Night Blast At Crazy Horse Honors “Ruth”
The largest Mountain Carving in the world was lit by large balls of fire Thursday night (June 26) in honor of Ruth Ziolkowski who passed on May 21 after a battle with cancer. Whistles and shouts erupted as visitors from the Black Hills and around the world witnessed a very special honor for the wife of Crazy Horse sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski (Core-‘jock Jewel-‘kuf-ski). This very special night blast was designed and crafted to add to the spectacular pyrotechnic display of the night blasts which are seen at the Memorial twice each summer and fall.
The Crazy Horse Mountain team had been working on and testing the blast for weeks, as a way to honor Ruth who has been leading the project since her husband’s death in 1982.
Rollie Noem, retired Crazy Horse Memorial C.O.O. spoke during a short program on the deck, remembering Ruth as a very warm grandmotherly person who was also a strong leader. He also pointed out her generosity, her graciousness, optimism and resourcefulness. In 1982 after Korczak’s death she made the courageous decision to change the focus of the Mountain Carving from Korczak’s plan to finish the horse’s head, to completing the face of Crazy Horse, which was dedicated in 1998.
Dr. Jason Murray, Director of the INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA™ at Crazy Horse, spoke to the large crowd about importance of remembering the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This is the 138th anniversary of the battle where Crazy Horse fought in the defeat of Col. George Armstrong Custer and forever changed the lives of Native American Indians.
Fred Tully, Crazy Horse Director of Development, and longtime friend of the project, fulfilled the wishes of Ruth by remembering the life of Korczak the sculptor, “a unique person cut from a piece of fabric that was not common”, who “committed himself to a life of hard work” and overcame overwhelming circumstance and criticism to carve the important start of what has become a Memorial to the North American Indian.
After the blast the large crowd of visitors shared in the Ruth’s birthday cake…in what has been a long tradition at Crazy Horse Memorial.