Pop Culture

Podcasts Discovered: History On Fire

The Sioux Empire Podcast is fantastic and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s the only podcast out there but did you know that’s not true?  Turns out there are lots of other podcasts out there that we love.  In this new regular column editor and guy with way too much on his plate already Robert Mehling tells you all about other podcasts that are out there.  Some serve as inspiration for what we cover on the Sioux Empire Podcast while others seem like their only purpose was to serve as a warning to others. 

History on Fire is a podcast by author and university history professor Daniele Bolelli.

Whether you like history or not, if you care about bravery, wisdom, passion, larger than life characters and some of the most emotionally intense moments in human experience, you have come to the right place. Bolelli shall be your guide in a journey to the place where history and epic collide.

If you like history and like podcasts or just great story telling this podcast is fantastic.  One of the things I love about Bolelli’s work is that he focuses on history that inspires passion.  With many history podcast that shall remain nameless you get quirky little mini facts or pieces of novel trivia.  Bolelli focuses on history that inspires passion or history that you might say is on the bleeding edge.  You’re not going to get internet friendly lists like 10 biggest castles or the West Point Eggnog riot (Yes that’s a thing that happened, look it up) but what you will get is an in depth four part serious on the life of Crazy Horse (one of my favorite historical figures).

Bolelli is a history professor and that shows in a good way in his research which is solid.  It also shows a little in a bad way in that it can sometimes be a little dry for the uninitiated.  If you have issues with understanding people with thick accents you might also have a little difficulty listening at first.  But those two minor points are closest I could come to having any criticisms of it.  I’m really enjoying the series and it’s awesome that he has so much material out there already, I get to listen for a long time before I have to wait between new episodes.

History On Fire is available on iTunes.

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A Fat Wreck : The Punk-umentary, coming to Sioux Falls July 24th

Playing at Club David on Sunday July 24th @ 6pm

Fat Wreck Chords… The influential music label proud to say they’ve spent the past 25 years “ruining punk rock”. A Fat Wreck tells the story of founders Fat Mike (of the legendary punk band NOFX) and his ex-wife Erin Kelly-Burkett, spanning the birth, growth, struggles, and survival of the Fat Wreck Chords label. Half inspirational story of chosen family and community, half debauchery and occasionally involuntary drug use… A Fat Wreck blazes exciting new ground in the cinematic genre of puppet-driven punk rock music documentary filmmaking. If you only see one film featuring a dominatrix spanking a puppet in your lifetime… Make it A Fat Wreck!

Run Time: 88min

Rating: Not Rated (But would probably be an R)

Official Trailer: https://vimeo.com/159188349

Film Website: www.afatwreck.com

Twitter: – twitter.com/afatwreck

Facebook: – facebook.com/AFatWreck/


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SEP041- Give Us Your Urine!

The news sucks so much right now.  So The Sioux Empire Podcast crew (Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, Emily Alexander, and guest columnist Peter Pischke) is here to give you as light hearted an overview as we can.  Let’s just say we give up halfway through and talk nothing but TV (Spoilers for Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Marco Polo, BoJack Horseman, The Walking Dead, Vikings, and others in the second half of the episode).  Will Pokemon take over the earth?  Not if Seth has anything to say about.  In our headline story, according to the Argus Leader, the state of South Dakota is getting medieval on people to extract urine samples and confessions in drug cases, Emily talks about her coverage and columns about Black Lives Matter and the backlash, Bernie Sanders declares Joffrey Clinton the one true nominee and the team tackles lots of other random stories along the way.  Also, we talk about the exciting new wave of writers TheSiouxEmpire.com has recruited.  Be sure to check out their new columns. This week’s episode includes music from local artist InVisible with the song “Youthful Freestyle”. Learn more about InVisible here.  The Sioux Empire Podcast, on behalf of a friend, would sincerely like to know when the east side of Sioux Falls is supposed to sleep…  Seriously…  Go to sleep people!

Parental Advisory

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Current State of Politics: Bring a Shovel

I overheard a friend of mine invite a co-worker to lunch. As they got to his car, he stated, “I have to move the snow shovel before you can sit down”. Now, that is not uncommon to hear in South Dakota during our harsh winters, but today is July 15th.

