Woman On Horseback Crow Fair

                                  click image to enlarge

This is a portrait is of a woman on horseback in the Sunday morning parade held during Crow fair. The original photo was taken during the 2014 fair. It has been enhanced to appear as if it is a painting in the style of the old masters and was done to bring out the beauty and strength of the subject and to feature her regalia in the best possible light. Be sure to click on the image to see it full size on your monitor.

One of the highlights of the Crow Fair is the parade that is presented Sunday morning. To put it mildly it is spectacular and that is an understatement. Nearly everyone who has brought a horse to the fair enters the parade and is assigned to a category they wish to participate in. Categories included were “Women’s Old Time Saddle”, “Men’s War Shirt”, “Women’s Nez Perce”, Women’s Buckskin”, “Women’s Elk Tooth”, “Teen Boy’s Reservation Hat”, “Men’s War bonnet”, and many more. Each category shows off different aspects of traditional dress. The woman in the image above was entered in the “Women’s Buckskin” category.

Crow Fair, called the “Tipi Capital of the World,” is an annual event held the third weekend in August on the Crow Reservation at Crow Agency in Montana. It is one of the largest Native American events in North America and is run by a committee of the Crow tribe. There can be over a thousand teepees set up during the fair, along with parades, powwows, rodeos and other events too numerous to mention. To see more posts about Crow Fair simply type in CROW into the search box at the top of the page and hit enter. There are dozens of posts about Crow Fair with many pictures to show all aspects of the fair. Also be sure to visit our sister site http://www.OpenChutes.com to see more posts of Western Events. OpenChutes is a blog exclusively dedicated to Powwows, Rodeos, Cowboys, Indians, Indian Relay Races, Mountain Men, Rendezvous and any other western event that may occur in the Rocky Mountain West. Enjoy your visit.

Full Moon Over The Crow Camp

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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!

It was nearly midnight as I walked through the camp. It had been a long day. It was Crow Fair 2016 and as always it was spectacular. Starting early in the morning to photograph the staging of the parade, following and shooting the dance competitions, watching the evening performances, it was a day packed full of excitement. This was the last day and I was heading home in the morning.

It had been cloudy and although the sky was covered by those clouds, occasionally the full moon would show itself but never long enough to get a good shot of it. But as luck sometimes favors the photographer the clouds seemed to dissolve and there it was in all its glory, full and round and positioned exactly where it needed to be to make this image. I was given a present in the form of this last memory. Walking through the cool night, feeling the moonlight wash over me, hearing the sound of laughter, singing, people calling out to each other, this was the perfect ending to a summer-long trip along the Powwow trail.

I began the summer in late April with the opportunity to photograph the largest powwow in North America, the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thousands of dancers, singers, drummers, participants, spectators, all brought together to celebrate their culture. This was spectacle at its grandest. At one point there were over 2800 dancers coming and going from the arena floor. This is like the Superbowl of powwows.

As the summer progressed I had the opportunity to attend powwows and meet people from nearly every tribe in the western part of the United States. There were Shoshone, Arapaho, Bannock, Cree, Chippewa, Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Sioux, Comanche, Apache, Navajo, Hopi, and many other tribes. There were people from the Cree And Chippewa tribes that came down from Canada to participate in the Chippewa/Cree powwow at Rocky Boy Montana. This event was held in the rolling hills of Northern Montana on a hillside where you could see for two days in any direction. No buildings in sight, nothing but the golden prairie stretching on for miles and miles. The sound of drums and singing and the people dancing carried on the wind for days. The reservation in nestled up against the Canadian border just east of Glacier National Park and it was one of the most natural, authentic places I had the good fortune to visit.

People from the various tribes in Washington and Oregon were at different events along the way. It was a chance to see their different regalia and styles of dancing. All were welcome and made to feel like part of the family. That’s what these gatherings felt like. Large family gatherings where you got to see cousins that you hadn’t seen in years. A place where acquaintances were made and spiritual ceremonies brought everyone close together. The sense of community was strong. It felt good to be there.

Over the course of the summer I took over 20,000 images, many were of the various rodeos that were part of the powwow, but never the less, I took a lot of photographs. Now that I am back at my studio I will begin the daunting task of processing these images and posting them on the site. Hopefully the wait hasn’t been too long for those wanting to see the shots of their powwows. Each event will have its images posted as I get to them. My apologies for the delay.

This has been an incredible summer and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to observe, photograph, join in. I got to march in the Color Guard at the Western Shoshone/ Bannock Grand Entry where they celebrated the Vets that had served in all the wars. That was the first time in over 50 years that I have had the opportunity to participate in something like that and I will cherish the experience forever. But just as importantly it was the ability to be able to be a very small part in the total experience. Thank you one and all for making that experience possible for me.

As time goes on I will get the photographs you want to see posted. If you don’t see your event, don’t worry it’ll be there. Also please feel free to email me if you have any questions. Thanks for a great summer.

81st Green River Rendezvous

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 81st Green River Rendezvous was held in Pinedale Wyoming last July 7th thru July 10th and what a get together it was. There were Traders at Traders row that had Mountain Man paraphernalia for sale, a Midway with vendors and food sellers of all types, a parade with everybody that could fit into it that was two hours long! There was a rodeo at the rodeo grounds that was as exciting as any you could go to, and a pageant Sunday morning that told the story of the Rendezvous with local actors and horses and wagons and everyone in character and regalia from the time of the first rendezvous. Pictured above is one of the participants in the parade who was also a featured actor in the Sunday morning Pageant. This was all good stuff. Spectacular in fact.

