This is a history of three Kiwanis clubs in Rapid City. The first, Kiwanis Club of Rapid City (K02823) was chartered on October 1, 1946. The Rushmore Club was formed by employees of the Rushmore Mall. The Kiwanis Club of Rapid City Westside (K05772) was chartered on August 16, 1963. Kiwanis International has no records of a Rushmore Club. It is believed that “it was felt better for the Rapid City Club to expand into three clubs.”
In 1975 the Kiwanis Club of Rapid City meeting attendance at the Holiday Inn Ballroom was around 65. The Rushmore Club merged with the Westside Club in 1985 due to the Rushmore Club's lack of membership. At its height, the Westside Club had about 40-45 members. Phil Zacher and Curtis Jensen are the only remaining Kiwanians from the Rushmore Club.
Kiwanis meetings lasted about 2 hours and had a lot of fun and singing as part of the meeting. Fundraising projects included selling boxes of apples with boxes selling for $5 (a mainstay fundraiser until the box cost rose to $4), light bulbs were popular, as was popcorn. The highest apple sales person of the year received a Snowboy doll. Service projects included sponsoring a diabetic camp, and Carl Bangert started the shoe project.
Huge rummage sales were held as fundraisers raising as much as $1500. The clothes for the rummage sale was stored at Papa Johns Pizza. When it became too much of a task, the rummage sales turned to peanut sales.
Former Rapid City Mayor Ed McLaughlin was the Westside club president in 1971-72 during the Black Hills flood. Donations were received from all over the United States due to national news attention and they flowed in all summer long. The majority of the donations were in the range of one to two thousand dollars. Personal letters were sent for every donation explaining how their donations were used.
Clinton “Kit” Sheffield (Boy Scout Field Director) & Gus Jacob started a Key Club at the high school. Their projects included shoes for Sioux San, selling Indian tacos, and the UNICEF Halloween Fair. The Key Club was active in the 60's with the help of Bill Huff. The Kiwanis Club of Rapid City sponsored a Scout Troop.
In October of 2014, the Kiwanis Club of Rapid City Westside Club merged with the Kiwanis Club of Rapid City creating a club of 51 members. The three individual clubs have been jointly serving the youth and community of Rapid City for a combined one hundred twenty years.