Crow Fair 2015 Pre-Parade Staging

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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One of the surprising things about life is you are never too old to be surprised. After watching the parade and seeing everyone one in their proper places and the show going off flawlessly you think that it was a simple thing to have a parade. You called up a bunch of folks, got them together, put in them in a line and said “Go.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The surprise and the fun was that you are totally unprepared for the activity and monumental cooperation it takes to get dozens and dozens of people together and have them all in their proper places ready to go when the parade starts.

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People begin drifting in by ones and twos.

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Everyone is properly dressed

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They’re excited

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They’re ready to have fun

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Royalty is arriving with the littlest starting off first

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It’s a chance to see friends and exchange greetings

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And show off the cool stuff you get to carry with you

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The horses are arrayed in all their finery and prance in place eager to be off

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It’s also a chance to show off the incredible regalia needed to outfit the horses and riders properly, some of which are the result of hours of work to create, each piece being unique.

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For some it is also a time for reflection

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Colors, textures, craftsmanship and historical context are everywhere you look

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Like any big maneuver it is often hurry up and wait

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And it can be time for those last minute adjustments

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As in every event that happens at the Crow Fair it is the drums that tie everything together.

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Members of the parade committee help everyone find their places in line

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And then suddenly it is time. They’re off to start another parade

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The mounted riders head out first and everyone hurries to make sure they’re in the correct spot

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After the mounted riders start, the floats begin to enter the line up. These Princesses are smiling and happy to be under way.

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Some are wide-eyed with the wonder of it all. How many parades will this young person participate in? Hopefully many.

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Families feel the excitement

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Young mothers and their children are proud

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What could be better than riding on a float in the best parade in the world

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And as usual the veterans are not forgotten. They’re becoming fewer and fewer but those still here with us receive the respect of everyone, viewers and participants alike.

They’re off to complete the parade. They’ll travel throughout the camp and wind up back here to disband and see who won their respective categories. The next post will show that process as the paraders’ return. Stay tuned.

Crow Fair 2015 Parade

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

The main parade at the Crow Fair is one event everybody looks forward to. It ‘s a chance to see the Fair participants in full regalia riding their horses or on a float presenting their best efforts for the fair judges and the parade viewers as well. It’s a fun event for everybody. The participants get to wave to fiends and family in the crowd. The viewers get to see an amazing sight and everybody’s happy. This has got to be a favorite time for everyone.

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As in every event they hold the colors are presented.

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Usually the parade has categories but occasionally things get changed u a little and you get a different look. Today there were a lot of individuals parading in and out of category groups.

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There’s always Royalty in a parade and there is a lot of royalty at the Crow Fair.

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An experienced rider in the men’s War Bonnet category.

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Some times the parade is so good you just have to smile

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Lodge poles, a good horse, a hat to keep the sun off your face and it’s a great parade

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An elder responding to friend in the crowd. Everyone is good-natured and has fun calling back and forth.

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A segment of the Reservation Hat category passes in review.

 

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The Crow are very partial to their horses and any cane to show off good stock is taken advantage of.

 

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Young women get a chance to show off their finery.

 

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A young warrior rides a painted horse. The symbols and colors are all important.

 

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A young woman wearing an Elk Tooth dress shades her eyes with her fan. It was 107° the day this parade was held.

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And the sun was bright and hot but that didn’t keep the parade from going on.

 

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All ages participate

 

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Eve down to the youngest. If they can hang on they can be in the parade

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That counts for the horses too.

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These young braves are on their way to being fierce warriors, they just need a little more time.

 

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Letting out a huge cry and catching up is all part of the parade

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The real stars of the parade are the elders, both men and women. Within them lies the knowledge and experience that needs to be passed down to the younger members of the tribe. They are the reservoirs of heritage and pride and it shows on each and every face.

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As the parade winds down ad passes by there is a final wave and it’s over for the day. A parade like this is a monumental task to put on. In the next post we’ll visit the staging area where all the magic happens. Stay tuned.

Crow Fair 2015 Portraits

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

Portraits are about people. About emotion, attitude, about the way they’re feeling. What you see first of course is how they look, which after you study a portrait for awhile becomes the least important part of the process. What is important is whether the portrait engages you. Whether it makes you stop and look at it and perhaps feel a bond take place with the subject. It creates a connection that is difficult to put into words but is real just the same. Hopefully that will happen for you as view these portraits of members of the Crow tribe. They are a striking people.

