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Powwow still draws crowds in 5th year; 2-day event possible in 2015

       The annual Intertribal Powwow Sept. 20 at the Garden of the Gods was a well-attended success for the fifth straight year.
       Exact numbers are not known because the event on the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site hayfield was not fully gated, resulting in many people walking in without paying. Ranch manager Andy Morris said that close to 1,200 tickets were sold, and Gene “Redhawk” Orner, a volunteer who helped plan the event, estimated that about 4,000 in all were on hand.
       Celebrating American Indian culture, the roughly six-hour gathering featured ceremonies, dancing, drumming, educational activities, live music and participation from about 30 tribes.
Jessica and Josh Maxey, from New York, perform during the mini-concert in front of the Rock Ledge House as part of an extension this year of the annual Intertribal Powwow at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Sept. 20.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Whatever the actual attendance, the fact that the Powwow has stayed popular over five years has left its volunteer planning committee hopeful that it can be expanded to two days in 2015.
       A step in that direction was the first-time mini-concert that followed the Powwow, according to Jim “Blackwolf” Ramirez, a member of the committee who, like Orner, has been involved with the event all five years. Starting at about 5 p.m., three short, amplified sets - one solo and two duets - were performed from a stage set up on a grassy area above a rock wall in front of the Rock Ledge House front porch. As it happened, most Powwow attendees had left by then, but Orner and Ramirez said that was mainly due to insufficient publicity, which they plan to correct next year.
       Finding concert performers apparently won't be a problem. Ramirez noted that during the Powwow several musicians, including some from outside Colorado, offered to play in the future. Partly for that reason, he said the evening concert could be extended next year as a kind of lead-in to a second day of activities.
       Another reason that's been talked about is that many of the participants travel a long way, so having a second day would make the long trip even more appealing.
       There is precedent for it. A three-day event, including competitive Indian dancing, was an annual affair in the Garden of the Gods in the 1970s, with the last one there in 1978.
       The current Intertribal Powwow is a fundraiser, with income from sponsors and gate receipts, which are shared between Rock Ledge Ranch and local Indian groups.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 9/23/14; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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