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Will You Be Visiting the ‘Teepee Capital of the World’ this Weekend?

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown August 13th, 2014 Last Updated on: August 13th, 2014

The Annual Crow Fair Celebration is one of the largest gatherings of the year for the Apsaalooke Nation and is considered the largest modern day American Indian encampment in the Nation. Deemed the “Teepee Capital of the World” because of the approximately 1,200 to 1,500 teepees in the encampment during the one week of celebration that the Crow Fair is happening.

CNN reporter Sheena McKenzie took a closer look at how the horse plays a role at the event.

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

A mini metropolis of teepees sprawls across the parched plains, and in the early hours of the morning the first to rise are the children.

They have an important job to do.

“We'd wake up in those teepees, and we were pretty happy to slip the bridles off the horses and ride bareback to the river,” remembers Jim Real Bird, today a man of 58.

“We'd take the horses to the river to drink water — that was our first job as young boys.”

Each August, the rolling hills surrounding Little Big Horn River in Montana are transformed into the “teepee capital of the world,” with over a thousand tents and hundreds of horses converging for the Crow Fair and Rodeo.

Started over a century ago in 1904, the four-day festival is one of the largest gatherings of Native Americans in the country, with spectacular traditional costumes casting a luminous kaleidoscope of color beneath a brilliant blue sky.

It's also an important training ground for the next generation of rodeo stars.

“It's one of the largest Indian rodeos within the United States of America,” explained Real Bird, who today teaches youngsters how to hold on for dear life in the arena.

“We've had quite a few young Indian men that have ridden here, gone into professional rodeo, and become world champions.”

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

But it's not just your usual rodeo fare. The popular and exciting Indian Relays are also a featured event. As explained in the documentary of the same name, “each race begins with up to eight athletes riding bareback around a track at full gallop. After one lap, barely slowing down, the riders leap from their speeding horses to a second set of horses. Each team’s handlers must then catch the first horse or risk being disqualified, creating a chaotic melee of 32 people and 24 race horses in the middle of the track. After another top-speed lap and another daring horse change, the teams race for the finish line at speeds topping 40 miles an hour.”

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

Photo via Montana Office of Tourism

So will you be attending the Crow Fair? We can't wait to see your pictures!

Rodeo and Racing will start at 1:00 PM daily Thursday – Sunday, August 15-17
Parade will start at 10:00 AM daily Friday – Sunday, August 15-17, 2014
Pow-wow will start at 6:00 PM daily Thursday – Sunday, August 14-18, 2014

Crow Agency is located 60 miles south of Billings, Montana off of I-90.


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Will You Be Visiting the ‘Teepee Capital of the World' this Weekend?

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.



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Felicia Riley

Email 2015 flyer when ready so I can attend and camp! Thank you!

cheryl

Crow Fair holds some beautiful memories………
the strongest one…..
topping the hill, looking down into the camp grounds…….
teepees standing, the young riding horses…many bare back, camp fires, elders welcoming family into their camp, more young and some old at the river
all preparing for Grand Entry……..
and most predominant memory of all…….
the Beat of the Drum
you can feel it, grabs your soul, fills your heart
like stepping back into a better time

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