It’s hard to believe this is 605‘s 100th issue. From having cows relieve themselves on us during a photo shoot to having a couple massage a staff member for a story, it has definitely been a wild ride. Since meeting creative, compassionate, and inspiring South Dakotans is why the magazine was created in the first place, we revisited six cover stories to see what they’ve been up to.


August 2013 Cover

Creator/executive producer of White Wall Sessions, Jeff Zueger, simply wanted “no rules, just creation” when he started inviting local musicians to play in his Spectrum Films Inc. studio in the spring of 2013.

With only two microphones, two cameras, and a white backdrop set up, the first session of what is now known as White Wall Sessions was filmed with local artist (and now one of Zueger’s best friends), Steve Zastrow.

After creating an official Facebook page to post songs for the project, they booked over 10 bands in a week. They soon found that watching artists “un-plug” in a relaxed atmosphere (bands play around five to six songs per session) was catching on fast, and White Wall Sessions was picked up for 26 episodes on KELO-TV.

Zueger said at the time, “I would like to make the White Wall Sessions a destination for musicians on a regional, or even national, level.”

Fast forward to April 2017. Zueger’s experiment has turned into a successful program that is currently filming its fifth season. Not only that, but they’re celebrating a year this month at their new studio location, located on the bottom floor of Last Stop CD Shop on 10th Street in Sioux Falls.

“It’s been crazy with the amount of submissions we’ve had [this year],” said Zueger. “We’ve had over 120 people that applied to be on the show for just this season. It’s going up and up and up. People are coming; it’s awesome.”

This season will showcase 60 acts, which includes regional, national, and international acts, like Them Coulee Boys from Eau Claire, Wisc. (April 1), Crankshaft (April 19) from Anoka, Minn., and Leaf Rapids (April 22) from Winnipeg, Ontario.

The change of venue has been huge and has allowed them to bring up to 75 live audience members in for tapings. Beer and wine is also sold during tapings, which creates the full intimate concert experience. Zueger says their new studio has some of the best – if not the best – sound in the area.

“We weren’t just moving into a place and making things work,” said Zueger. “We got to kind of build it from scratch. We took the time to put the sound proofing in the walls and in the ceilings. We knew it would be important.”

The fourth season of White Wall Sessions was a success, along with their online video views, which Zueger says have been watched in over 165 countries.

“As far as our digital footprint, we just hit 300,000 views on YouTube  – that was a big one,” he said.

They have also started a podcast in the last month that is available on iTunes and other reliable podcast sources. “We cut the commercials out [of the shows] and modify it; it’s essentially the same content, and we just hit 1,000 downloads on that,” explained Zueger.

Another new element is using their space to have “listening parties.”

“I’m going to invest in some rock-and-roll lights and intelligent LEDs, and we can easily put up a black curtain and it’s a completely different space. Then we can host shows here,” he said.

These events wouldn’t have any recording and would act as a concert. He continued, “We’ll probably bring the audience in more and put gels in the lights.”

There currently isn’t a name for this concept, but the group has casually started calling the basement “Last Stop Studios.”

Along with starting to also air in North Dakota and Minnesota, Zueger and his crew are excited about the constant growth and look forward to continuing to film the fifth season. “We’ve got some good bands coming in, I know that,” he said with a  smile.

The fifth season of White Wall Sessions will premiere in September on KELO-TV every Saturday at 9:30 p.m. mountain/10:30 p.m. central.

To check studio times or more information, visit


Entry is typically $5 and can be purchased at Last Stop CD Shop locations:

Saturday, April 1
Them Coulee Boys
from Eau Claire, Wis. Start time: 12 p.m.

Thursday, April 13
from Sioux Falls
Start time: 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 15
Tuff Roots from Sioux Falls
Start time: 4 p.m.

Monday, April 17
Caroline Cotter from Portland, Maine
Start time: 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19
Crankshaft from Anoka, Minn.
Start time: 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 20
Kris Lager Band from Omaha, Nebr.
Start time: 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 22
Leaf Rapids from Winnipeg, Ontario
Start time: 2 p.m.