What could be the possible reason for having a snow shovel in the car??  I came up with a couple of reasons…  1) He storm chases on the side, so he is prepared if he encounters a massive hail storm and gets stuck…  2) He volunteers at his small town celebration during the parade, to save the marching band from the horse patrol in front of them…  No, those just did not seem like practical reasons for having a snow shovel in the car.

Then it occurred to me. We are arriving at the peak of the political mountain in the presidential races this month, with the national conventions. My friend is just being well prepared for all the garbage that will be put forth by the candidates in the coming months.  I hope his shovel and his energy will be enough to handle the full load that will be thrust upon him.  And unfortunately, that is the Current State of Politics today!!!

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UFC comes to Sioux Falls: Fight Night 91

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD - K Moriah Slade - TheSiouxEmpire.com

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

As a longtime supporter and fan of the UFC organization, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the world premiere of official UFC Fight Night 91 yesterday at the Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Ever since Dana White’s confirmation that the MMA sport would be coming to town, the anticipation of the event was amazing, and walking into the arena Wednesday with the lights, fans, and cameras looming was a big part of a dream come true. From the moment I approached the doors of the Premiere center to the moment I left nearly 6 hours later, the anticipation and adrenaline was incredible. Now before I go into the rest of this amazing night, I want to layout some history of this sport that makes it great.

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD - K Moriah Slade - TheSiouxEmpire.com

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

In 2005, Sioux Falls legislature had banned all mixed martial arts (MMA) events in public places, such as parks, bars, and other public owned facilities. As with any contact sport, the birth of the MMA was quickly tainted with unregulated fights, injuries, and events that took the sport, and the violence too far.  While may other states have implemented sports commissions to regulate and monitor official, sanctioned events, South Dakota was deeply concerned with previously injuries that had occurred through unsanctioned fighting, and the overall, public opinion that MMA was a sport that emphasized violence. However, as the rise in MMA and UFC interest rose across the nation, and South Dakota began to generate many of its own professional MMA athletes such as Brock Lesnar, Shayna Baszler and Devin Clark, to name a few, not to mention fighters such as Ben Nguyen (who fought in Wednesday’s event), who have been training for years with the chance to break into the professional scene, the need for a commission was recognized and many people began to work behind the scenes to make this event, and many future events like it, possible.

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD - K Moriah Slade - TheSiouxEmpire.com

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

6 years, and hours of testimony and discussion before the governor and legislators later in 2011, the South Dakota Athletic Commission was formed, and the MMA sport began to grow in South Dakota, but it wouldn’t be till Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 that the Sioux Falls City Council would lift the ban on MMA fights, allowing the Sanford Premiere Center to host the First UFC sanctioned, professional fight in the state of South Dakota. Now, 9 months later Sioux Falls had the privilege of hosting the UFC and putting their name on the map of a multi-million dollar industry, and finally giving our dedicated South Dakota fighters a place to grow and cultivate their talent, create a fan base, and enjoy the community support that Sioux Falls, and South Dakota is known for.

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD - K Moriah Slade - TheSiouxEmpire.com

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

But getting beyond the politics of the sport for a moment, what really makes MMA great? I am sure there are some out there that enjoy it for the competition and the violence, and just as many that don’t enjoy the sport for the same reason, but fundamentally, I think there is something innately powerful about the concept of competitive mixed martial arts. Each MMA fighter will have spent years cultivating their skill, power, and specialty with the goal of getting the pro card and reaching UFC status. In 2007 I had the honor to grapple with both Ben Nguyen and Shanna Baszler in Sioux Falls only a year after both of their first professional fights. Over the last 9 years they have both gone on to train with some of the best in the profession. With rigorous workouts, strict adherence to nutrition, MMA is no more a hobby to these fighters than breathing is to you and I. The amount of dedication, self-control and commitment is more than many of us apply in our everyday lives, and the thrill you get when you have the chance to watch them put all of that hard work and dedication into 3 short rounds is incredible. There is a reason this sport has grown from a “back alley” brawl, to a worldwide competitive sport. As humans, whether we feed it or not, there is a part of us that still remembers our wild, fundamental desire to compete and triumph. Every time I participate in a grappling session, or watch a fight, my entire being is infused with a restless desire to conquer the world! I may never be a great fighter, but I am inspired to take that energy, and passion that I feel when I watch those fighters and apply it to my life, fully convinced that I can and WILL succeed in everything I touch! And as that high wears off, and real life sets in, I look forward to that next event, where I will be re infused and ready to take on the world, in all my glory. When you look beyond the sport, to what the athletes have accomplished, it not only gives you a greater appreciation for the sport, but a “real life” “in the flesh” example of how hard work, dedication, and passion can achieve greatness. So with a bow, I step off my soapbox, to dive into the greatness that was Wednesday nights UFC Fight Night 91!


