The embarrassing goof that invalidated a recent county auction of pristine public Black Hills land provided a $42,000 boost in revenue to Pennington County taxpayers after publicity over the mistake drove up bidder interest.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe purchased the remote 40-acre parcel at an auction Tuesday, paying more than $144,000 for the land. That price was about $42,000 more, or 41 percent higher, than the amount the first failed auction would have raised for county coffers.

The 40-acre tract west of Deerfield Road has limited access and sits about 6,850 feet in elevation. Pennington County owned the land for nearly a century, but didn't realize it until recently, and opted for an auction to get the land off its books.

The initial auction was declared void after a Hermosa man submitted a winning bid for what he thought was a total price of $2,550 for the land. In fact, he had bid that much per acre, for a total of $102,000 — an amount he did not have. County and auction officials declared a "no sale" soon after the man realized his mistake.

Rosebud Tribal Treasurer Louis Wayne Boyd made the purchase by phone through Todd McPherson, broker associate for McPherson Auction & Realty, the Rapid City company that conducted the sale. Boyd could not be reached by phone or email immediately after the auction.

This time, the tribe paid $3,600 per acre. The tribe will also pay another $14,400 for the 10 percent auction fee and a $10 filing fee, for a total of $158,410.

After paying its fees, the county will divide about $140,000 among its taxing districts, with the largest percentage going to the school system.

McPherson said the media attention from the failed auction prompted at least three potential buyers to fly in from as far as Kansas to visit the property, and there was interest from as far as California.

"In the end, fabulous for the taxpayers," McPherson said. "The anticipated money that was generated from the first auction, we surpassed that by so much it is fantastic. It works out great for the county, and for the different entities that are going to receive these funds."

The auction Tuesday attracted about 30 people, most of which did not attend the first event. Jim Dehaai of Keystone owns a cabin near the property, but the bids exceeded his cutoff price almost immediately.

"I figured it would go for more, but I didn't know it would go for that much more," Dehaai said. "That part of it is isolation; you don't have any power, there is no traffic up there. I think that appeals to a lot of people."

Despite the confusion from the first sale, the county taxpayers profited.

"(It's a) good thing for the taxpayers of Pennington County, and that is what we are suppose to do, get the most," said County Auditor Julie Pearson.

McPherson and his brother, who acted as auctioneer, joked multiple times before and during the auction the land would be sold per acre.

"This is round two, we are going to go again," McPherson said while laughing at the introduction. "Any questions on how we are selling today? I didn't think so."

The Rosebud Tribe land buy comes just days after a consortium of tribes raised $9 million to buy sacred land known as Pe' Sla in the Black Hills.

Officials from Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota announced Friday that they had raised $9 million to buy a nearly 2,000-acre tract of land known as Pe' Sla, from a private owner.


Contact Ryan Lengerich at 394-8418 or

(12) comments


I love it! The greedy developers can get out of town!


Since the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has purchased 40 acres of land, will the land now be taken off the tax rolls as it has been done in other counties? It is the US government who is bankrolling the Rosebud Sioux Tribe through local taxes for land purchases because the US government is paying for the functioning of the "independent nation" Tribal members want to be American citizens with benefits without the responsibility and then are members of a "sovereign nation"

Iktomi Writes

I think it's a good thing the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is buying back land. Ideally the 1868 Treaty would've been upheld. I think we all need to get a lot more comfortable with Tribal Governments buying back land and Native individuals as well.


As long as we have Ryan77 of the world I can only be thankfull this next generation will be taught the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understanding adapted by the states Board of Regants....standingup for the people great post...Ryan I hope you learned something...


If it was the Arikara's and Crow's why didn't they bid for it? I'm with Jonnnnn. Outstanding!!


Ryan77 regardless of who you believe occupied the Black Hills before the Sioux it was this country's law and treaty that gave it to the Sioux Nation for their exlusive use (living, hunting, ceremony, etc...) in 1868 (Fort Laramie). But when gold was discovered it was illegaly seized in 1877 and our peoples natural way of life was destroyed. The theft was followed by massacres and confinement of my ancestors and more land theft. You may not believe our creation stories and how we believe this to be sacred land but people like you seem to continually forget the fact that the U.S. Government broke their own treaty because of a piece of shiny metal (which I might add is against God's laws to worship according to the Christian bible). So point is give up on the arguement of who occupied the land first because either way it belongs to the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people. Many of us believe that all land is sacred what is so wrong with wanting to protect something so beautiful and natrual from greedy developers who would pollute your water to make a buck?

Local Observer

standingup said "all land is sacred what is so wrong with wanting to protect something so beautiful and natrual from greedy developers". But I just received a copy of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's Tribal Land Enterprise lease advertisement that offers Tribal land for lease. The minimum lease for grazing land here in Todd County is $10 per acre for RST members, BUT it's $15 per acre for non-members!

WOW, talk about a "greedy developer"!!! I have to wonder what a member would say today if they were charged half again more than a non-member for anything?

Is this even legal or Constitutional?


15 bucks sure beats $3,600.00 per acre.


Wonder how the second-place bidder from the first auction feels....watching his land go for 50k more that what he should have had it for. This was such a sham auction....of course the prices will be higher the second time when everyone has shown their hand and the RCJ publishes a front page story on it.


Yep Jonnnnn..Then you can work on giving it back to the Arikara and Crow who were here before the Sioux...


Through this governments laws and treaties the land was given to the Sioux Nation for their exlusive use (living, hunting, ceremony, etc) in 1868 until gold (which according to God's law and the Christian Bible is illigal to worship) was discovered and the land was illegaly seized. So regardless of who you believe occupied the land prior to the Sioux or whether or not you believe our creation stories and our sacred beliefs the land rightfully (by US law, which they broke) belongs to the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota people. What so wrong that we humans want to protect and preserve the land for future generations rather than it being developed and destroyed?


Outstanding!! Likely within 7 generations of the great swindle and fraud the Dakota will once again own Paha Sapa.

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