Did you know that this small South Dakota town in the western part of the state is the direct center of the whole United States?

Belle Fourche is a small town of about 5500 population not far from the western border of South Dakota.

Belle Fourche, South Dakota Google Maps
Belle Fourche, South Dakota Google Maps
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It's around 55 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota, and 100 east of Gillette, Wyoming.

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In August of 1959 when Hawaii was added as the 50th state of the United States Belle Fource gained a new designation as the “Direct Center” of the country. Well, pretty close.

22 miles north of Belle Fourche to be exact. This point is marked with a metal pole along a fenceline in a road ditch out in the windy prairie.

Belle Fourche has a deep old western history. The town was founded in 1903 by famous gunslinger turned Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock and his friend Sol Star.

Before its founding, it was known as a cattle town where you could take your herd to sell and ship out on the newly arrived railroad line.

Every year Belle Fourche continues to be where they hold one of the oldest rodeos in South Dakota called The Black Hills Roundup.

The Black Hills Roundup website states that the event "started years ago when 15,000 people gathered in a Belle Fourche field to help raise funds for the 1918 war. This was an astonishing number of people to show up considering the population of Belle Fourche was 1,410."

Old Time Belle Fourche Cattle Drive - Getty Thinkstock
Old Time Belle Fourche Cattle Drive - Getty Thinkstock
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Belle Fourche was named by French explorers. The city's name means "beautiful fork" referring to where the Belle Fourche, Redwater, and Hay Creek rivers come together.

Belle Fourche River - Getty Thinkstock
Belle Fourche River - Getty Thinkstock
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Life on a Cattle Ranch in Western South Dakota

Life is different out in the country. One look at the photo from Robin Bickel and you quickly realize that a workday is quite different as well, after all, she lives out west in South Dakota Cattle Country.

Robin Bickel took time to tell KIKN Country a little bit about her life out west and life as a woman, working outdoors with animals and nature in God's Country. Bickel lives and works on a cattle ranch operated by herself, her father, Jack, and his brother Keith. How far out in the country is she? How does 50 miles west of Mobridge, South Dakota sound? Yep, mountain time out there.

Life is so different in Sioux Falls, South Dakota compared to what our friends on the farm and ranches deal with. It's a half-mile to the grocery store for our family. For Robin, it's 17 miles. However, it's a quick step out her door and she's right in the middle of where a lot of the groceries come from.