6 hours may seem like a lot, when you think of sitting still watching a sport, but the electricity that was in the room that night was undeniable. 12 fights, 24 athletes and thousands of fans gasping, fighting, and holding their breath at every roundhouse, and take down, til only 1 victor stood.  The night started with early prelims as one of our own, Devin Clark (6wins-1loss-0draw), made his UFC debut against Alex Nicholson (7-2-0) out of Florida. Clark came out strong, but unfortunately lost in the first round by knockout (KO), with only 2 seconds left. The second prelim match was between Rayni Yahya (22-8-0) out of Brazil against Matthew Lopez (8-1-0) out of Arizona. Their first two rounds were solid, and kept spectators on the edge of their seat, with 41 seconds left in the 3rd round Yahya took down Lopez with an arm-triangle choke.


The start of prelims brought up Scott Holtzman (9-1-0) out of Tennessee against Cody Pfister (12-6-1) from Texas. They went full 3 rounds with Holtman winning by unanimous decision. The next bout brought up the first female fight of the night between Courtney Casey (5-3-0) from Arizona and Cristina Stanciu (5-2-0) from Romania.  Casey won by TKO with a furious reign down of elbows with a 2:24 left in the first round. The next fight was one of my favorites of the night. Sam “Smile’n” Alvey (27-8-0) from Wisconsin took on   Eric Spicely (8-2-0) out of Massachusetts. “Smile’n” used the Guillotine Choke with 2:18 left in the first round. As they interviewed Alvey after the fight, that infectious smile he is known for could be seen from across the arena as his wife embraced him after his win was announced. He was so proud, and announced that in only 10 days, he would hope to introduce the world to his 3rd child. After his win, he mingled around the spectators, greeting a young boy of about 5 with hugs pictures and seeking out a fan high up in the stands who had previously yelled out that “Smile’n” was his favorite. Lauren-Murphy (9-3-0) out of Alaska and Katlyn Chookagian (8-0-0) from Pennsylvania went all 3 rounds and gave an incredible show. Chookagian took the win by unanimous decision.