Saturday, April 22
Union Grove Pickers
from Sioux Falls
Start time: 4 p.m.


June 2011 Cover

When we visited Laura Benson on her family’s 3,000-acre crop and dairy farm in 2011, we definitely got our hands (well, mostly feet) dirty. Laura Nielson, at the time, gave us a tour of Nielson Farms, which is still owned by her father and uncle. Purchased from her grandfather, Benson is a third-generation farmer and is in the 98 percentile of family owned and operated farms in the United States.

Benson was in charge of dairy and helped produce 1.5 million gallons of milk per year. One of their biggest clients on the roster is a familiar one – Kraft Foods.

“If you’re using Kraft, it probably could be from our farm,” she said in 2011.

Ag United brought the young farmer to our attention for her YouTube channel work ( After “dinking around” on the internet, Benson had typed in “Farm Girl” in the YouTube search bar and was appalled with what she found. A woman who “looked like a hillbilly” with “cliché pigtails” made a mockery of female farmers. Benson became even more shocked when she saw it had over 80,000 views.

Soon after, she started a video diary-style series dubbed The Real Farm Girl, documenting day-to-day happenings, like nursing a sick cow or discussing a 2012 corn harvest drought. The agriculture world took notice, and soon Benson was speaking at Ag United events, along with speaking engagements in St. Louis, Mo. and Minneapolis, Minn. She was also part of the nationwide movement, CommonGround – a group educating suburban and city women to help with the disconnect of modern farming and to “dispel myths.”

With over 50 videos and thousands of views, it’s no wonder her next venture took off because of her knack of social media.

The following year, 2012, Benson got married. She also started a clothing company on the side from her basement. Traveling to rodeos, she hauled the clothes with her to sell.

“It started really Western, hence the name, [Filly Flair],” she said. “It grew really quickly in person and online.”

The customer base evolved into more “fast, trendy fashion,” so Benson followed what the people wanted. Shortly after, she opened her first storefront in Colton, opened only on Saturdays, while mostly shipping out inventory.

That turned into opening a warehouse at the Baltic exit and moving two storefronts the last few years, ending up at the Beacon Center in Sioux Falls. Filly Flair blew up, flying past 1,000,000 likes on Facebook.

Still working on the farm, Benson had a full time employee running the store, but knew at six months pregnant that she should focus on her company with the high volume of orders. Not only that, but her husband was a beef cattle farmer.

“I love the farm, it’s just part of me and who I am, but I knew I was going to have a baby, we needed to start our own farm life, and [Filly Flair] was doing very well,” she said. “Giving my dad notice was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

It was the end of an era. Or so she thought.

Last fall Benson’s father was diagnosed with cancer, and a tumor on his spine left him paralyzed.

“I took a hiatus for a couple of months to go back and take over everything, because he went to the hospital one day for back pain and didn’t come home for three months,” she explained.

Slowly he is making strides to walk again, but “it’s never going to be the same.”

Now with two children, Charlie, 2, and Dace, 1, trips to the farm are more frequent to show them the life of agriculture.

“Between being on the farm at our place, we still get a lot of the farm life,” she said. “It’s hard, because it still is a really strong part of who I am, but [my company] just enthralls my life.”

With 20 staff members, Benson can usually be found at the warehouse, but – like many entrepreneurs – she’s also working at home at night.

“After I put my kids to bed, it’s still so much about work, because you have to be,” she said. “I’m always buying and talking with vendors and catching up on stuff.”

Benson is excited about spring dress season, and – of course – calving season.

“I’m hoping to get calves this summer.,” she said with a smile. “My daughter is almost 3, and she’s gotta be around those baby calves.”

For more information, visit

For 2017 Farm Inspiration...

