Deep in the Black Hills National Forest, Christians from the Dakotas and beyond renew ties and enjoy fellowship.
By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle
DEADWOOD, S.D. — Revving engines of Harleys, Yamahas and Kawasakis are the first clue you’re getting close to Black Hills Bible Camp.
For a half-century, the youth and family camp has brought together members of Churches of Christ during the same week as the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
“It’s a little piece of heaven,” said Dustri Brown, 33, who met her future husband, Lance, at the Bible camp when she was 9 and he was 8. “You’re singing and praising God. The worldly things don’t matter. It’s the joy of being together with fellow Christians.”
Each August, the motorcycle rally attracts an estimated 500,000 people to the southwestern region of South Dakota — and thousands of bikers cruise U.S. Highway 385 near the turnoff for the camp.
About 15 minutes south of Deadwood — around the time you see a green sign that says Mount Rushmore is 39 miles away — you reach a gravel road shrouded by yellow pines that stretch 80 to 100 feet high.
Four miles of bumpy twists and turns inside the Black Hills National Forest lead you past an outdoor swimming hole, over a little bridge and — finally — to the kitchen, the chapel and the wooden cabins that serve as the weeklong home for nearly 200 Christians from the Dakotas and nine other states.
From the campers, you hear conflicting stories about why Black Hills Bible Camp always coincides with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
This story appears in the September 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.