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Legends in Light® Laser Show Ends September 30th Article

February 06, 2024

September 30, 2023 will mark the end of an era as the Legends in Light® laser show shines for the last time against the Mountain at Crazy Horse Memorial®. What began as a dream and generous one million dollar donation from Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s mogul, Ray Kroc, went on to amaze and entertain Crazy Horse Memorial visitors from all over the world for nearly 20 years. By her death in 2003, Joan Kroc was known for her philanthropic work, promoting world peace, supporting spiritually-based nonprofit organizations, schools, shelters, medical research and programs to help people and nations communicate better.

“She set a dynamic example...and she included Crazy Horse in the multitude of good works she did for people in so many walks of life,” Ruth Ziolkowski said of Joan Kroc in a 1985 interview.

Viga Ziolkowski, daughter of sculptor Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski, remembers the early planning stages fondly. “Mother told Joan the idea for the laser show, which was already in the works. Joan loved the idea and presented the Memorial with a one million dollar donation to bring the project to life. She was a good friend and very generous donor to the Memorial over the years. It was a lot of work in those early days with many people involved. There was always something exciting going on.”

After a few test runs of the Legends in Light® laser show in August 2003, it officially became part of the special daily offerings at Crazy Horse, Memorial Day 2005. The 20 minute show, made of laser images, large format slides, and spectacular lighting is choreographed to a musical soundtrack. It was created to tell the story of the rich heritage, living cultures and contributions by Native
Americans to our society, further promoting connection, understanding, and healing among all people.

Crazy Horse Memorial CEO, Whitney A Rencountre II, had these final thoughts: “We at Crazy Horse Memorial have been fortunate to have friends who assist us in many ways. The Laser Light Show was a gift which enhanced the experience of our guests for many years. As technology has advanced, the need to upgrade has become evident. Replacing current technologies would require vast resources. Regretfully, we have made the decision to retire the Laser Light Show until we are able to upgrade the necessary equipment. We thank our generous sponsors who have helped this experience continue to educate and entertain guests beyond our expectations.”

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the following groups: this year’s laser light show sponsors, First PREMIER Bank, KOTA/KEVN, Custer State Park, Hill City Chamber of Commerce, Coca-Cola® Bottling Company – High Country, First Interstate Bank, and Scull Construction Service, Inc.; Crazy Horse Memorial staff and IT Department; and Memorial guests who have made it all worthwhile.

Legends in Light® Laser Show Ends September 30th