Marshals have long history with GDD

No one can question Jim and Pat Hattervig’s qualifications to be this year’s Gold Discovery Days (GDD) parade marshals. After all, Jim has been involved with the celebration as a volunteer practically since coming to Custer in 1959 and Pat started her participation as a “sunbeam” in the historic Pageant of Paha Sapa as a little girl growing up here. 
In fact, Pat said her mother and grandmother who came to Custer in the late 1930s were both involved in the very first production of the pageant.
“My mother was a ‘dawn maiden’ right after they moved here when the pageant started,” said Pat. 
She said her grandmother played a tree in that early production and both were part of the “living flag” in which women dressed in red, white and blue formed an American flag in the third episode of the pageant. 
“When I was old enough to be a ‘sunbeam’ I got started doing that,” said Pat, who participated in the pageant every year after that until the final curtain fell on the event in 2001. 
“They had the dance of the wind, dance of the butterflies, the rain ... oh, there were so many things,” said Pat who played different roles as she grew up. 
“The first year I was a ‘wind’ they had crepe paper streamers (on the costume) and I was a pink and red one,” recalled Pat. “We had to be on a float in Hot Springs and it rained. That crepe paper colored our skin. That was awful!” 
The costumers eventually traded in the crepe paper streamers for cloth ones.  
Asked how many people it took to put on the pageant, Pat responded “practically the whole town was involved.”
She said practices were mandatory and on the day of the parade and the pageant, businesses would lock their doors until it was over, giving employees the opportunity to take part. 
Jim’s  involvement began shortly after moving to Custer in 1959. 
Jim had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army in which he had served with the 7th Cavalry in Korea after the armistice. Unable to find work in his hometown, Jim took the advice of an uncle who lived in the Black Hills to look for work in one of Custer’s several sawmills.
Although he had intentions of moving farther west, Jim said meeting Pat changed those plans. 
“She didn’t appreciate me at first,” said Jim, who first started keeping company with Pat’s sister. 
Pat takes over the narrative of the couple’s first meeting with a story about a ride with her sister and Jim in his convertible. 
“They insisted I go for a ride with them around Stockade Lake,” remembered Pat. “It was snowing and they had the top down. I said, ‘Get me back to town,’ and I got out.”
After that somewhat frosty beginning, the couple married Easter Sunday 1962 and nearly 60 years later they have three daughters, seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. 
Over the years Jim helped park cars on Pageant Hill during GDD and later patrolled the carnival as a member of Custer’s first team of deputy reserve officers formed in 1972, a job which he said “got a little exciting at times.” 
During his 30-year career at Custer Lumber Co., Jim helped create a GDD float commemorating “The Hanging of Flyspeck Billy.”  
He said there were several such historical floats in the parade those years, but they were eventually discontinued because they were considered too violent. 
“The parade and everything has changed considerably from what it used to be,” said Jim. 
The Hattervigs are trading in the traditional convertible to ride on a trailer for the parade. That’s because about a dozen family members will ride with them including their daughters, two of whom now live in California. One daughter lives in Custer and all three and several of their children have participated in the pageant over the years. 
Pat, who has continued her GDD involvement by working at the chamber of commerce the past five years, said, “We feel very surprised and honored” at being picked as parade marshals. 
Jim said he had never given a thought that he and Pat might be chosen and he calls the selection “quite an honor.” 
“And all this started with just one trip to the Hills to look for a job,” he grinned.

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