Rebecca Christman of Ag United recommends following blogger Sari Bainbridge for farm inspiration. Recently moving from Jakarta, Indonesia to the small town of Ethan, follow her stories on the farm, along with other personal experiences. For more information, visit

Check Out the Growing List of SD Breweries:

  • Crow Peak Brewing Company (Spearfish)
  • Dakota Shrivers Brewing (Lead)
  • Dempsey’s Brewery, Pub, and Restaurant (Watertown)
  • Fernson Brewing Company (Sioux Falls)
  • Firehouse Brewing Company (Rapid City)
  • Gandy Dancer Brewery (Sioux Falls)
  • Hay Camp Brewing Co. (Rapid City)
  • Hydra Beer Co. (Sioux Falls)
  • The Knuckle Brewing Company (Sturgis)
  • Lost Cabin Beer Co. (Rapid City)
  • Miner Brewing Company (Hill City)
  • Sick N Twisted Brewery (Hill City)
  • Watertown Brewing (Watertown)
  • Wooden Legs Brewing Co. (Brookings)
  • WoodGrain Brewing Co. (Sioux Falls)


May 2013 Cover

When we were working on A Brewing Trend in South Dakota in 2013, we were excited to showcase seven breweries that were popping up in the state. Naturally, we had to chat with one of the originals, Crow Peak Brewing Company president and head brewer Jeff Drumm. The Spearfish brewery (now a town staple) started in 2007, and Drumm and his wife did everything, from the brewing to tending bar. Their craft brews caught on fast.

“The beer was flowing faster than it could be brewed,” said Drumm.

After bringing on partners and expanding into a bigger brewing system in 2009, Crow Peak Brewing Company started distributing their craft brews statewide. After discussing home brewers and breweries creating a group for comradery and distribution laws, the South Dakota Brewers Guild, there were talks and predictions of a “brewing boom” in S.D.

And there was.

Now over 15 breweries and counting, bars and restaurants that once were overtaken with domestic tap beer choices, like Bud Light and Coors Light, are now full of local craft beer options.

“There’s been some good growth here West River and throughout the state, actually,” said Drumm. “It’s great for the industry, and we’re kind of catching up with the rest of the country. We’re getting more craft beer now and an appreciation for craft beer.”

What happened?

Drumm says he believes a lot of passionate home brewers saw businesses like theirs and finally saw an opportunity. And, according to Drumm, he’s in good company.

“We all get along. I’ve had brewers from the other breweries come here and get a feel on how it works before they open. It’s a really good community,” he said.

Just recently on their Facebook page, Crow Peak Brewing Company posted about collaborating with Black Hills neighbors The Knuckle Brewing Company and Lost Cabin Beer Co.

The business also hit a milestone, celebrating their 10-year anniversary on March 9.  Having only two beers on tap their opening night, they now serve over 12 beers, including Pile O’Dirt Porter, 605 Harvest Pale Ale, Canyon Cream Ale, and more. “We’ve learned a lot,” laughed Drumm of the past 10 years.

Recent updates include new recipes (always) to try out on customers, a new (large) fire pit, and plans for another expansion for even more production.

“[We want to] increase our footprint and go into new territories outside of South Dakota, like Montanta and more of Wyoming,” he said. “We’re in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebr. and also want to increase our presence there.”

Along with upcoming beer festivals (like the All South Dakota beer tasting at the 605 Summer Classic at Cherapa Place in Sioux Falls June 23-24), South Dakotans can celebrate the ever-advancing craft beer community with American Craft Beer Week May 15-21. Nationwide companies will host tap takeovers, beer and food pairings, brewery tours, and new beer releases.

For more information, visit

4th Annual Forks, Corks + Kegs in Deadwood

April 7-8 // Times Vary

Love craft beer, like Crow Peak?

If you also enjoy food and wine, don’t miss the fourth annual food and wine festival in Historic Deadwood. Sample a variety of beers and wine from all across the country, as well as Black Hills favorites, as you make your way to various tasting venues across town. Each location will feature their chef’s finest culinary creation, paired with “the perfect” complimentary beverage. The finale is the “Grand Tasting,” featuring dozens of beer and wine varieties, light hors d’oeuvres, and a dessert sample. Tickets are $45 (plus fees), and are available at For more information, visit


April 2013

When we caught up with Tyler Read of the Rapid City Arts Council, we felt like we had déjà vu.

In 2013, Art Alley (the alley between 6th and 7th Street in downtown Rapid City) was almost terminated, and whispers of the same situation have resurfaced. Putting it best, as 605 wrote in the original piece, the lack of communication was causing nothing but.

