With the promise of another sizzling August on the northern Plains, motorcycle enthusiasts from across the nation will travel through South Dakota intent on destinations like Yellowstone and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Lying astride the Interstate 90 corridor midway between Sioux Falls and Rapid City is the town of Murdo. Here bikers will find the world famous Pioneer Auto Show known for its extensive display of classic cars. In addition, Pioneer Auto is also host to a fine collection of antique motorcycles.
"Motorcycles have always brought people together who otherwise may not relate," said Dave Geisler, owner and operator of this I-90 attraction. "Those seeking a break from the miles and interested in the history and preservation of classic motorcycles will be attracted to our extensive motorcycle exhibit."
This classic motorcycle collection appeals to anyone from the two-wheel wind set, starting with a 1914 Indian twin cylinder continuing to a 1936 Harley Davidson and to a 1986 three-wheeled motorized bike.
The motorcycle collection at this South Dakota attraction includes Elvis Presley's personal Harley Davidson. With Elvis' name still on the title and only 1200 miles, the cycle is a popular feature in the classic motorcycle showroom.
Additionally, a 1943 Indian Papoose, and a 1947 and 1948 Whizzer, always draws a crowd. A Cushman Eagle, a 1964 Honda Dream and a 1965 Honda Dream 305 are also in the antique motorcycle display at this family attraction.
"This time of year, with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the bulk of our visitors share two qualities: a desire for a short break from the wind and an admiration for classic motorcycles," said Dave. "We hope we appeal to both interests."
Pioneer Auto in Murdo, South Dakota is renowned for its amazing collection of vintage cars and memorabilia. There is another sort of collection also located at the museum — the National Rockhound Hall of Fame and Lapidary. This fossil, gem, and rock collection includes many rare and unique finds of mineralology.
The National Rockhound and Lapidary Hall of Fame was founded in 1987 by June Culp Zeitner to recognize excellence in the earth sciences by inducting one or more persons each year in six categories: Minerals, Fossils, Metal Craft, Lapidary, Education and Tribute (Deceased). At this time there are inductees representing 44 states. All of the inductees are experts in their fields. Many of them have published several books and most of them have been active in community service.
"This is a dream for anyone who is interested in rock collecting or geology," said Dave Geisler Sr., owner of Pioneer Auto. "We are honored to have this one of a kind collection here at Pioneer Auto."
Included on display are agates, copper minerals, petrified wood, and even a sloth claw fossil — the largest sloth claw ever found. It is quite a bit more than ‘just a rock collection.'
Why in Murdo, South Dakota? June Culp Zeitner, a longtime South Dakota resident, was a world renowned mineralologist and a great contributor to the study of minerals and fossils. She has written 12 books and over 1,000 articles on cutting and polishing stones, natural history and different rock collection methods. Zeitner was the founder of the State Stone Program, which enabled each state to select an official stone, mineral and fossil.
"June Zeitner was passionate about sharing her knowledge of rocks, gems and fossils," says Geisler Sr. "Her father-in-law never walked by a product of the earth without taking a closer look — and June followed right in his footsteps."
Dubbed "The First Lady of Gems" at the White House Rose Garden - during a ceremony to honor and thank June Culp Zeitner and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Zeitner was a celebrity in her own right. During her lifetime she and her husband, Albert, amassed a significant amount of rocks, gems and fossils. Her writings on these finds would go on to earn her the award of the 2006 Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Mineralogical Award, which celebrates significant contributions to the science of mineralogy.
To learn more about this unique display at Pioneer Auto in Murdo, or for additional information about other exhibits, visit http://www.pioneerautoshow.com/rock-collection.php or call 605-669-2691.
As many summer tourists travel on interstate 90 across South Dakota, they will find themselves with the opportunity to visit one of the most unique auto museums within hundreds of miles — Pioneer Auto Show.
What started as a Phillips 66 gas station in 1954 by Dick Geisler, has evolved into more than a 42 building car enthusiast attraction. Geisler used to park vintage cars at the gas station in order to entice customers to stop and fill up. One of the cars was a 1913 Ford Peddler's Wagon, which is still on display at the Auto Show today.
"We still have people that stop for gas in Murdo just to get a look at the cars," said Pioneer Auto's Owner, Dave Geisler. "Even people who travel through every year will stop in to say hi and take a look at what is new."
Pioneer Auto has many unique items on display at the attraction. No longer just cars, they also have tractors, license plates, circus games and typewriters, just to name a few. A compiled list of the eclectic and fun collection can be found at http://www.pioneerautoshow.com/collections.php.
If the kids are feeling pent up in the car Pioneer Auto has a treasure hunt especially for them. They get a treasure map and clues to different stops around the property. Upon each successful treasure find, they get a sticker to place on the map. If they complete the treasure hunt, they get a prize at the front entrance.
Leashed pets are also welcome at the Pioneer Auto Show to stretch their legs and get some fresh air.
Not only does the Big Show offer vintage cars, antiques, and collectibles to ponder, it also contains a Prairie Town. Take a self guided tour thorough this early mid-west, turn of the century town and see things such as the original Murdo Bank, a blacksmith shop, livery barn, jail house, and general store. Another highlight you will not want to miss is the restored WNAX Gas Station.
If you are a collector or if you just want to take home a little piece of Pioneer Auto Show, they have a gift store with over 4,500 square feet of collectible items and antiques for sale. This includes toys, street signs, coca cola products and many more pieces of 50's nostalgia. You can find more information about this product and many others by visiting the website and connecting with Pioneer Auto on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/PioneerAutoShow.
Whatever your final destination, plan a stop at Pioneer Auto Show. Since 1954 people have been coming to see what is new and to be amazed by the unique glimpse into history that this once road-side gas station has to offer.