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Tourists hurt in Hill City's staged Western shootout

June 17, 2011 11:21 pm  • 

Three tourists were injured Friday night when a simulated Western shootout in Hill City went dangerously awry.

The three individuals, who had been watching the shootout, were injured by the guns involved in the simulation. Their injuries were described as not life-threatening; they were taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment.

Brian Mueller, chief deputy in the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, declined Friday night to comment about the particulars of the incident nor speculate how a demonstration that normally involves blanks turned dangerous.

Mueller also declined to release the names of the victims, who were identified in a news release as out-of-area tourists.

More information would be released Saturday, Mueller said.

The incident happened during what has been a regular summer attraction in Hill City, a simulated shootout by volunteer cowboys from Rapid City.

"They've been doing it for years," said Brenda Nolting, president of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce.

But after Friday, perhaps never again.

"There won't be another shootout," Nolting said. "In my mind, it's done for good. This just cannot happen."

Nolting operates a store only feet away from where the shootout takes place. She was inside when the incident occurred but witnessed the aftermath.

"This is a horrible thing," she said. "We're sick about it. I'm sick for the families. This is just a shock for everybody who's here."

The shootout occurred at the corner of Elm Street and Main Street in Hill City.

The volunteer cowboys had used their performances as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, Nolting said.

Typical shootouts attracted audiences of up to 160 people. The event was performed four times a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays during tourist season.

Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or david.montgomery@rapidcityjournal.com