Read, along with efforts by City Council, the Rapid City Police Force, artists, and local businesses, had spent months coming to an informal “code of conduct” with the renowned alley, which is famous for being covered in graffiti murals.

This progress took huge strides, as a letter presented to the City Council expressing concern and disappointment in Art Alley had created an uproar that almost led to the project’s demise with a simple whitewash. There had allegedly been damage to vehicles and buildings, people were climbing on rooftops, destructive art started to appear, and there were reports of increased crime.

One of the biggest concerns, though, was the missing relationship between business owners and artists.

Now, years later, history almost repeated itself.

“In 2015, things started changing. One building pulled out of Art Alley, buffed their walls, and said they’re no longer going to be part of it. Another couple followed suit, and at that point, we rounded everyone up, all the building and business owners, and tried to find out what was going on,” said Read.

The consensus was, according to Read, that they didn’t feel their rights as building owners were being respected. “They didn’t have any control over their property anymore, and they were all pretty much ready to have it be done with,” he explained.

After speaking with the Chief of Police, Karl Jegeris, they confirmed a similar notion.

“[Police] had no control over the space anymore, as far as what goes up on the walls. They’re not in a job to decide what is and what isn’t art,” said Read. “In order to save it, we had to make a choice, and what was adopted was a permit system.”

The Rapid City Arts Council volunteered to organize and maintain the permit system for the public. Free of charge, the system is meant to hold artists accountable for their creations and to connect them directly to business owners. It also helps the police monitor who is using the space.

“We know, as the Arts Council, that if you’re coming in to apply for a permit, that you respect the space,” he continued, “so in that situation, we make it as easy and accessible as possible for artists to get their permit. Typically it takes about 20 minutes your first time, and after that you can just call me, and I’ll have it ready and waiting for you.”

Since the inception of the permits system last May, 54 permits have been written. In support, a donation from Destination Rapid City has been made to provide artists with permits art supplies for their work.

Read jokes that he feels like a real estate agent when working with artists who apply.

“You know, I find out what space requirements they need, and I show them spaces that are available that day,” he laughed. “But it’s good to have someone familiar with the space. I’ve been there for over a decade, and I know everyone that’s been painting there for the most part.”

Starting the permit system, according to Read, has brought back artists who left after becoming frustrated with tagging and other scrawl. One mural has been up, hardly scathed, since June.

“We still have a little bit of scrawl, but overall it’s been adopted and people are able to go back there and put a lot of effort into their work,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of effort, though. We’ve had kids come through who  wanted a permit. There was a 7-year-old who just wanted to paint the American flag. It probably took him all of about 20 minutes.”

With change comes some struggle, but Read is all around excited about the solution, and hopes more artists get on board.

“There have been some people who were very disappointed in this. It’s natural for people to not like change,” he said. “The reality of the situation is, you either have to adapt to change, figure out how to survive it, or just do away with the whole thing, because you’re not willing to evolve that concept.”

To apply for a permit, or for more information, visit the Rapid City Arts Council at

Read Selected as Exceptional Leader for 2017 Bush Fellowship

It was announced March 21 that Tyler Read was one of 24 chosen as an exceptional leader for the 2017 Bush Fellowship. Heather Dawn Thompson and Vaughn Vargas of Rapid City were also selected. The Bush Fellowship provides people with up to $100,000 over 12-24 months to pursue learning experiences that help them develop leadership skills and attributes.

“I will work with and learn from some of the largest and most socially innovative public arts programs in the country, such as Mural Arts Philadelphia, and I will bring these ideas back to the Midwest,” explained Read. “I will learn about programs like their Restorative Justice program, which does things like pair inmates with their children to work together on a massive mural that graces the city, creating a positive shared experience and opportunity to bond, which has proven results on reducing recidivism.”

Read also hopes to use a portion of funds to travel to communities throughout the Midwest with a special focus on reservation communities to help design public arts programs and spaces. For more information on the Bush Foundation, visit


January 2014 Cover

Back in 2014, during Brienne Maner’s 605 Young Leaders of the Year interview, it was clear she “lives, eats, and breathes the area” of downtown Sioux Falls. As communications and member coordinator of Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc., she had just finished one of her biggest accomplisments of her career – the inaugural Downtown Riverfest event held along the new Downtown River Greenway.

