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.

North American Indian Days 2015

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!


Last week, July 9th thru the 12th, The Blackfeet tribe put on its 64th annual North American Indian days (or NAID) on its reservation at Browning, Montana. It was 4 solid days of Dancing, singing, fellowship, and socializing amongst one of the largest gathering of Indian tribes in the United States and Canada.

Every event held throughout the celebration began with the Grand Entrance where the color guard, made up of military veterans from the various tribes, brought in the colors. These included our American flag, Canada’s flag, the Blackfeet tribe’s flag, and others to be presented with respect to everyone assembled. Many men and women of the tribes served in the armed forces and this is a very important part of the ceremony. To participate in this honor, with drums sounding out their deep resonance, singers celebrating with their voices, joining the gathering of hundreds of spectators, the sun beating down and the hot wind blowing through the presentation arbor, this is an experience that will remain with you for a very long time.

When you attend this event one of the first things you notice is the riot of color around you. The regalia, the decorations, the site itself is full of every hue of color imaginable, from the earth tones of the arbor and dancing area to the manmade colors of some regalia, and the natural shades of the surrounding area. The natural light of the far northern part of our country has its own unique look and feel also, and being just a little more than 12 miles from the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park adds to the overall effect with mountains in the background and of course amazing sunsets.

The sounds are the next thing you notice as the deep rhythmic notes of the many drums and songs work their way into your senses. Drums and drummers from many places around the country, the singers joining in, the sounds of the calls made by the various participants as they dance around the arbor, are nearly overwhelming. You are immersed in the experience completely. They draw you in and mesmerize you even if you don’t understand the words. It is easy to get lost in the sound and action and swirling colors, but that is part of the experience of being here. And it feels good.

Over the next few days we will be bringing you the sights of this incredible experience, the regalia , the dances, along with the other events such as the rodeos and Indian Relay Races, plus some of the views of the countryside around the events themselves. It was a spectacular experience. If you can, go to the next one, it is worth every second you spend there. The Blackfeet welcome all guests and you’ll never forget the time you spent at The North American Indian Days celebration.


Back To The Classics

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!



Saddle bronc riding. This is the event that started rodeos.  Back in the old days which is anything before 1950, before Volkswagen Jetta’s and Prius’, the only way a cowboy could get to work was to either, A: Walk, or B: Ride a horse. ‘A’ was simply not an option as cowboys don’t walk. They can’t. They wear special footwear called Cowboy boots with a tall heel that make it almost physically impossible to walk more than 50′ before they fall down on the ground grabbing their legs yelling “OMG, I can’t walk! My legs! My legs!. Somebody help me, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” That’s where option ‘B’ comes in. Ride a horse.

Back then that was problematic because horses didn’t like to be ridden. They still don’t for the most part. Ask any horse that’s been out on grass for a month or two if it would really like to ridden and they will almost always answer “No, thanks, I’m good.” You can’t blame them really, it’s hot out usually, and where you got to go to work is way out there in the toolies where Haysoose lost his Ray-Bans, the saddle blanket is itchy, the saddle is heavy, not counting the cowboy that wants to sit on it, they stick a big old metal bit in your mouth so they can yank you all over the place, they want you to run around chasing after things, you got to work everyday, all day, with never a day off, so the horse usually just said “No” when asked to cooperate.

Cowboys hate to hear “No” so right away there was a problem. Faced with having to walk, and the resulting rolling around on the ground yelling and the embarrassment and all, they decided that they were going to convince the horse to help out, to do its part willingly. And there it was, the birth of the rodeo event, Saddle bronc riding.

You can see everything there is to know about Saddle bronc riding by looking at the image above. They put a saddle on the horse, no small feat in itself when the horse doesn’t want you to, they climb on and they ask the horse politely to cooperate. The horse usually declines and the resulting melee is what you see here. Sometimes the cowboy convinces the horse, other times the horse convinces the cowboy that he should ask another horse. Eventually though a compromise is reached.

This entire learning to cooperate with each other was so entertaining to bystanders, especially those who didn’t have to convince the horse it should be ridden, that soon cowboys and the spectators were getting together on a Sunday afternoon and doing this whole process for fun. The enjoyment spread and soon cowboy and horse were doing this all over the place. Out in the corrals, inside barns so they could get out of the sun, traveling around to different cities where some folks would pay money to see the process at work. They named these events rodeos and the rest is history. It became hugely successful and drew folks from every walk of life to watch Saddle bronc riding and other western activities, drink beer from paper cups, tell each other that they could do that if they had to, and watch cowgirls in tight jeans walk around the grandstands.

