36 years ago tonight, the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley died of a heart attack at the age of 42. It was a seismic event and a national tragedy. One of Elvis' last performances was here in Sioux Falls. We do a Flashback Friday and talk with two people who provided security for Elvis during that concert and remember it like it was yesterday.
Elvis Presley, to this day, is still one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century.
When it was announced he would be performing a concert in Sioux Falls in October of 1976 fans were all shook up.
“Wow he was standing right next to me, I can't believe this," former Sioux Falls police officer Dave Rowe said.
Two men who had better than front row seats were former Sioux Falls police officer Dave Rowe and Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead.
Milstead and Rowe were just starting their law enforcement careers. While moonlighting as security, they got to protect Elvis for the two days he was in town.
Rowe even got to escort Elvis to the arena the night of the concert, driving his mom and dad's 1976 Buick LeSabre.
“And I'm headed down the street and the conversation started and I'm looking in my rear view mirror and I'm seeing Elvis' face in my rear view mirror," Rowe said.
Milstead helped provide security on the 6th and 7th floors of the downtown Holiday Inn where Elvis was staying.
He remembers fans trying to sneak in to try and catch a glimpse of the King.
Milstead says Elvis' chief of security, Sam Thompson, talked about how Elvis was always locked in his room anywhere he went.
“Elvis was always envious of Sam, he could leave the motel room and go out and walk around in public and go shopping and go out to eat and those were things Elvis because of his popularity could no longer enjoy," Milstead said.
They weren't allowed to take any pictures while on duty, but this brief snapshot in time with the King of Rock n Roll, will last a lifetime.
“Elvis is certainly one that will go down as one of the most famous entertainers that I was involved in," Milstead said.
“Yeah, yeah some things I forget, that one never goes away," Rowe said.
Elvis returned the following year for concerts in Sioux Falls and he was the first ever concert at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. Those were two of his last performances before he died.