Sweet Nothings

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 highlight of any Indian rodeo is the Indian Relay Races. That event alone is worth traveling just about any distance to see. These races must be held out doors as the excitement generated at one of these races will simply blow the roof off any building you try to hold them in. I know, these are bold statements, but once you see one of these races you’ll be a convert. To see more about these races visit this post http://www.bigshotsnow.com/crow-fair-2015-indian-relay-races/ to see it in action.

The intensity of the races builds to a fever pitch with horses, riders and even those in the grandstand filled to the brim with frenetic energy. Sometimes the excitement gets to the point where the horse loses control and begins to act up because it wants to be out on that racetrack running its heart out. But it isn’t its time yet. It has to remain here in position so that when the relay rider comes in, it is ready for him to mount and race away, hopefully winning the race.

What you see here is a brief moment in time where the handler has an intimate quiet discussion with the horse explaining to it that it needs to remain calm. If it does it will have its chance in a second and that if it just stays calm a little longer it’ll be out on that track running like the wind and it will be the winner. A horse among horses. King of the stables. Or something like that. It was hard to hear over all the screaming from the grandstands.

Surprisingly the horse calmed right down and patiently waited for the rider to come in and make the exchange. We’d like to report that this horse and rider did win the race but unfortunately that didn’t happen. He came in second. There is only one winner in a horse race and this wasn’t this horse’s day. But there’s always the next race, the next rodeo, the next chance to be a winner. They’ll be back.

Half Moon Day


The other morning when we had the interns removing the tarps from the roof of the Sunset viewing tower here at The Institute they began shouting “Boss Look, the moon, the moon, boss. It is out! And it is day. What does this mean?” At least that’s what we thought they were shouting. It’s kind of hard to hear when they’re 350′ up in the air and the wind gusts are peaking at 55-60 miles an hour.

We let one of them come down so we could understand them better and the babbling began to make sense. They had seen the moon in the sky during sunrise and in their simple superstitious minds thought this was the end of the world. They were getting ready to jump off the roof in an effort to keep something terrible from happening to them but we were able to drive their messenger back up the tower to convince them it was alright. Nothing terrible was going to happen to them unless they came down before the tarps were removed. The last thing we needed was some replay from Homer “and when the rosy fingered dawn occurred the interns fell from the sky etc…” That would take up half the morning getting that squared away.

It turns out that this particular batch of interns included a bunch from rural Greece and each one of them had the Selenophobia gene. Selenophobia is the fear of the moon. Yeah, we know, that is weird but we got this batch from Interns-R-Us and they have a no return policy that is airtight. You can’t even donate them back. If you leave them on their front stoop with a refund request Interns-R-Us will simply put them back on the shuttle and send them to your front gate again. They’re yours and that’s that. You have to send the half-track down to go get them, otherwise they mill around down there by the front gate which is right on the highway, throwing stones at passing cars, ripping the shrubbery out of the ground, writing what can only be some kind of rude graffiti on our mailboxes. They smeared something terrible on the lens of our security cameras down there so we couldn’t see what they were doing. It makes The Institute look bad so we gird our loins and go cart them back here. It is not easy running an organization as complex as the Institute.

We immediately set our xeno-anthropology department to work developing a program to treat and cure these interns of their Selenophobia. We are lucky enough to have Margaret Mead’s great, great cousin’s Aunt by her second marriage, grandchild, Curtis Leroy Moonboy, on our staff to head up this program. Mr. Moonboy or as he is known by his peers, twitchy speaks a dialect of the interns language or at least we think he does, he’s hard to understand sometimes, so he’ll be perfect for this project. We just hope Maggie’s genes kick in and help him get this together. Although the odds in the weekly pool have him down as 460 to 1 that he’ll be able to pull this off.

We need to cure these simple but unresponsive interns because we here at The Institute have a simple code ‘Fix ’em or Cull ’em’ and we need them well and functional. For their health and because we cannot get anyone else to go up there on the tower roof to put up and take down the tarps. So twitchy better get something going otherwise he’s going up there himself. The image above shows the moon clearly out in the sky as the sun comes up and lights the clouds in a rosy hue. We all think it’s pretty but then we don’t have Selenophobia.

Crow Woman 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!


One of the interesting things about watching the participants of the Crow Fair ceremonies and dancing is seeing how many of the competitors have melded the traditional and the modern  to create to create a unique style all of their own. This blending of the old and new complements each other and shows the evolution of enhancing the old with the new until it becomes a part of the culture.

The traditional style is so strong and shows through as such, leaving no doubt as to what is the dominant style. The accessories added, effortlessly become one with the look. The supreme confidence of the wearer makes this effect even stronger.