For those of you who do not know what a rendezvous is, it was a gathering of the Mountain Men after their trapping season was finished for the year. They brought their pelts, usually beaver, to the rendezvous to sell to the traders and obtain the goods and supplies they would need for the next year’s trapping season. It was also the time they had to have an epic blowout, carousing, drinking, raising hell of all types in particular, to let off steam from the previous trapping season. These men waited all year to have this one big party that had to last them to the following year where they got to do it again, unless of course they ‘went under’ or ‘lost their har’ to whichever enemy happened to be around. It was a tough life and for some this party made it all worthwhile.

Another huge part of this Rendezvous was the encampment of the American Mountain Man group that was held on a grassy area next to the Mountain Man Museum. These folks are the real deal. Everything they do is authentic from making their own clothes and gear, to the tents and teepee’s  they sleep in. Some of the participants of this encampment have been featured in Articles in the National Geographic magazine and numerous other publications and media where authenticity was required. This encampment was worth the price of admission alone. Of course there was no admission charge, the entire weekend was free except for a couple of things like the rodeo ($7.00 ! Cheap at twice the price) and the pageant ($5.00 !). This was a tremendous event to attend and if you ever are in the area when this event is held, drop what you’re doing and get yourself to Pinedale, Wyoming for the time of your life.

We will be posting more images and stories about the Green River Rendezvous as time goes on. Stay tuned  and check back often for more information about the Incredible Green River Rendezvous. We have already marked this event on next years calendar. You should too.

 

Crow Fair Revisited Part 2

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!

This weekend we are revisiting the 2014 Crow Fair. This is part 2. These are images that have not been posted before. As we have done in the past we are posting them with the minimum of conversation about them so that you can enjoy the memories they bring back.

 

 

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Early morning sun is warming the lodges.

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Returning from the river after watering the herd

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Opening ceremonies

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Families joining in the circles.

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Many happy faces

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Recognizing Royalty

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Recognizing Royalty ,especially  the youngest ones.

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Men’s dancers

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Dancing into the sunset

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Men’s regalia

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Dancing around the circle

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Women presenting the colors at the start of the parade

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Incredible regalia display

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Different styles of dress were part of the parade

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Crow woman with beautiful bead work

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Crow mother and son riding in the parade

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Young man in full headdress

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Teen boy in full headdress.

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Crow woman with bow and quiver

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Young girl with elk tooth dress

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Always watchful, there is so much to learn

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Scene from the past

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Closing ceremonies

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Kids saying goodbye,

Watch for further posts from both the Crow Fair and the NAID Blackfeet gathering in the weeks to come.

Crow Fair Revisited

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!

This weekend we are revisiting the 2014 Crow Fair. These are images that have not been posted before. As we have done in the past we are posting them with the minimum of conversation about them so that you can enjoy the memories they bring back.

 

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Early morning in the camp.

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Entering the circle

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Introducing the young to the ways

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Jingle dancer in perfect form

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Adjustments made

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A princess being recognized

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Another princess proudly receiving her welcome

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A soon to be princess watching closely

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Elders entering the circle

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Regalia on display

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A study in concentration

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Close watch

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Parade arriving

 

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Showing her the ropes

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Royalty on a grey horse

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Confident and proud

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Displaying the fan

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Million dollar smile

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Complete focus

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Displaying his wealth

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Controlling the high spirits

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Gorgeous Elk tooth shirts

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After the parade

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Closing ceremonies

Tomorrow will be another set of images from the 2014 Crow Fair. Stop by.

Crow Fair 2015 Post Parade Gathering

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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After gathering together before the parade began the participants of the 2015 Crow Fair Parade then passed through the camp on the parade route and returned to the staging area. The streets were lined with hundreds of parade viewers, most sitting in folding camp chairs, some standing, kids running and following along the sidelines becoming a part of the parade too. It was a very hot day, well over a hundred degrees and everywhere you looked there were umbrellas to keep off the sun and water bottles coming out of coolers.  The parade had traveled down through the assembled teepees, over 1200 of them this year, and followed along the Little Bighorn river before returning to the staging area to disassemble and find out who won for best in their categories.

 

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As the first group in the parade the color guard returned and furled their flags

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Then individuals returned

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Women of the Elk Tooth category remained in formation as they returned to the staging area

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As always seeing the various parade members up close and admiring the trappings on them and their horses up close was a thrill

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This could as easily be a photograph from the mid-1800’s as a modern one. Time travel was possible here today if your imagination was strong enough.

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There was a much more relaxed atmosphere now that the parade was over

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Fathers bring their kids back

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Mom’s too, even if they were ready for a nap

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A gentle touch for a beloved horse, perhaps a moment to enjoy what just transpired

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Generations riding together enjoying the companionship

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Everyone taking in the experience

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Some perhaps a little less than the others, but it’s been a long hot day full of excitement and now that it’s over a well deserved yawn is ok.

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Every type of look imaginable is here, from painted faces to simple yet striking horse trappings

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A smile is always worth a picture

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The tribes were always quick to adopt new things so sunglasses fit right in

 

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Young members of the tribe watch carefully, everything is a learning experience

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There were a lot of smiles scattered throughout the gathering

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Hundreds of Elk Teeth adorn this blanket. Attention to detail was paramount

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Mischievous smiles were also included

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So were good old-fashioned honest ones. There is a lot of joy amongst the people.

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There are still a few chores to be done even at the end of the parade. Holding the horse is one, a big responsibility for a small girl.

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Apparently the parade was a little taxing for one member and a break was indicated.

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This group was chosen as best in their various categories, although every single participant in the parade was a winner.

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Above you see the members of the Parade committee. These tireless participants made this incredible event happen, dedicating time and energy and their boundless enthusiasm to put the parade together. They deserve the praise and thanks of anyone who was in the parade or viewed it. Thanks for and incredible effort, and thanks for an incredible parade. You were amazing.

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.