Steve Baldwin

“Life is an Adventure”
Words and music by Mike Linderman
with Mrs. Black’s 4th Grade Class
©2012 Mike Linderman




      Steve Baldwin

After school when I was young I’d dash home and grab my dog
and BB gun and to the woods I’d run
I’d look for animals, set my traps, how I loved the stories
of the mountain man, I wanted to be one
The Conns would stop at Dad’s gas station and tell us of their progress at Jewel Cave, and that’s what I longed to try
I began exploring caves and found it was another way to be outdoors even though it was inside

Science has mapped the surface of the planets
But in a cave you still don’t know what’s just around the bend
I have lived like that and I have no regrets
Life is an adventure from beginning to the end

I went to college, met my wife, then to the Navy and there
they trained me how to fly then I came back home and stayed
I worked on roads, taught school one year, bought dad’s gas station and owned it 20 years then decided on a change
At Crazy Horse I blasted rock, the carving of the mountain
was my favorite job of all the one’s I’ve worked
As head of Search and Rescue for the county I help people
who get lost or who get sick or who get hurt

Make as many friends as you can and try not to make any enemies
Always be willing to help those that are less fortunate than we

In Jewel Cave I mapped 30 miles, my favorite was a giant chamber called Cloud Nine, as big as four ball fields
I am still exploring caves, always searching for another hidden place
it’s secrets to reveal
I’ve found almost forty caves and been in more than a hundred to
this day and there’s more I want to see
I’ve done a lot right where I am and I intend to keep on going if I can
‘til I’m a hundred and thirteen


“Thanks for the adventure Mr. Baldwin!”

Steve Baldwin was born on April 10, 1948, in Rapid City. He was born in Rapid City because Custer did not have a hospital then. He grew up with his parents, an older sister, and two younger brothers. When he was our age, he said his favorite thing to do was dash home after school, grab his bb gun, and head to the woods with his dog. He said he dreamed of being a mountain man.

Growing up, his favorite sports were basketball, track, and football. Back then, if you signed up for one sport, you were expected to participate in all the sports. So he did. By high school, he wasn’t as tall as others, so in football, his favorite, he said he just had to be meaner. He attended Custer schools and graduated here. He attended South Dakota School of Mines and Northern State. He joined the Navy while he was in college. In the Navy, he trained to be a pilot. He had a chance to stay in and become a fighter pilot, but decided not to. So he came home for a three day visit to Custer and is still here today.

Mr. Baldwin has had many different jobs. When he was just 11, he began working at his dad’s gas station. Back then, Butch’s was a full service station, and he would vacuum, sweep, and clean. Years later, he had an opportunity to buy the station, and he owned it for 20 years. He taught briefly at Custer Elementary School. Then he worked at Crazy Horse Memorial drilling and blasting. He says that was his favorite job – it was hazardous and he had to be careful. Today he works at Black Hills Parks and Forests Association, a job he really likes a lot.

Steve Baldwin met his wife, Judy, when he was student teaching at Custer Elementary School. They have been married 37 years. They have two daughters, Dawn, and Tammy; and two granddaughters, Sydney and Danielle. He loves to travel with his family. Favorite places include Mexico, France, Spain, and St. Croix. He also loves to hunt, hike, rock climb, and go camping. He said, if Judy would let him, he’d camp out in his back yard every night! He volunteers to help others in our community. He spends hours volunteering for Custer County Search and Rescue, the Courthouse Museum, and his church.

Mr. Baldwin’s favorite thing to do (besides spend time with his family) is caving! He really likes spelunking in Jewel Cave. He started caving when he was a teenager. His mom thought it was funny that he would go caving when it was dark outside! Once he found a cave while hunting and came face to face with a bobcat. Mr. Baldwin ran out as fast as the bobcat went in. He still goes caving every Tuesday night. He has always liked adventure. He said that if he lived earlier, he “would have been with Lewis and Clark going up the Missouri River…not knowing what’s around the corner.” Today he’s exploring around the unknown corners of caves.

Steve Baldwin had some inspiring advice for us. Here are a few of those words from Steve himself. “Always help others less fortunate, willingly. Make lots of friends, keep them, and try not to make enemies. Study hard and stay educated.”

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