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Crazy Horse Ride 2008

CHR08 White Clay/Nebraska I´m sitting next to my lakota buddy Wayne Yankton, meanwhile the proud owner of a pickup and a horse trailer.

We´re taking our 5 horses from the pine ridge indian reservation down to Fort Robinson Nebraska. Our ambition is to participate on this years Crazy Horse Memorial Ride in honor of the legendary lakota leader Tashunka Witko (known as „Crazy Horse“ - or better: „His Horse is crazy“) and all native american veterans. Last year I gave this commitment to come back for the next ride - well here I am.

A thunderstorm is rolling in from southwest, the air is electified - the „Wakinyans“ or „Thunder Beings“ are with us.

This year my wife Stefanie and my 5 year old daughter Anais Lucia are joining me on the ride - both of them are quite exited. However they are not riding with us but provide my support team on four wheels

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We set up camp at Fort Robinson. I have some illustrative conversations with lakota elders and encounters with some aquaintances from last years ride. There´s a country rodeo going on in the nearby rodeo ground, but it doesn´t last that long tonite due to the nasty weather situation. My two ladies prefer to spend the night in the safety of our rental, while I´m trying to find some sleep in our little tent despite of heavy hail showers outside.

Again Rosie Freier - owner of the Singing Horse Trading Post in Manderson - is so kind to borrow me one of her lovely horses. This time it´s „Lucky Girl“ a 4 year old paint mare that was just broke in last autumn. She´s checkin me out the horse way - her dad was a professional bronc horse - which is amusing the lakota boys that would surely like to see the wasichu kissing the dirt. I am not giving them guys that pleasure and straight out things with my horse in a gentle but consistant way. The riding is wild like it used to be last year, but thanx to god we´re not having any severe injuries this time.

The fist riding day leads us about 35 miles to Chadron/Nebraska. It´s the worst leg because it´s mainly riding in the ditches. We spend the following night in the Chadron rodeo ground and proceed to Beaver Wall Camp the day after. This used to be one of the favorite summer campsides of Crazy Horse and his people.

The weather is getting worse now and local radio stations send out severe thunderstorm warnings while our campground turns into a muddy pit. There ain´t much singing and dancing those two nights because people pull back into their tents and trailers if they´re not drivin back home. Finally my girls end up doing the same. My daughter gets „the runs“ and I´m giving them a ride home to Manderson to come back on my own later on.

We´re in our saddles for about 9 hours all through the pouring rain at the fourth day. I´m completely soaked and sore, but proud and happy when we pull into pine ridge with about 160 riders.

Residents and the kid´s proud fathers and grandfathers stand along the roadside and show their honor and respect for the tired and wet but brave young warriors.

Pics & report: Andreas Baumann

 
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