Powwow ‘successful,’ but numbers down some

       The third annual Garden of the Gods/Rock Ledge Ranch Traditional Powwow was “very successful,” with about 30 tribes (several from out of state) and clear weather, but attendance was down a bit from last year, according to Ron “Red Badger” Wright, a Westside resident who was one of the volunteer organizers.

A blaze of whirling colors greeted onlookers during the Men's Fancy Grass dance at the third annual Garden of the Gods/Rock Ledge Ranch Traditional Powwow Sept. 24. The seven-hour event attracted participants and/or spectators from several other states and raised money for the ranch and the Colorado Springs Indian Center.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The total attendance for the seven-hour event in the hayfield near the Rock Ledge House was around 2,500, he said, compared with about 3,700 in 2011.
       Also, Wright estimated that several hundred of this year's attendees did not pay to get in (taking advantage of Rock Ledge's lack of security fences).
       The powwow is a fundraiser for the ranch, with three quarters of the gate income going to the facility and a quarter to the Colorado Springs Indian Center, which helped organize it. Both are non-profit organizations that rely heavily on donations and volunteers.
       In keeping with the format of a traditional powwow, the spotlight was on dancing, with support from three drum groups. A variety of dance types were scheduled, featuring dancers dressed in Indian regalia and performing non-competively.
       One future change that is again being considered is making the powwow a two- or three-day event, as it used to be in the Garden of the Gods until the late 1970s.
       A two- or three-day event would be more appealing to tribes and vendors, who have to travel a long ways, they pointed out. However, this would probably mean a lot of the travelers camping overnight at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, which so far the city has not approved.
       “We'll have to keep lobbying them and telling them how much tourist business we bring in,” Orner said.

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