Skip to Content

Experience the Thrills and Legends at Wild Bill Days 2024 in Deadwood, South Dakota!

Skyblue Overland may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article.

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Celebrate the legendary Wild Bill Hickok at Wild Bill Days 2024 in Deadwood! Enjoy live concerts, thrilling reenactments, gold panning, a classic car auction, and more from June 13-15. Fun for all ages!



Guide to Wild Bill Days 2024 in Deadwood, South Dakota

Wild Bill Days is an annual festival held in Deadwood, South Dakota, celebrating the life and legend of Wild Bill Hickok. Scheduled for June 13-15, 2024, this vibrant event offers a blend of historical reenactments, live music, and a plethora of activities suitable for all ages. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your experience at Wild Bill Days.

Read our complete Black Hills travel and adventure guide here.

History of Deadwood and Wild Bill Hickok

The History of Deadwood

Deadwood was founded in the late 19th century during the Black Hills Gold Rush. This boomtown quickly gained a reputation for its lawlessness, attracting miners, outlaws, gamblers, and entrepreneurs. By 1876, Deadwood was teeming with people seeking fortune in the gold-rich hills. The town’s early years were marked by a series of infamous events and characters that shaped its legacy, including the tragic murder of Wild Bill Hickok.

Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was a legendary figure of the American Old West. Born in 1837, Hickok gained fame as a scout, lawman, and gunfighter. His sharpshooting skills and larger-than-life persona made him a folk hero. In 1876, Wild Bill arrived in Deadwood and quickly became a fixture of the town’s saloons and poker tables. His life was cut short on August 2, 1876, when he was shot in the back of the head while playing poker at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon. The hand he held at the time of his death—aces and eights—became known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.”

How to Get to Deadwood

Deadwood is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, about 40 miles northwest of Rapid City. The closest airport is Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP), offering car rentals and shuttle services to Deadwood. If you prefer driving, Deadwood is accessible via Interstate 90 and Highway 14A, providing scenic routes through the beautiful Black Hills.

Festival Overview

Wild Bill Days will take place from June 13-15, 2024, in the historic town of Deadwood, South Dakota. The festival’s main activities and events are concentrated along Main Street, where the town’s rich history comes alive through various performances and exhibitions.

Photo: Wild Bill Days

Event Highlights

Historical Reenactments: Experience the wild west through captivating reenactments of historical events, including the infamous shooting of Wild Bill Hickok. Actors in period costumes bring the Old West to life, offering a glimpse into Deadwood’s storied past.

Live Music: Enjoy a diverse lineup of musical acts performing throughout the festival. From country and bluegrass to rock and blues, there’s something for everyone. Main Street transforms into a lively concert venue with performances by both local and nationally renowned artists.

DockDogs® Competitions: Watch as dogs of all breeds compete in high-flying, dock-diving competitions. These events are a hit with families and dog lovers, showcasing impressive athleticism and training.

Wild West Parades: The festival features parades with floats, horses, and performers, reflecting the spirit and culture of the Wild West. The parades are a colorful spectacle, drawing crowds of enthusiastic spectators.

Gold Panning and Gem Mining: Participate in gold panning and gem mining activities, echoing Deadwood’s gold rush history. These hands-on experiences are educational and fun, especially for children.

Classic Car Auction: Witness the 10th annual collector car and memorabilia auction, featuring nearly 75 high-quality and unique classic cars and memorabilia.

Special Guests and Activities at Mr. Wu’s Casino: Meet actors from HBO’s “Deadwood” and enjoy free BBQ, music, and bottomless draft beer.