The Main Card might not have had a title fight, or MMA star, but the fights were well worth the 5 hour wait.  Louis Smolka (11-1-0) fighting out of Hawaii and our own, Ben Nguyen (15-6-0) from Sioux Falls,  gave spectators a fantastic show of jui-jitsu and worked the octagon until Smolka’s win by TKO in round two with only 19 seconds left. That was followed up quickly by Kyle Noke (22-9-1) from Australia and Keita Nakamura (32-7-2) from Japan who won by a rear naked choke with just a second left in round. The next bout had me on my feet as Oleksiy Oliynyk (50-10-1) from Russia and Daniel Omielanczuk (19-5-1) from Poland went all 3 rounds which started out slowly, but ended with some of the most aggressive, entertaining fighting I’ve seen in the last several UFC fights I’ve watched. Omielanczuk earned his win by majority decision of 28-28, 29-28 and 29-28. Tim Boetsch (19-10-0) from Maine and Josh Samman (12-5-0) from Florida did not disappoint as they exploded into their first round that left Boetsch victorious by TKO  with 1:09 left in round 2. As the co-main event between Tony Ferguson (22-3-0) out of California and Landon Vannata (8-1-0) from New Jersey, I was sure Vannata was going to finish the fight in round 1. He laid some solid strikes and had Ferguson down several times with the clock running out, giving Ferguson time to come back in round 2 swinging. Ferguson took down Vannata with the d’arce choke with 2:38 left in round 2. I couldn’t help but be a little proud as a fellow Californian, fighting out of Orange County close to my childhood turf, took the win! Which brings us to the Main card event of the night between Michael McDonald (17-4-0) fighting out of Modesto, California and John Lineker (W) (28-7-0) fighting out of Paranagua, Parana Brazil. The bantamweight bout went 2 minutes 44 seconds of non-stop hooks, body shots with McDonald knocked down and kept against the fence for a majority of the fight with Lineker winning by TKO. McDonald was relentless in his attempts to recover, get up and regain his composure, only to be battered again by Lineker’s fists. While I was disappointed to watch McDonald lose, it was almost washed away by getting to briefly shake his hand as he walked out of the arena. If a woman can have a moment, this was definitely not the worst one of her life. Now all I need is to meet Uriah Hall, Anderson Silva, and Chuck Liddell and my UFC bucket list may just be complete. While I am at it, if Joe Rogan has the inkling, in all his free time, to sit down and have a discussion about almost anything, I may just be able to call it a good life.

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD - K Moriah Slade - TheSiouxEmpire.com

UFC Fight Night 91 in Sioux Falls ,SD – K Moriah Slade – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Overall though, as the fans flooded out of the arena, and I was able to reflect on the evening, I found it incredible that standing there, in the middle of the parking lot, in Sioux Falls, Sd. I was able to participate in one of the greatest spectator sports around (in my opinion) and be a part of the iconic UFC Fight Night 91. That is a memory that I will have for the rest of my life, and greatly anticipate more opportunities to enjoy events like this in this town I call home.

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See the entire Hot Harley Nights 2016 Parade here

Over the past twenty years, Hot Harley Nights has become a tradition in Sioux Falls that’s grown to bring thousands of generous people together each year in support of children with life-threatening medical conditions. We believe raising awareness and funding for Make-A-Wish® South Dakota is definitely a cause worth rallying around.

Hot Harley Nights - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Hot Harley Nights – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Last year, the 20th Annual Hot Harley Nights was held July 9-12, 2015 in Sioux Falls and raised over $175,000, plus thousands of dollars of in-kind donations. The event featured a huge motorcycle parade spanning over 6.7 miles in Sioux Falls, a family fun night, casino run, live music, motorcycle raffle, bike show, silent auction, a variety of great food and an outdoor party at Falls Park West.

Hot Harley Nights - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Hot Harley Nights – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

Their first year saw 250 participants and a handful of enthusiastic volunteers. They expect over 40,000 enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.

Hundreds of volunteers and organizations sign up a year in advance to help. In total, over $2.5 million has been raised.

The goal is to help as many children and families as possible receive a special “wish” through Make-A-Wish® South Dakota.

Hot Harley Nights - Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpire.com

Hot Harley Nights – Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpire.com

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It’s Here! Get your The Sioux Empire Podcast gear here!

TheSiouxEmpire.com is proud to announce the launch of a Sioux Empire Podcast store!

Check out this awesome gear that helps support your favorite Sioux Falls local news/comedy podcast.

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What does South Dakota have per-capita more than any other state?

From shark attacks to property crime to boating accidents, each state is known for something.

Earlier this year, Estately released an interesting random map that identifies what each state has the most of. Some standout states include Iowa with the most lost chickens, Pennsylvania with the most holiday music downloads and Vermont with the most craft beer production. Other interesting picks include Utah and Tennessee, which have high church attendance and a large number of megachurches, and Alabama and Missouri, which have a lot of racist tweets and meth lab incidents, respectively.

per-capita more than any other state- Estately

per-capita more than any other state – Estately

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I’m really not crazy about this new Ghost Busters theme

I’m really not crazy about the new Ghost busters theme from Fallout Boy and Missy Elliot.  Don’t get me wrong, I like both of these artists, but nothing will ever capture what the original theme did for me.  I have this strange feeling everything about this new Ghost Busters will be haunted by the iconic original movies.  I’m trying to keep an open mind but… Yeah.

