2021 Steve Thorpe
Award Winner

Brent Morris

Live Entertainment

Open Stage, Hill City Arts Council’s winter music showcase, ushers in each new year with shows in January, February, and March. In addition to livening up the local scene in the dark of winter, Open Stage gives new talent and seasoned acts alike a supportive place to hone their craft. It also helps local promoters find and hire performers for summer shows and festivals. Local and regional singer/songwriters and poets are regulars, but storytellers, joke tellers are welcome too. New dance floor added.

Open Stage Shows

High Country Guest Ranch

12138 Ray Smith Drive

Hill City, SD  57745



Dinner 5:30

Open stage performers 6:00 – 7:00

Featured Artist: 7:00 – 8:00

Sponsorship Tables Available!  
Sit front and center!  $150/Sponsorship

Call (605) 574-2810 to reserve your table or email


If you would like to perform, contact Paul Larson at 605-591-9870. 


All proceeds support the Hill City Council Scholarship Program!


Steve Thorpe Award

The Steve Thorpe Award was initiated in 2014 and Steve Thorpe was the first award winner.  Since then, a committee of judges continues to look for a recipient that models Steve's characteristics such as, but not limited to:

  • Mentoring and support of other area musicians.

  • Innovation:  Are they composers, songwriters and/or do they use new musical techniques?

  • Participation and crowd response during Open Stage.

  • Participation in and support of live music in the Black Hills.

Past winners:

2014 - Steve Thorpe; 2015 - Mark Williams; 2016 - Paul Larson; 2017 - Kim Plender; 2018 - Hank and Marianne Fridell; 2019 - Steve Linde;


This year's award will be cash and a bronze harmonica. (Steve Thorpe oftentimes plays a harmonica and has given harmonicas to children to promote music all over the Black Hills.)

2021 Steve Thorpe Award Winner

 Brent Morris

The Hill City Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2021 Steve Thorpe Award winner is Hill City native Brent Morris.  Brent plays his guitar and sings because he loves doing it, and he loves the comradery of other performers.  Brent received a bronze harmonica and a cash award at the final 2021 Open Stage event on March 27.


Brent has been playing music and sharing his smooth singing voice with charitable organizations, "Cowboy Christmas" at the Lead Opera House, fundraisers, funerals, a variety of Black Hills music events and Open Stage for nearly 20 years.  More times than not, Brent plays for free such as at the Tucker Day Rodeo for nine years and the annual Family Heritage Alliance.


Brent is happy to share the stage with those who want to give singing a shot or accompany him on the guitar.  He formed the band "Brent Morris and the Western Acoustics" which has included Marc Ross, Dan Hunter and Dave Burleson, performing together for 15 years.


The 2021 Open Stage succeeded in transitioning to a new format of invited artists and featured artists due to Brent's assistance on stage and behind the stage.  Brent is the first one up to help a musician with stage fright, sound systems and stage set-up.  Congratulations Brent!


2021 Open Stage Sponsors

Brooke Hershey-Hershey Ranch
Deb and Gary Auch
Wally Matush
Bonnie & Dave Guerre
Ron and Carol Walker
Christy Hawthorne-Edward Jones
Sherry and Jeff Liddell
Vic and Sherryl Alexander
Pat DeSmet
Mayor Kathy and Bill Skorswecki - Heart of the Hills Antiques
LeeAnn and Rich Jensen - Double Diamond Ranch
Kristie and John VanBogart
Robb and JoAnn Hoffman
Emily and Pat Rowe
Brent and Twila Morris

Dana and Michele Rogers

Winner of the Kathy Sigle Sherpa blanket was Dan Mulally. He was part of the Kim Plender and Cue Balls Band that played at Open Stage.
Congratulations Dan!

Open Stage Performers

Kim Plender and the Cue Balls
Josh Dickey
Bob Shaun
Sheri Cederburg
The Rusty Strings Band
Buffalo Grass
Scott Bellew
Melea Hoeffner

Robert Dennis with his grandsons Gabe and Gus

Coop & Company-Greg Cooperman
Shiloh Hewitt
Bodi LInde
Gordy Pratt
Morgan Ellsbury
Robert Severson
Peggie Douglass
Steve Linde


Featured Artists

Brent Morris & The Western Acoustics
Kim Plender & The Cue Balls
Allen & Jill Kirkham
Paul Larson
Kevin Killian-The Rochford Connection

Gordy Pratt & Dalyce Sellers



2022 Open Stage Sponsors

John Stam - JCS Carpentry
Deb and Gary Auch - High Meadow Quilting
Pat DeSmet
Jeff and Sandy Marlett - Veteran of the BH National Guard
Dan McNamara - Harney Peak Inn
Mike Jacobs - Black Hills Aerial Adventures
John Sanders - Sanders Ranch