There will be very few words used to describe the images. You know what you’re seeing and you know how it affects you. This is a moment where you get to quietly meet a wonderful group of people. These are people of the Crow Nation.

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A mother and child finding a quiet moment together.

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There is strength here

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Thinking things through

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These eyes have seen much

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Straight forward gaze and an unflinching look at the world

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Calm and at peace, secure in who he is

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All thoughts turn inward as her turn to dance approaches

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Seeing into the future, or the past

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Enjoying the spectacle while resting. A quiet smile for the photographer.

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A young man watching intently. Age isn’t a factor in the desire to do well.

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Everyone seems to exhibit extraordinary self-control in the midst of all the activity.

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Occasionally one takes time out for adjustments, both inside and outside

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Determination and focus is paramount

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Everything is watched closely.

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Color is everywhere and poise shows it off

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Tired but paying close attention

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A lovely woman, a lovely smile

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Intensity is always there

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A moment of rest

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This is who he is at the moment

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I am a member of this tribe, I belong.

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Can you be in the past and present at the same time…sometimes

OK Then, That Was Fun

Those of you who have been waiting for the blog to go back up, that would be happening today. Those of you who don’t know the blog was down can catch up here.

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/doom-despair-and-agony-untold/

Rather than go into a lengthy explanation of what happened and how it was corrected I’ll just relate that if you’ve ever wondered if Catastrophe’s have bad days too, the answer is Yes. But as someone near and dear used to say, “That’s all blood under the bridge now”  It’s over. We’re back up and running. Clemont is just a pale shell of what he was and now that he has all new innards and has had a good D&C (dusting and cleaning) everything is working fine. He doesn’t have any memory of what happened or who he was, or how he had gotten a little uppity and would basically do what ever he felt like doing regardless of directions he was given, or how hard you would slam the mouse down on the desk top, so he is much easier to work with. We have him convinced that due to brain damage sustained in the firefight he is now a Dumb Terminal. Life should be easier, at least until he figures it out anyway.

So without further ado here is todays post. Crow Fair Portraits. Enjoy.

 

Doom, Despair, and Agony Untold

Bad news, Ladies and Gentlemen. As I was preparing the best post that has ever been posted in the history of postdom my computer, whom I thought was my friend, has apparently committed suicide. I’m not sure what caused it. It seemed to be in good spirits, it had a clean desktop, fresh clean electricity to sustain it, it showed no signs of instability but it just shows you never can really see into the heart and mind of someone you love.

I am rushing it into a computer trauma center in the vain hope that they can slap the paddles of life against its little ports and bus connectors and revive it, but the future looks dark indeed. I was considering writing in longhand on real paper, regardless of the cost in trees, each and every one of you around the globe that reads the blog today’s post, but my printers connected to my computer which is now apparently in computer Valhalla and due to an old war Injury I cannot write cursive for more than a few moments. Plus I’d have to hand draw all the images I was going to post and, well, it’s just not going to work out.

Fortunately I keep my images in a specially lined, pixel retentive shoebox under my bed so they were not affected. I can continue to receive email on my phone and iPad from which I’m writing this tear-stained message but I cannot post to the blog as neither of these devices have access to my images.

Needless to say, this takes down the Institutes entire communication system and we are unable to continue our good work until we are back up and running. “Well why don’t you fire up the Institutes Cray computer that you got such a good deal on, then?” you might ask. Well we can’t that’s why. The key to open the NSA style, lead filled door with its three Schlagel keyed alike padlocks is stored in a secret encrypted folder called ” key to Cray Computer door, do not open if you’re a spy” and it’s on the dead computer. I told you this was a bad day.

I’m off now to rush Clemont, that’s our computers name, to the Last Chance Computer Center to see if there is any hope at all. I fear the worst though and may have to resort to drastic measures. Clemont’s last wishes were to be melted down and made into a coffee cup so he would always be on the desk next to the action. I will see that that happens. So, Don’t cry for me Argentina, I will be back,  I will be strong, we are The Institute.

I will try to keep you posted as to when we will return but it will be sketchy. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers in this dark terrible time.

