To download a PDF of the full convention schedule, please use the following link:

2022 NSS Convention, Rapid City, SD

Evening Activities

Monday, June 13th

Howdy Party (6:30-10:30pm)

The 2022 Howdy Party will be hosted at Rush Mountain Adventure Park, home of Rushmore Cave. There will be rides, cave tours, beer, and live music!  Food will be catered at the campground.

Late-night Entertainment (10:00pm-2:00am)

If the Howdy Party wasn’t enough there will be an after-party party at the Midco Stage.

Tuesday, June 14th

Fellows and New Members Reception (6:00-7:30pm)

This event will be hosted at the Journey Museum in Rapid City. You should expect mingling, live music by local caver James Parr, wine and beer, and hors d’oeuvres.

Speleo-auction (7:45 til everything is auctioned off!)

This is your chance to get some cave memorabilia that you never knew you needed, but can’t live with out! As always, all proceeds from the auction are a donation to the NSS. This will be located in the Soule Center and led by auctioneer Geary Schindel, former NSS president.

Open Mic I (9:00pm-midnight)

Bring your instruments to play or come and listen to the speleo-talent! Happening at the Midco Stage.

Wednesday, June 15th

Speleo-RodeOlympics (6:00pm-9:00pm)

It was so much fun at the last South Dakota Convention (1988) that we’re doing it again!

It will be located at the rodeo arena at the fairgrounds and hosted by Dave Springhetti and John Scheltens, the 1988 Convention chairs.

Campground Party (8:30pm-Midnight)

There will be a live performance by the caver band The Terminal Siphons, dancing, and plenty of beer from our favorite local brewery, Lost Cabin!  Word on the street is they’re brewing up 60 barrels of beer just for this convention!

Thursday, June 16th

Black Hills Cave and Nature Conservancy Fundraising Carnival (5:00pm-9:00pm)

Come join us at the fundraiser carnival for Black Hills Cave and Nature Conservancy! We’ll have a dunk tank featuring some of the biggest names in caving, plus a balloon pop, fire dancer, caricature artist, great prizes, and more! Also be sure to come by our info table to learn more about BHCNC and our initiatives, and to “buy” a piece of the Dahm Springs Preserve. We’ll be set up just outside the Salon venue, so come see us on your way in/out of the Salon

NSS Salon Awards Show

A convention favorite.  This year’s salons include Cartography, Cave Ballads, Cover Arts, Fine Arts, Multimedia, Prints, Photo, Symbolic Emblems, T-shirts, and Video. This show will be located in the Event Center. There will be two showings:

Photo Salon/Awards Short Showing 6:00pm-7:15pm

Photo Salon/Awards Full Showing 7:30pm-10:00pm

Storytelling Contest (concurrent with Open Mic II) 8:00-Midnight

Bill Steele is hosting what is sure to be a wonderful time, the Story Telling Competition.  We all tell stories, and we all know who is best at it – come find out who the official king of cave story telling will be!  Judging criteria will be included in an official announcement.  (One thing I’ll tell you for sure, is it must be a true story.)

Open Mic II (8:00pm-Midnight)

Featuring another evening of speleo-talent and listening pleasure!

Friday, June 17th

NSS Awards Banquet (5:30pm-9:30pm)

This event wraps up the convention and will include awards and honors such as Honorary Membership, Outstanding Service, Certificate of Merit, Fellowships, as well as awards for contributions to speleology and the NSS. This event includes a catered meal and will be hosted in the Event Center. 

Wrap-up Party with Muchos Gracias (10:00pm-whenever)

This party will take place after the Banquet and will feature a live performance by Muchos Garcias.  Muchos Garcias, featuring all the finest Garcias the NSS has to offer, has been trying to play at a convention for several years now and it just hasn’t worked out (like so many things in all our lives lately, right?)  So come to the Midco Stage and celebrate the end to a wonderful convention!

Multi-day Activities

The JSS – weeklong (see JSS Schedule – sign up at Registration)

Have a youth in your family interested in the Junior Speleological Society?  Super Mom Sara Booth has plans for you!  Join the crew for daily adventures including a trip to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, Wild Caving, Caving with the NSS President, a trip to the South Dakota School of Mines Geology Museum, and more!

NSS Art Salons

Art Salon Entries (Cartography Salon, T-Shirts, Symbolic Emblems, Print Salon, Graphic Arts, Fine Arts) will be on display all week. Cave Ballads, Video and Multimedia entries showing TBA.

Vertical Section Activities Schedule

Climbing Contests: Monday Noon-4pm; Tuesday 9:00am-4:00pm Events Center

Rebelay Course: Tuesday 10:00-4:00pm – Events Center

Vertical Techniques: Wednesday 8:30am-5:00pm – Events Center

Vertical Section Meetings and Awards: Thursday 9:00am-2:00pm – Creative Arts

NSS Board of Governors (BOG) Meetings

Open Board Meeting I: 9:00am-Noon Closed meeting 1:00-5:00pm Creative Arts building.

Open Board Meeting II: 9:00am-Noon. Closed meeting Noon-4:30pm Creative Arts building.

