both Americans and American Indians as he tours the Old West for the show’s fourth season.
“Television shows like this really educates people that Deadwood is a real place, said George Milos, Director of Deadwood’s Chamber of Commerce. “I think a lot of times you hear about Wild Bill Hickcock and Calamity Jane and you think they just might be a myth.”
Milos says the national exposure is good for education and even better for generating tourism revenue, whether at the slot machines or at tourist attractions.
“It generates an enormous amount of interest and every time there’s interest, they’ll call and get brochures, and if they’re passing through they’ll stop by the gas stations, they’ll eat in restaurants, so the impact is 10 fold,” said Milos.
Ellsworth says he hopes his American Ride through the Black Hills will inspire others to experience a piece of American history.
American Ride will film at Crazy Horse Monument and other parts of the Black Hills this week. The Old West season airs in next April on BYU-TV.