Teen Town remembered

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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Every year, the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association (SDRRMA) recognizes people who have made a significant impact on rock and roll music in South Dakota.

At an April 15-16 induction ceremony and concert at the Ramkota Inn and Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls, the SDRRMA will induct “Teen Town” a popular De Smet rock and roll venue during the 1960s and early ‘70s into its Hall of Fame in Sioux Falls.

Teen town began in 1961 when Don McCaskell, a teacher and basketball coach at De Smet High School, and his wife Janice, leased Clifford “Shorty” Richard’s Quonset building and opened a roller-skating rink.  His parents owned the nearby Cremee Freez, later known as The Frosty Corner. 

Two years later, at the suggestion of Don’s brother Ron, who ran a dance hall at the Blue Dog Resort in Waubay, McCaskell added teen dances one night a week. Nipco heaters kept the building warm enough to be open throughout most of the year.

On dance nights, The Cremee Freez stayed open until the wee hours.

Roller-skating was held on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.   But on Saturday nights, and sometimes Wednesday nights, McCaskell hosted dances with live bands.

The dances were advertised on KOMA, a popular Oklahoma City, OK, AM radio station.

Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, KOMA was the main rock-n-roll station in the region.

“Kids heard those commercials and came from miles around — Huron, Sioux Falls and Brookings,” McCaskell said.

Rock and roll bands travelled hundreds of miles to play at Teen Town. Some of the regionally famous names included The Red Dogs of Lawrence, Kan., Spider and the Crabs of Hastings, Neb., The Unbelievable Uglies of Detroit Lakes, Minn., The Continental Co-ets of Fulda, Minn.— the first ever all-girl group from that state to form a rock and roll band; and Myron Lee and the Caddies of Sioux Falls.

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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