New and old traditions celebrated over holiday weekend

Thursday, July 11, 2019
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Photo by Luella N. Brien

Junior Crow traditional dancer Westin Amyotte, 9, placed first in his dance contest category at the Valley of the Chief’s Fourth of July powwow in Lodge Grass last weekend. His regalia was made by his grandmother, Germaine Black Eagle and his beadwork belongs to his father Eric Morrison. “We are both very proud of Westin for dancing, we also have three others that participate, as well,” mother Beatrice Black Eagle said.

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Photo by Luella N. Brien

Paul Garrison (left) and Dan Willoughby compete in the cornhole tournament at the Fourth of July celebration in downtown Hardin last week. The barbeque and tournament were organized by Landa Uffelman as an event to bring locals out for a good time.

The city of Hardin has a new tradition.

The Fourth of July cornhole tournament and community barbeque, organized by Landa Uffelman, her family and a few friends, drew in nearly 400 people from Hardin and surrounding communities.

“The plan is to make this event annual,” she said. “This event is for local people, it feels like Little Big Horn Days is for the tourists and we needed something for the locals.”

Thirty-three teams entered the tournament to vie for their chance at $700 in prize money. In the end 1st place, $400.00 and trophies went to Don Lehman and Gary Lehman. Second place, and $200 went to Andrew Roundface and Justin Hugs. Greg and Deanna Devore took home third place and $100.

The event at the Plaza and the 200 block of Center Avenue in Hardin also included a barbeque, sponsored by the Hardin Vilunteer Fire Department and a beer garden sponsored by the 500 Club.

“The event seemed to run smoothly, I think it went well,” Uffelman said. “The firemen ran out of food and had to get more and the beer garden ran out of beer.”

Uffleman, who owns The Farmer’s Daughter General Store participates as much as she can in community events, because, she said, it’s important.

“I grew up in it,” she said. “You see how many people support you and you have to support them, too. Because no matter how much you put into (an event), it doesn’t work unless people participate.”

Organizers for the 31st annual Valley of the Chiefs Fourth of July powwow battled rain most of the weekend. Saturday there was an hour-long rain delay, Sunday the dancing moved to Lodge Grass Hall, but the space was too small so organizers returned to event to the outdoor arbor, said organizer Travis Reed.

Eventually, the powwow moved to Lodge Grass High School Monday.

This year, in addition to the powwow the city planned Lodge Grass Days, a series of community events that took place over the course of the weekend, including an arm wrestling tournament, organized by Amberle Blaine.

“I had 14 register and nine showed up to compete. I was very pleased with the outcome and plan on having a tournament every year for the celebration,” Blaine said. “It was fun and I had a lot of people approach me willing to donate prizes. I’ve had people tell me they’re willing to compete next year, too.”

Ron Laforge took home the first place prize after powering through the bracket in a tournament that lasted seven minutes.

“I opened (the tournament) to women, but only had three that were interested,” Blaine said. “I’m going to keep it open to women for next year, too. Hopefully now that they see it’s for real, more women will take interest and compete next year.”