Now some of these cowboys and their horses don’t even do a job of work any more. They just drive from rodeo to rodeo in great big dually trucks pulling a 3 axle horse trailer behind them winning huge amounts of cash money for staying on their respective horses for 8 seconds. It ‘s become big business with all the resulting industries, like tight western jeans makers, silver belt buckle construction, cowboy boot makers, sno-cone machine builders, beer brewers, horse whisperers, cowboy whisperers, judges who never make mistakes like football referees do, great big humongous Jumbotron TV screen builders to see instant replays and scores, the list is endless.

Yeah the bull riding is exciting and all the other events show you the skills cowboys need to get their work done but at the heart of it all is the classic event, the one that made all this hoopla possible, Saddle Bronc riding. If you get a chance go see it at a rodeo near you. It’s worth the price of a ticket.

Red Chaps In The Sunset

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!



As we were sitting here planning our activity schedule for the rest of the summer it occurred to us that we had not checked in with our sister city, The Hampton’s, to see what they were up to this year. As you know we rarely spend any time there, and although we have few to none important ties with our neighbors on the East Coast, it’s always fun to see what the cousins are doing.

Now THEY have got a busy summer planned. You wonder how they find time to attend all these events let alone plan them. Here are just a few we’re sorry we can’t attend. In July alone there is the “Opening Day of Polo for the Monty Waterbury Cup”, “The 26th Annual American Picnic with Grucci Fireworks!”,  “The 28th Annual Garden Tour & Wine Tasting”, we took Aunt Pheeb and Uncle Skid to that one last year. That didn’t work out so well. “Cocktails at Holly Hall”, “The Midsummer Party at the Parish” That was black tie and all of ours were tie-died so we couldn’t get in. And the always rough & tumble anything goes “Annual Hampton Designer Showhouse Gala Preview Party” Man oh man, that’s one you gotta attend. Those guys really know how to throw a party. You pair up a wine sizzler with a watercress sandwich and you’ve got way too much excitement. I for one was glad they had security on hand that night. We were at it to nearly 10 o’clock before saying goodnight.

I know, right, how do you even compete with stuff like that. Then I had a thought, why not check our summer event schedule here in the West. Well, am I glad I did!. We got stuff going on. Out here lots of people keep horses as a part of their everyday life. They ride them, feed them, clean up after them and some even use them for work. So it’s not surprising that we should have organized events celebrating one of the symbols of the West. And by symbol I mean the horse. We call these events Rodeos and they take place all over the West. You can see one in small towns and large cities almost all summer long. It’s kind of like “The Season” as they call it in the Hampton’s and they’re very popular with people who like to drink beer, wear jeans with gigantic buckles and never take their hats off, unless they’re talking to a lady, or some one mentions John Wayne.

For instance, we have “Bring your Saddle Bronc to Work Day” where proud cowboys bring their favorite Saddle Bronc to work and show off some of their jumping skills. The cowboy’s jumping skills that is. The horse has to try and stay under him for 10 seconds or he loses and has to herd sheep for the next week.

We have one of my favorite parties of the year, the annual “Red Chaps at Sunset” event where they put red chaps on a cowboy then ask him to ride a horse that hates the color Red. This can make for some hilarious moments as the two of them work out their differences. It’s a cloud pleaser all right.

We also have big charity events where money is raised for many worthy causes. There is the “Ground Pounder for Mental Health” to name just one, a charitable event where sponsors sponsor a cowboy and his horse and pledge a certain amount of money for every time the horses hooves ‘pound the ground’. All monies raised are used to care for bull riders who have developed cognitive problems, or no longer can remember who they are, or need plastic surgery to remove the hoof print from their faces, or remove chunks of horn they didn’t get out at the clinic. It’s a worthy cause and many bull riders have benefited from their generosity. In fact new ones almost every time they try and ride bulls.

These are just a few of the things going on out here. I plan to visit more of them as the summer goes by and let you know all the terrific events we have. Now you don’t have to travel back to the Hampton’s to have summer fun. Stay right here, go watch Rodeo events, drink beer, and remember to take your hat off if anyone mentions John Wayne.