Crow Fair 2015 Women’s Dancing

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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The women enter the arbor and join the circle to start the festivities for the 2015 Crow Fair. All of the different categories and styles are represented. As the afternoon progresses each one will have their moment in the spotlight but right now there is the excitement that reigns as everyone dances in together and completes the circle.

During the competition the men and women dance separately, each group having the opportunity to showcase their particular style of dancing, from the youngest to the oldest everyone gets their moment in the sun.

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It’s a moment to wave hello to friends in the audience

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Or a moment to demonstrate some of the steps that you will see later in the individual competition.

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Everyone is looking their best

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Walking to your appointed place for the next dance gives everyone a chance to see the incredible designs and beadwork of the various dancers

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As the dances commence there is a whirlwind of color and perfect footwork

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Some of the dancers display what must be hundreds of hours of painstaking beadwork on their dresses.

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Throughout the days and nights it is the drum that holds everything together. Without it  there would be no continuity to the festivities. Its steady beat is the thread that ties everything together.

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Style and poise are the norm as every dancer gets her opportunity to impress.

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Each dancer does her best to display the emotion of her particular style of dancing

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Some dances are quiet with careful footwork and perfect positioning of the fans carried.

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While others give an opportunity for more expression

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Many of the dancers are lost in the moment

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While  the judges keep a careful eye on every move. They are also participants at times and know every move and gesture that should be made.

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Perfect form and composure is constantly on display

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Some styles are more traditional

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Yet there are new things added as time passes

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It is also the opportunity to show the incredible beauty of the design and workmanship of their dresses and the regal bearing of the dancers

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The drummers wait for the moment the next dance begins

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While the singers add their voices to the soundtrack of the day

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Since footwork plays such an important part of the dances, it helps to have the best looking pair of moccasins in the competition.

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The afternoon is wearing  on and still they dance.

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As the light changes to the golden glow of late afternoon one of the final dancers is bathed in its glory. The color of her shawl made even more spectacular by the intensity of the coming sunset she dances in celebration of her heritage.

The dancing is over for this afternoon but after a short break for dinner they will be back and dance late into the night. The dances being one of the main reason for the gathering are performed throughout the length of the fair. It is so woven into the fabric of the Crow Fair that there wouldn’t be a fair without it.

In case you’re tuning in late here are the links of the 2015 Crow Fair that have been posted so far.

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/crow-fair-2015/

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/crow-fair-2015-mens-dancing/

 

Crow Fair 2015 Men’s Dancing

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

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Dancing is a central part of the Crow Fair and the men’s competition is very important to them. It is a chance to show off their regalia and their best footwork and perhaps most importantly demonstrate their history and culture. Dancing is extremely serious business and not taken lightly. It is a chance to show off who they are and what their beliefs mean to them.

There are many different dance categories and they are broken down by age groups. This post is not about explaining what each category is but it is more a presentation of the colors, textures, style, symbols and meanings important to each dancer and the tribe in general. Ceremony and the spiritual connection with their past can be seen in every step they take. This is not a show, this is their life.

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Elder dancers display more traditional styles.

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Younger dancers display more exotic styles

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Some are very traditional

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The younger boys have each chosen the style they want to perform

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A group of fancy dancers display the incredible variety of colors for their dance category

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Postures are an important part of each dance style

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So is intensity

 

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Decorations and symbols adorn each dancers regalia and the items they carry.

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Focus, making sure each step is performed in the proper manner requires maximum concentration.

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Feathers and perfect beadwork complete the look required

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The emotion of each presentation can be seen in every movement.

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Two different styles performing the same dance

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Every accessory is perfect from head to toe

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Lost in the dance one can see the powerful historical connection for the dancers

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And the incredible feelings displayed as the dance continues

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Many clothing styles are a study in contrast

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While there is simply wild abandonment in the fancy dancers regalia

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This style of dancing requires maximum effort on the part of the dancers

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And it shows as the dance ends.

The dancing goes on nearly continuously throughout the fair and the stamina of the participants is remarkable. Many times the dances last deep into the night and the sounds of the drums and the singers can be heard throughout the camp. It is a  constant whirlwind of activity and excitement. The next post will bring you the women’s dancing. Stay tuned.