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Sioux Falls Pride Festival 2016

Sioux Falls Pride Festival 2016 - TheSiouxEmpire.com - Emily Alexander

Sioux Falls Pride Festival 2016 – TheSiouxEmpire.com – Emily Alexander

The Sioux Falls Pride Festival 2016 was vibrant and full of love and acceptance. Just stepping foot onto Terrace Park I immediately smiled, because the energy was so strong. People of all ages were out celebrating love on Saturday, June 18. The community came together and provided a loving experience for our LGBT community and its supporters. My favorite part of the festival was the tribute to the Orlando massacre victims. Volunteers passed around stickers that said #LoveWins, #OnePulse, and #OrlandoStrong. I couldn’t help but over hear people express their grief over the shooting but reminded that love wins. Safety was a large concern for the festival because of the recent terrorist attack but the SFPD had the area well covered. Thank you to the SFPD for keeping the people of Sioux Falls safe and protected during this festival. The activities set for the festival were fun and inspiring for our community. Our community came together for an exciting day of activities at the Sioux Falls Pride Festival and the beautiful feeling of comity and acceptance.

Activities at the SuFu Pride

Sioux Falls Pride 2016 - TheSiouxEmpire.com - Emily Alexander

Sioux Falls Pride 2016 – TheSiouxEmpire.com – Emily Alexander

        The festival started early in the afternoon around 12:45 pm and opened with a flag ceremony and the national anthem; a very respectful tribute to what America really is the land of the free. Then around 1:00pm Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether gave a welcoming speech to the people of the festival. During this speech he recognized Senator Angie Buhl O’Donnell and Speaker Paula Hawks for U.S House. After that the Drag Show started and some of our own local talent and talent from Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota were all dancing in the drag show. Those ladies were superstar divas and twerked it to some iconic songs. The drag show went on for quite some time but afterwards, musical talent such as Amber Simpson from St. Paul and Minnesota’s band Tender Tomboys. Even our very own Sioux Falls musical talent the band VALLYHILL. There were a few words from the primary sponsor Wells Fargo and also from Sioux Falls city councilwoman, Michelle Erpenbach. Thomas Christiansen from The Center of Equality was there to share a few words with the people. I was pleasantly surprised by out community’s outreach to the LGBT community at the Pride event. Churches, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, Sioux Falls Police, among many other organizations had booths engaging with the public. Around 6:30 there was a commitment ceremony with an after party at Club David.

The Festival wouldn’t be a festival without vendors of course. The Pride Store was the main accessory vendor, selling rainbow flags, phone cases, bowties, suspenders, tee shirts, tank tops, and lots of jewelry. People of all ages were dressed head to toe in rainbow gear wearing it loud and proud. There weren’t a lot of variety in Food and drink accommodations. There was however a BBQ vendor selling hotdogs, burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches, there was also an authentic Mexican food vendor, and also a small food truck selling snacks. There was only one beer vendor that I saw, but had limited choices. I believe the best vendor was the shaved Ice or snow cone vendor. There certainly was a lot of rainbow shaved ice coming out of that tent cooling down people. I think overall the vendors and booths could have been better. Next year I would like to see more clothing and crafted Items, possibly even local LGBT artist selling their artwork and crafts. More food and beverage vendors would be a nice improvement as well. I noticed two out of the three vendors had like items which narrowed down the variety. The community’s outreach to the LGBT community is what made this experience the best it could have possibly been. The Sioux Falls Pride Festival was a success because people came together to accept and love people in our community, no matter their sexual orientation or identity. I look forward to celebrating at the Pride event again, next year.

Sioux Falls Pride 2016 - Facebook - Sioux Falls Pride

Sioux Falls Pride 2016 – Facebook – Sioux Falls Pride

If you attended the Pride Festival tell us what you liked most about it! And if anything, what you would like to see improved? You can also check out more events at Sioux Falls Pride’s Facebook page, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DonHa4pySsM. Also check out the Sioux Falls Pride Festival event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1569584846687852/.


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