Black Hills Talent and Booking was formed in 1979, when Darla Drew Lerdal was 22 years old. Darla and two associates comprised the agency for the first three years, after which, Darla stepped out on her own.
The agency booked many of the established bands in the region. Bands like Foggy Notion, Cartune, Bold Lightning, The Zakarian Band, Crazy Louie, Wild Cherry, Asia and Ivory.
In 1980, Darla was contacted by young, local rock bands, who were fully equipped and with no place to play. To make sure the bands were stage worthy, she resurrected a Battle of the Bands to audition all the young groups. The Battles were held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. The event was an instant success with 700 music fans buying tickets. Darla found new groups to book, younger audiences and gave untested musicians a starting point for the next five years.
One of the prizes for winning the Battle of the Bands, was the opportunity to play in the Summer Rock tours. Each summer, a trio of bands would hit the road to play throughout Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska. This tour was a very good way to keep bands working from Prom season to Homecoming season, the two biggest profit centers for bands in the 70s and 80s.
Darla booked many bands into venues at the Sturgis Rally. As the event grew, so did the need for bands. Darla got gigs for groups at the campgrounds and bars in Sturgis working with the Knuckle Saloon, the Loud American Road House, the Camel Stage, the Harley Owners Group, Buffalo Chip and many others.
In 1983, DD & The Fayrohs, led by Darla, became one of the most popular and sought after bands in the region. This very popular group put Black Hills Talent as the first place to call for entertainment at conventions, fairs, street dances, fundraisers, festivals, concerts and holiday parties. This new wave of shows replaced the school dances as an income source.
The agency system created a music-mecca for bands in Rapid City. With a business center in place, promoters and entertainment bookers from five states would call BHT&B. Bands often played five nights a week, resulting top notch musicians.
Darla found success in the male dominated world of music and booking agents. The agency was active for 25 years, from 79-04. Darla is currently working as an arts fundraiser (still finding money for artists) and is serving her second term on the Rapid City Common Council.