The crow Fair creates a never-ending view of past and present. To be able to see the present celebrate the past yet adapt to the future as well is a fascinating experience. This is not a static culture. It is dynamic yet never loses touch with its past. One wants to know what the future will bring.

First Arabesque


As all of our ballet fans know the winter season of famous ballet performances is nearly here. Yellowstone National Park, long known for its support of the arts has hosted the most famous of all the ballerina schools the, L’école du cygne de l’excellence.

And as if things couldn’t get any better they have managed to bring in perhaps the most famous Swan performer dancing today, the Diva herself, Olga Vasiliyevna Lepeshinskaya.! What a coup! There was celebration long into the night when the park rangers in charge of this seasons performances found out the news. The Supervisor himself after learning the Diva had accepted the position leapt to his feet, did a few pirouettes and a show stopping impromptu stutter step on pointe and threw his champagne glass into the fireplace. There was some excitement at the lodge that night, I can tell you.

Our Siberian princess, who flew in directly from the innermost reaches of the Siberian tundra took the name of Olga Vasiliyevna Lepeshinskaya as a tribute to her favorite Russian dancer. Of course it wasn’t Russia when Ms. Lepeshinskaya was dancing, it was the U.S.S.R. and that rascal and all around bad boy, Stalin himself was in charge. Things were tough for our ballerina because unless you were an exceptional dancer Stalin would normally just kill you. But as adversity makes you stronger we are glad Ms.  Lepeshinskaya survived and that her talent lives on in our star performer today.

Of course given the talent assembled for this seasons performances what other program could they perform but Coppélia with its primary character Swanhilda. We won’t give the story away other than to say it is a comic opera and well worth the admission fee. And as always it will be performed at the Yellowstone river bend at the North end of the Hayden valley. There will be bleacher seats available and for you opera diehards that hold season tickets the lawn chair area will be provided with security and a roped off area to commingle during the intermissions.

We part today with an image of the diva rehearsing. Here she is shown in the middle of the First Arabesque and preparing to Pirouette, then advance into a Grand Jete and of course this leads to her famous awe-inspiring Tour en l’air which won her namesake the Order Of The Red Banner Of Labor not once but twice. Our current Diva has been awarded the Prima Ballerina Assoluta one of the highest and rarest awards given. This is only the second of these awards given in the last forty-five years. We are so honored to have her here for this incredible season of song and dance in Yellowstone National Park. Get your tickets now and see you there.

Note:  Please remember nothing but North Face or higher quality down jackets allowed into the lawn chair area. Thank you for your support and join us for Coppélia and a night to remember.






Four Steps To Sunset

2015-10-26Sunset0180Sunset as seen from the turret at The Institute 5:36PM

Those of you who have been around the blog the longest know that we have a sunset viewing wing here at The Institute. Well it’s more of a tower actually, with an amazing keep or a turret at the top surrounded by windows so you can get a 360° view of the sunsets as they’re occurring. It was built ’round’ this way because due to fluctuations in the alignment of the cosmos especially in this time continuum, our sunsets can occur at almost any compass point. Lately however they been occurring in the West. I know, strange, that.

2015-10-26Sunset186Sunset as seen from the turret at The Institute 5:38PM

The first picture above, with all the blue in it, shows the sun dropping behind the hill and starting to spill its color all over the valley. There’s still some color left in the surrounding area, but everybody knows what ‘s coming.

The image directly above, with all the gold in it, shows the sunset upchucking all over the place. Hurling yellow and gold everywhere as sort of a parting gift, saying “Yeah, we got to go now but we’ll be back, you can count on that bucko.”


2015-10-26Sunset0194Sunset as seen from the turret at The Institute 5:40PM

This is its death knell as the Sun drops into the special tube installed there in the west to instantly transport it to the other side of the globe to start Day for those guys over there.


2015-10-26Sunset0198Sunset as seen from the turret at The Institute 5:42PM

That’s it. Six minutes after it started it’s gone. Sometimes you can even hear the lid slam shut on that tube and then it’s dark. Dark as Jane Fonda’s heart. You may experience sunsets in a different manner at your house. If so that’s cool. We’ve heard that there are parts of the country where it takes forever for the sun to set and it’s boring while it’s doing it. If you are one of those who suffer from that scenario we offer our condolences and say “Run Away, run as fast as you can.”, you needn’t live that way.

Harvest Time At The Institute


It’s harvest time at The Institute and like any other gigantic, inorganic, semi-corrupt, uncaring mega-agriculture corporation we have to get the crops in. We’re not like that grasshopper you hear about that fiddled away the summer and now has nothing to show for it. We’re like the ants, those ones from South America someplace that voraciously consume everything in their path and what they can’t eat they pack away in their ant warehouses and storage units, and those small freighters off-shore, even going so far as stuffing it in an ant Tuff shed here and there.