Detailed Schedule

Thursday, June 13
  • 8:00 p.m.: Ivory – At Outlaw Square
  • DockDogs® Competitions: Registration and practice start at 12:00 p.m., followed by Speed Retrieve Wave #1 at 1:00 p.m. and Extreme Vertical Wave #1 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Mr. Wu’s Casino Events: Free concert featuring West Bound from 2:00-5:00 p.m. and Pumpin’ Ethyl from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Friday, June 14
  • 5:00 p.m.: 484th Army Band – Main Street Stage
  • 6:15 p.m.: Brandon Jones – Main Street Stage
  • 8:00 p.m.: Aaron Tippin – Main Street Stage
  • DockDogs® Competitions: Registration and practice start at 10:00 a.m., followed by Big Air Wave #1 at 11:00 a.m., Big Air Wave #2 at 1:30 p.m., and Extreme Vertical Wave #2 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Mr. Wu’s Casino Events: Free concert featuring Stereo Trip from 2:00-5:00 p.m. and Narrow Gauge from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Midnight Cowboy Run: Registration at Outlaw Square from 12:00 p.m., run starts at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 15
  • 2:00 p.m.: Trial of Jack McCall – Main Street Stage
  • 3:00 p.m.: Dakota Country – Main Street Stage
  • 4:15 p.m.: Jessica Loobey – Main Street Stage
  • 5:30 p.m.: Tristen Schofield and Drive By Night – Main Street Stage
  • 6:45 p.m.: TBA – Main Street Stage
  • 8:00 p.m.: Pam Tillis – Main Street Stage
  • DockDogs® Competitions: Registration and practice start at 9:00 a.m., followed by Big Air Wave #3 at 10:00 a.m., Big Air Wave #4 at 12:30 p.m., Speed Retrieve Wave #2 at 3:00 p.m., and Big Air Finals at 5:00 p.m.
  • Gold Panning and Sluicing: Lessons from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Collector Car Auction: Starts at 10:00 a.m. inside Deadwood Mt. Grand’s event center.
  • Mr. Wu’s Casino Events: Free concert featuring West Bound from 2:00-5:00 p.m. and Narrow Gauge from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Wild Deadwood Reads Book Fair: From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Lodge at Deadwood.
  • Kids Activities: From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Outlaw Square.

Photo: Wild Bill Days

Tips for Attending

Where to Stay

Bullock Hotel: Stay at the historic Bullock Hotel, offering charming accommodations with a touch of the Old West. Located on Main Street, it’s a perfect base for exploring Deadwood’s attractions.

Deadwood Mountain Grand: This luxury resort features modern amenities, a casino, and live entertainment. Enjoy stunning views and easy access to all the festival activities.

The Lodge at Deadwood: A family-friendly option with comfortable rooms, a pool, and on-site dining. It’s an ideal spot for relaxing after a day of festivities.

Dining and Nightlife

The Deadwood Social Club: Dine at this upscale restaurant located above Saloon No. 10. Enjoy delicious Italian and steak dishes in a historic setting.

Saloon No. 10: A must-visit bar where Wild Bill Hickok met his fate. Experience the lively atmosphere, live music, and extensive drink menu.

Mustang Sally’s: A casual spot for burgers, sandwiches, and beers. Perfect for a quick bite between festival activities.

Jacob’s Brewhouse & Grocer: Offering locally sourced dishes and craft beers, this restaurant provides a unique dining experience in Deadwood.

What to Bring
  • Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so comfortable footwear is a must.
  • Sunscreen and Hat: Protect yourself from the sun, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Camera: Capture the vibrant scenes and historic reenactments.
Safety

Stay hydrated and be mindful of the weather. South Dakota can experience variable weather conditions in June, so be prepared for both sunny and rainy days.

Photo: Wild Bill Days

Conclusion

Wild Bill Days in Deadwood, South Dakota, is a must-attend event for history buffs, music lovers, and families looking for a fun-filled weekend. The festival’s blend of historical reenactments, live music, and engaging activities ensures there’s something for everyone. Plan your visit, immerse yourself in the Wild West, and enjoy the legendary celebration of Wild Bill Hickok.


Popular Articles:

Groovin’ by the Creek: Your Ultimate Guide to the Boulder Creek Festival

Planning the Perfect Adventure Trip to Rapid City, South Dakota

Boulder Bonanza: Must-Hit Festivals, Concerts, and Events for an Epic Summer

2023 GMC Canyon Teased in AT4X Off-Road Trim In Advance of Reveal

Epic Adventures on the Big Screen: Your Guide to the 2024 Telluride Mountainfilm Festival