Using her event planning expertise from working at the Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society (helping run Sioux Falls JazzFest for three years), Maner was nervous about the change from Downtown Live to Riverfest as the largest annual DTSF concert event.

“It’s always kind of scary going into a new event and not know what’s really going to happen,” she said in 2014. “Not knowing what’s going to happen, how many people will show up, or if it will rain… but 10,000 people showed up.”

Now, as vice president of DTSF, Maner is planning the fifth annual Riverfest August 19. “In 2016, we saw 18,000 people attend our event,” she said.

The community-orientated event has had slight changes over the years, moving from a “long event” stretching from Hilton Garden Inn-Sioux Falls Downtown to Cherapa Place to now being outside of Cherapa Place and across the bridge around Raven Industries.

“Now we have a kids’ stage, attendees can go on canoe rides from the South Dakota Canoe & Kayak Association, and we turned [the Raven Industries] parking lot into sort of a food court,” explained Maner. “It has come a long way, and people come to expect it now. We see people come from not just Sioux Falls, but all over the region and United States for this event.”

The event also promotes cleaning the Big Sioux River. “We partner up with Friends of the Big Sioux. The have a booth and are able to educate how to clean up the Big Sioux right in front of it,” she said.

But events aren’t all DTSF does. With her recent promotion, Maner still handles all of the public relations and media, acting as the “voice of downtown.” She has also grown their social media presence, with almost 17,000 likes on Facebook and 13,000 followers on Twitter.

“I’m just starting to get into Snapchat,” she laughed. “It’s a strange world. But that’s something I’m proud of; I’ve built our following almost from the ground up.”

It’s not uncommon to see Maner on the news or on the radio. Getting up at the crack of dawn and staying late into the evenings is worth it, she says.

“It’s fun to be able to advocate for your community and talk about fun subjects,” explained Maner.

Not all news is fun, though. On Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, the Copper Lounge building (under renovations) on the corner of 10th and Phillips collapsed, leaving the community with bated breath as two victims were trapped under the rubble. Emergency personnel were able to rescue Emily Fodness and her dogs, but were unable to reach Ethan McMahon in time before his passing.

The tragedy happened over the holiday season, which Maner says is huge for downtown businesses.

“It’s the life-blood, really. That’s when people come down and buy their Christmas presents and celebrate, and so that tragedy put… you know, we had a loss of life, and that was really difficult to deal with. Beyond that, it was dealing with, ‘How do we communicate to the public that these businesses are also suffering?’” she said.

Maner continued, “That was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my time with DTSF.”

Sioux Falls came together with that tragedy, and Maner recalled Fire and Rescue asking volunteers to stop bringing food, as they were at capacity.

“I was so impressed with the community and the way they wrapped their arms around each other in times of tragedy,” she said.

Things are looking up with the re-opening of Eastwold Smoke Shop (which had been part of the collapsed building), along East 11th Street, as part of the new Stogeez Cigar Lounge and Bin 201.

PAve, the neighbor of the Copper Lounge building, also had issues from the collapse and re-opened Feb. 22. A likeness of McMahon was added to the lounge’s second floor mural to commemorate the victim.

Maner is looking forward to more “cohesive promotions” with DTSF, like the recent partnership with the Summit League at the Denny Sanford Premier Center this past March.

Maner said, “We have a really good, strong cohesion in downtown Sioux Falls.”

For more information, visit

First Friday Restaurant Week

April 7-15 // 5-8 p.m.

Savor the flavors of downtown as you revel in the culinary talents of featured chefs and restaurants. This year brings change with Sioux Falls Restaurant Week challenging participating businesses to create a 3-course dinner for $30 (does not include tax or tip). The following restaurants are currently participating: Bros Brasserie Americano, CRAVE, Ode to Food & Drinks, M.B. Haskett Delicatessen, The Market, Parker’s Bistro, K Restaurant, Wiley’s Tavern, Prairie Berry East Bank, and Minervas Restaurant and Bar. For updates and more information, visit


March 2010 Cover

This year marks the 15th anniversary of hip-hop trio Soulcrate coming together.