We’ve been asked “Why do you have so many unpaid interns hanging around The Institute?”. Because its times like this when we need them, that and we don’t usually let them go once they’ve signed our work agreement and we have confiscated their car keys. We send them off into the fields to work, to harvest the bounty our land has produced. Like these red things in the photo above. We don’t know what they are, or if they taste good, or even whether they’re healthy or deadly or what ever, but nature grew them so that’s what we’re going to harvest. We have tons of them growing down along the dry stream bed in the arboretum so it’s easy to harvest them and we don’t lose many interns because they can find their way back simply by following the creek up hill.

It’s a welcome sight to see the long lines of interns, their huge baskets filled to the brim with these red things, singing songs of the working classes, stamping their feet rhythmically on the narrow snake-infested trails, their trump lines making indentations in their foreheads from the back-breaking weight of their overfilled baskets, perspiring as they labor up the 42% grade to the red thing dumping site. It’s a good feeling to know we can provide for our people. We know that the labor will pay off when we need something to feed them over the winter. Our staff of nutritionists gleaned from fast food restaurants all over the world tell us that they can make a delicious paste of some kind that can be smeared on other edible produce and that will sustain the bulk of the interns unless it gets too cold. That ‘s also taking into account of course, that the red things are not poisonous.


We also harvest another crop that grows wild on our boulders and smaller rocks. It is called lichen and it is chock full of healthy stuff like riboflavin’s, free radicals, imprisoned radicals, natural chemicals, riboflavin’s, yellow dye number 5, some orange stuff you have to scrape off before you can eat it, certain minerals and vitamin C and D and R.

Lichen is difficult to harvest as the boulders and smaller rocks have to be rolled up the incline to the lichen harvesting place where other interns whose knees are shot from harvesting the Red Things, scrape it off the boulders with old putty knives. Being that The Institute believes in sustainability and the well being of Mother Earth, the boulders have to be rolled back to their original positions so the seeds of the next harvest can be planted. Rolling a 7 or  8 ton boulder back down the hill without anyone getting injured or killed dead on the spot is a tricky business.

Luckily we have staff brought on from various County Rehabilitation programs in Georgia, Alabama and Wisconsin, that previously supervised the work crews that performed work similar to our lichen harvesting procedures along various southern roadsides. We value their experience and knowledge of how to handle unwilling workers, plus it’s nice to see how the German Shepherds keep everyone closely clustered around the boulder as they lower it.

The experience gleaned from their Work and Not Release program that has been so effective for them down there has been invaluable. These officers overseers guards  work facilitators are always ready to offer advice and moral support. It goes without saying that we do not condone the use of chains or other manacles and we offer them breaks several times a week. The Institute has placed the highest regard for safety for our volunteer workers and will continue to do so right down to the last one.

We have asked our nutritionists if the red paste they are creating might be combined with the lichen for a more well-balanced foodstuff. They said it could and they have found other uses for it as well. It makes an incredible chinking material as the first few volunteers who have consumed it state they have not had use of their digestive tract since eating it four weeks ago. Anything that will clog a system like that will keep the sub-zero wind from blasting through the logs of the bunkhouses. And apparently it’s waterproof. Another benefit.

Got to run just got word from the overseers that something happened to twenty or thirty of the interns down near the lichen field. Rope probably broke on that big boulder they were trying to lower.

Crow Elders Watching

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!


During the dance competition at the Crow Fair many types of dances were performed. There were categories for all ages. Men and women’s dances, young people, elders. There were dances performed by visiting tribes, everywhere you looked there were people dancing.

The categories included different types of dances such as Northern Traditional, Southern traditional, Chicken dance, Grass dance, and Fancy dances for the men. Northern and Southern Traditional, Jingle and Fancy Shawl dances for the women, There was something for everyone.

When the dances were being performed it was serious business, it wasn’t just spectacle although there was plenty of that, this was their history and heritage being performed, a way in which their culture was being passed on from the elders to the younger people down through the ages. Who they were as a people was imbedded in the dance and its traditions and this was their heart and soul. This is what made them who they are.

The youngest learning by watching and performing, learned the steps, and as they did the meaning held within the dance itself was absorbed, and as they grew the culture of the Crow people became ingrained within them. They were absorbing and gathering everything they needed to know to become the future of the tribe.

Through it all the elders would watch. It was a competition but it was more than that. It was proof that the Crow traditions and heritage would move forward  and as long as dances were held and people sang and came together the tribe would always be who they were. The Crow Nation, proud and fiercely independent.