Professional impersonator visits KOTA Territory

Visitors at Jewel Cave National Monument got a special treat Thursday, with some living history.

Gib Young, a professional Theodore Roosevelt impersonator, was posing for pictures, signing autographs and sharing stories about the life of the 26th president. This included stories his family, where he was born and how he grew up.

President Roosevelt never visited Jewel Cave, but he declared it a national monument on Feb. 7, 1908. Roosevelt had a great love for the outdoors and was a huge proponent of protecting cultural and natural resources. He created 18 national monuments, many of which later became national parks.

"The character that I obviously portray, who I look most alike, who I've studied diligently on, is really one of the most popular characters in American history," said Young. "People even today, a hundred years later have this popular image of Theodore Roosevelt and even if you don't agree with him, there is something about his character that draws us in and that's the way it was when he was alive. As one of his contemporaries said, you got to hate the colonel an awful lot not to love him."

Young, as Roosevelt, will be at Devil's Tower on July 6. He's been a professional impersonator since 2003, when he met a professional Abraham Lincoln impersonator who convinced him to do it.