The Spirit of Six

Posted by South Dakota Public Broadcasting on
Tripp-Delmont-Armour received the Spirit of Six Award in 2018.

Each March during the state high school basketball championships, revelry and competition pause for more somber moments as the Spirit of Six and Spirit of Su awards are bestowed. The Spirit of Su is given to an outstanding athlete who exemplifies the achievements of SueAnne Big Crow, (Oglala Sioux) a three-time Class A all-stater for the Pine Ridge Lady Thorpes who died in a car accident en route to the Miss Basketball awards.

The Spirit of Six honors six Rapid City High School cheerleaders who died in a plane crash March 17, 1968, at Rapid City Regional Airport as they returned from leading Cobbler fans at the state championships in Sioux Falls. Jan Glaze, Shirley Landstrom, Laureen “Kay” McNutt, Terry Blanton, Diana McCluskey and Gail Flohr died, along with pilot Ivan Landstrom, his wife, Mary (Shirley’s parents) and English teacher and cheer adviser Dorothy Lloyd. The South Dakota Peace Officers originated the award to memorialize the girls by recognizing an outstanding cheerleading squad that exemplifies the late leaders’ commitment and dynamism.

20_original_file_I3.jpgSite of the 1968 plane crash.

In conjunction with SDPB’s coverage of the state tournaments, Nate Wek and Brad Van Osdel trace the history and evolution of the Spirit of Six award, from its early beginnings as a presentation in hotel lobbies to the South Dakota High School Activities Association expanding the recognition to all classes at both tournaments during a half-time Saturday night award ceremony.

In a digital shorts to air during basketball coverage, SDPB visits the Spirit of Six memorials in Rapid City, including one by Crazy Horse Memorial sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. We talk with Paul Jensen, a Rapid City High 1968 graduate, who was close with Laureen “Kay” McNutt and Jan Glaze, who has found the memorials helpful in dealing with the loss of friends in his youth. “Because we really weren’t allowed to cry,” says Jensen. “We really didn’t have any counseling or support, so we just took it as it was. Stiff upper lip stuff back then, because all our parents were World War II. They’d been through some really tough things and that’s the way you did it back then. There were a lot of people who didn’t get proper closure. I remember playing Glenn Yarborough records for three days straight and not sleeping.”

subscribe to sdpb email updates food blog link image learning blog link image living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Related content from SDPB Radio - Art

The Enduring Simplicity (And Complexity) Of Michael Hall

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 Michael Hall writes picture books that delight and endure. He's...

Art That Takes You Home

In The Moment ... July 18, 2018 Show 381 Hour 2 Jon Crane creates "Art that Takes You Home." After a tour at...

Renowned Artists Visit Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute

In The Moment ... June 19, 2018 Show 361 Hour 2 Art can be meditation, expression, activism, and escape. It can also...

Eagle Butte Artists Learn Tips To Flourish

Artists who turn their passion into a business venture can find it a challenge. They need to figure out the details...

Books

The Multiple Hearts Of Laura Geringer Bass

In The Moment ... September 20. 2018 Show 426 Hour 2 When 13 year-old Briana's dad dies suddenly, she is faced with...

Read, Baby, Read: What's America's Best-Loved Novel?

In The Moment ... May 22, 2018 Show 342 Hour 1 What's America's best-loved novel? You get to decide. PBS launches...

Author Kirk Wallace Johnson's "The Feather Thief"

In the Moment ... May 1, 2018 Show 327 Hour 1 The centuries-old art of salmon fishing fly-tying has a dark side. It...

Jane Yolen Celebrates #Yolen365 And Counting

In The Moment ... April 26, 2018 Show 324 Hour 1 In March, author Jane Yolen released her 365th book. That means you...

Music

Matthews Opera House Season Preview

In The Moment ... September 26. 2018 Show 430 Hour 2 The Matthews Opera House subscription concert series begins...

Fun Approach To Music Theory

Andrew Rogers – in home music lessons designed for children and young adults. Uses a unique teaching style that...

The Literary Style of Reina del Cid

Reina del Cid kicks off her summer tour with a stop in Sioux Falls at the Icon Lounge. She joins SDPB's Lori Walsh...

Eric Johnson Returns For Black Hills Playhouse Opener

In The Moment ... May 29, 2018 Show 346 Hour 2 Leave the ordinary behind at this year's Black Hills Playhouse Season...

Theater

Broadway Choreographer Chet Walker

In the Moment ... April 9, 2018 Show 311 Hour 1 The University of South Dakota Theater Department presents "Cabaret"...

Images of the Past: Stage To Screen

In The Moment ... November 27, 2017 Show 227 Hour 2 A new exhibit at the Old Courthouse Museum tells the story of...

Personalities: From Huron High to Broadway

Singer, actor, and teacher Joseph Mahowald graduated from Huron High School in 1977. He went on to study music and...

In The Moment ... Alex Meyer's Scenic Design

In The Moment ... May 10, 2017 Show 090 Hour 2 Alex Meyer. He's a junior art and theater major at Augustana College...