The 14th annual Crazy Horse Ride at Fort Robinson begins on Monday, June 6, which this year will dedicate a portion of the U.S. Highway 20 from Fort Robinson to Hay Springs as the Crazy Horse Memorial Highway. The highway, much like the annual horseback ride, commeroates the revered Oglala Sioux war chief, who was was a leader of men in many battles before he died at Fort Robinson on September 5, 1877.
Charles “Bamm” Brewer, Oglala Lakota, told Indian Country Today Media Network, “this is probably the biggest trail ride in Nebraska and South Dakota, with between 150 and 200 riders participating. The horses are usually a quarter horse mixed with War Spirit. That’s what I called the breed here.”
Beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Fort Robinson’s parade grounds, a dedication ceremony will take place, including the smudging of horses and riders. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman will be on hand to speak to the gathering and help unveil the Crazy Horse Memorial Highway sign. After comments and a blessing from John Yellow Bird Steele, chairman of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and comments from Spiritual Leader Wilmer Mesteth and Crazy Horse Ride Elder Mel Lone Hill, both Oglala Lakota, riders will leave for their four-day ride, their first overnight stop in Chadron, Nebraska.
“The first day is 30 miles,” Brewer told us, “the second day is an 18-miler,” which takes the riders to the Beaver Valley/Crazy Horse camp, north of Hay Springs, where a Youth Dedication Ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m on June 8. This area holds special significance for the Oglala, as it’s rumoed that after his death at Fort Robinson, Crazy Horse’s parents took his body to the Beaver Valley area and buried him there.
The final stop for the riders will be at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, on the Oglala Sioux Reservation, where the riders will attend the All Veterans Powwow, a fitting final stop. “We do this ride every second week of June to honor both Crazy Horse and our veterans,” Brewer told us. The public is invited to attend both ceremonies and watch the riders as they make their pilgrimage.