Luminary Series – Tuesday, Wednesday &Thursday 1:00pm-2:00pm

This will take place during the lunch break and will last about one hour. It will be hosted in the Soule Center by Luminaries Dave Springhetti, John Scheltens and John Mylroie 

Special Sketching Contests – Monday through Wednesday (sign up at Registration)

There will be a sketching contest in Rushmore Cave as well as a body-length and mental compass survey contest in Stagebarn Cave. Whimsical prizes to follow.

Other Weeklong Offerings

  • CaveSim
  • Cave Gear Vendors in the events center
  • Cave Trips available every day!
  • Decon-station available every day!
  • Cash Bar in the events center
  • Non-Profit and Partners Booths in the events center
  • Free or discounted visits to: the School of Sines Geology Museum, Mammoth Site, Journey Museum, Black Hills Institute, Rushmore Cave, Reptile Gardens
  • Food Trucks

Field Trips and Workshops

Sunday June 12, 2022

Hydrology Field Trip**

Karl Emanuel will lead a field trip about the Hydrology of the Black Hills. More info will be provided to registrants and convention attendees as time gets closer. Typically the field trip will last most of the day, approximately 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Stay tuned for more details!

Price $80.00

Geology Field Trip: (FULL)

Dr. Sarah Keenan will lead a field trip to learn about the geology of the Black Hills area. This will likely last from 8am to 5pm, and it will rock.

Paleontology Field Trip:**

Step back in time with The Mammoth Site. Come see the World’s largest concentration of Columbian Mammoths at this indoor active paleontological excavation and museum. Walk the edge of a sinkhole where creatures from 200,000 years ago became trapped, leaving an ancient treasure trove of fossil remains. Learn about the discovery of over 60 mammoths and 80 other species of plants and animals found at the Site. Peak into our preparation lab windows to see Mammoth Site scientists clean and preserve fossil specimens. Explore our Ice Age Exhibit Hall to discover more about the ancient past. You will have a guided tour around the Bonebed with a Mammoth Site paleontologist on this NSS field trip. As our special guests, we will take you behind the scenes to our 3D scanning and printing lab as well as the Bone Vault, where Mammoth Site specimens are stored. Be one of only a few people to see a real Giant Short-faced Bear skull! Price $80.00

Monday, June 13, 2022

Speleology for Cavers (9am-5pm)**

Come learn the difference between strike and the dip, vadose and phreatic, and the birds and the bats. Bring home with you the geologic differences between caves in the Black Hills and those in the Appalachians, the meaning to cavers of Bogli’s mixing corrosion, and the difference between the lifestyles of Riparia riparia and Perimyotis subflavus. Experts in Speleology will lecture on Geology, Geochemistry, Karst Hydrology, Biology, and Paleontology. The course will go the full day and includes extensive course notes on a USB drive.

Price $50.00

Cartography Workshop (9am-Noon) Details TBA

Project Underground (no registration required) 1:00pm-5:00pm at Brigder Steel

Join us for a Project Underground workshop led by Christine Walkey of Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. Project Underground is a set of interactive activities that educators can use to teach the concepts of caves and karst and their importance. The workshop is designed for anyone who teaches these concepts. This workshop will have you participating in activities and games from the guide. Activity books will be available after the workshop for purchase. 

Self-Rescue Techniques for Cavers (registration TBA) – Events Center Warm-up Room 12:30pm-4:30pm

This will be an intensive four-hour training workshop that will introduce participants to cave rescue techniques that can be performed by a party of six or fewer persons, using minimal gear normally carried on caving trips. Bring your helmets and personal climbing gear.

Photography Workshop for Cavers (FULL) 12:30pm-4:30 pm (Meet at Midco Stage- will take place in Bethlehem Cave) This is an in-cave, hands-on photography workshop. It is limited to 12 participants.

Tuesday June 14, 2022

Speleothem Repair Workshop – Registration TBA (this is a two part workshop – classroom on Tuesday, In-cave on Wednesday)

This workshop will present methods on the repair of speleothems.

Part I: Classroom Session: Tuesday Noon-2:00pm

Part II: In-cave: Wednesday, 9:00pm-5:00pm at Bethlehem Cave, more details TBA.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Speleothem Repair Workshop (this is a two part workshop – classroom on Tuesday, In-cave on Wednesday)

This workshop will present methods on the repair of speleothems.

In-cave: Wednesday, 9:00pm-5:00pm at Bethlehem Cave, more details TBA.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Sketching Workshop: Sign up at Registration table required

Learn the basics of in-cave sketching (instructor: Jason Richards) . This will be a two-part workshop.

Morning classroom instruction will be held from 9:00am-Noon at Round Building.

In-cave hands-on instruction will be from 1:00pm-6:00pm. Meet at Bethleham Cave. More details on what to bring TBA (sketchbook/paper, mechanical pencils, protractor, patience)

Human Bone Identification Workshop: Registration TBA

This is a special 2-hour course designed by Dr. Sharon Weaver to give attendees a greater understanding of the differences between human bones and those of other mammals. Attendees will learn tips for more meaningful field identification, as well as some of the dos and don’ts when finding these types of specimens. Price $25.00

Friday, June 17, 2022

Writers Workshop: Instructor: Michael Ray Taylor, 9:00am-4:30 (Fine Arts 2) DETAILS TBA