For 15 years, brothers Wes (Attention Def) and Dan (Dirt Dee) Eisenhauer and Corey Gerlach (DJ Absolute) have made a major impact in the South Dakota music scene, and now they’re continuing to use their do-it-yourself drive and grassroots efforts in the Sioux Falls business community, as well.

“It’s so cool seeing everyone do their own thing being self-employed and being their own boss,” said Dan. “Seeing everyone break off and create their own projects separately has been awesome.”

Dan started his photography business, Good Life Photo Company, while his brother also started a photography company, Wes Eisenhauer Photography and Video. Wes has over 39,000 followers on Instagram, and has received nods from Reddit, Ashton Kutcher, and National Geographic – to name a few.

Combining his talents for graphic design, Dan works with local musicians and artists, along with documenting weddings, families, and seniors. “I’ve been doing a lot of shoots with bands lately and designing album covers,” he said.

Gerlach, who has been roasting coffee for over a decade, partnered with Wes to create The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co., which just celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Not only have they been occupied with their businesses, but they’ve also been busy starting their families – all having little girls (Wes with two, and Corey and Dan with one).

“We have yet to do a Soulcrate girls photo shoot,” said Dan, scratching his head. “I can’t believe we haven’t done that, I just thought of that.”

When asked who is inspiring him in the local music scene, Dan replied, pointing to daughter, Colbee, “I try to make it out to shows when I can, but…”

He did note local artist Denham, who recently performed in the lineup with Soulcrate for an intimate show at PAve March 4, as part of a fundraiser for the McMahon and Fodness families of the Copper Lounge building collapse tragedy.

“Not only was it for a good cause, but it brought back a little nostalgia of early Soulcrate shows,” said Dan.

Soulcrate have always been known to have legions of loyal fans, so much so that they started to throw their own outdoor concert, That Sounds Decent, to coincide with their 2013 release of their album Welcome Back from Wherever You’ve Been. The now-annual event is in its fifth year, and hosts a lineup of six bands, food trucks, beer tents, and the like. It will take place at 8th & Railroad August 26.

When we caught up with Soulcrate for our 2010 cover story, the group was about to have their first nationwide release of The Heartland Panic. Since then, they have also released The Kick Rocks Collection EP (2011), and Welcome Back from Wherever You’ve Been hit #28 on the iTunes Hip Hop charts in its first week.

This past September, Wes released his single, STOIC, which already has over 38,000 video views on Facebook. There are plans for him to release a full solo album in the near future.

“After [the album release] we plan to sit down together and talk about if we’ll do anything after that [as Soulcrate] or not,” said Dan. “I’m not 100 percent sure.”

With all of the changes, becoming a father has been one that truly influenced Dan’s life “for the better.”

“Without even having to think about it, it’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to me,” he said. “Everything I do now has a greater meaning, because it’s not just about me anymore. She makes me a better person every single day.”

For more information, visit

The Soulcrate Trio Have Been Busy...

Their drive as musicians carried over into the business community. Here are just some of Soulcrate’s accomplishments since 2010, highlighted by Wes Eisenhauer:

The Heartland Panic was a big step for us. That album landed national distribution and was carried in Best Buy’s nationwide (back when they had an extensive CD section). “Electric Heavy Glow” off of the album was also featured on a Powerade commercial.

We pressed our first vinyl record after being together for 10 years.

Following the release of THP, we landed a spot on the world’s largest hip-hop festival in 2011, Soundset, thrown by Rhymesayers.

We’re all self-employed and have spun off several businesses from Soulcrate, including photo and media companies: Wes Eisenhauer Photography and Video, Good Life Photo Co. and The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. – none of which would have been possible without Soulcrate.

Our release in 2013, Welcome Back from Wherever You’ve Been, charted at #28 on the iTunes rap charts, alongside Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, and Lil Wayne.

The band Later Babes (formed in 2012), spun out of collaborations between members of Soulcrate and We All Have Hooks For Hands.

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