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South Dakota resort beginning to take shape

18 November 2008

DEADWOOD, South Dakota -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Lodge at Deadwood, the new upscale resort and convention center now under construction, will help Deadwood become a major destination for conventions, corporate events, board retreats, trade shows, weddings, and private catered functions.

Work on the $47 million project began in July, and The Lodge at Deadwood is scheduled to open its doors in the fall of 2009.

Ideally located off U.S. Highway 85, across from Tatanka: Story of the Bison, this four-story resort complex will offer sweeping, panoramic views of the Black Hills and the plains of Western South Dakota. Nestled at the base of Mount Roosevelt on 25 acres, this full-service, year-round resort is ideal for business gatherings, casino gaming and endless entertainment possibilities.

Resort highlights include 140 luxury hotel guestrooms and suites, a convention center large enough to accommodate up to 1,700 people, a first-class restaurant, a sports bar, and a year-around indoor water park. The resort's large, Las Vegas-style casino with poker, blackjack and slot machines, will provide a complete vacation experience. Plus, guests will receive individual attention that comes with a resort of this caliber.

With more than 16,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Deadwood will be able to compete for large regional and national gatherings for the first time. Professional groups, trade associations and social organizations are attracted to the unique, historic setting and relaxed atmosphere for which Deadwood is famous. Recognizing the need for meeting facilities, the City of Deadwood formed a public-private partnership with the resort's developer to build and operate the convention center.

"We couldn't be more excited to have The Lodge at Deadwood opening in 2009," said George Milos, Executive Director of the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. "Deadwood has long been at the forefront of marketing South Dakota, but one thing the town has missed is the ability to host large conventions. The Lodge at Deadwood gives us the opportunity to take our community to the next level. Plus the owners and management have a terrific reputation of providing first-class service and amenities."

The Lodge at Deadwood is owned by Deadwood Resort LLC. Ryan Wordeman, President of Deadwood Resort LLC, announced that Regency Hotel Management has been hired to market and manage the hotel and convention business at The Lodge at Deadwood.

Sioux Falls, S.D.,-based Regency Hotel Management and its affiliates operate more than 60 properties in 21 states, including seven Best Western Ramkota Hotels in South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. The company also manages the four lodges and related restaurants, gift stores and recreational activities at Custer State Park.

Monte Hartl will serve as General Manager of hotel and convention center. "I'm excited to be part of The Lodge at Deadwood and to be involved in bringing this first-class resort to the community of Deadwood and the Black Hills," Hartl said. "This is going to bring more business to all of Deadwood -- we will be able to market Deadwood as a destination for a variety of visitor experiences, not gaming alone."

Hartl grew up in nearby Spearfish and attended Black Hills State University. He began his hotel career in the mid-1980s and held many positions in the hospitality field. Most recently he was Director of Operations for Western Management of Scottsbluff, Neb., operating hotels in South Dakota and Nebraska.

Hartl is already busy marketing and booking convention gatherings and group tours for The Lodge at Deadwood. The Lodge will begin taking individual reservations online at www.deadwoodlodge.com in spring 2009.

Black Hills Management has been hired to manage the casino-and-entertainment business for The Lodge at Deadwood.

Weston Pleinis will serve as General Manager of the casino. He got his start in gaming in 1995 at the Silverado Casino in Deadwood, where he eventually became the slot/casino manager. After five years at the Silverado, Pleinis worked two years as an executive with Target Corp., but decided to return to the Black Hills. For the past seven years, he has been General Manager of Tin Lizzie Gambling Hall in Deadwood. He grew up in Mobridge and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business from Black Hills State University.

"I am extremely excited to be involved in one the biggest projects to hit the Deadwood gaming industry," Pleinis said. "I look forward to being a part of the best Deadwood will have to offer."

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