Here is a NEWS FLASH: When visiting New Mexico in August you absolutely, positively must attend the 90th Inter Tribal Ceremonial. Make no mistake about this is truly one of New Mexico’s treasures and a full two days of watching, listening, learning, dancing, eating and enjoying!
We just attended the 89th and our friend, Executive Director, Terri Frazier, made our two days in Gallup nothing short of sensational. We started early Friday morning checking out the jewelry and other great items for sale in and around the convention center at Red Rock State Park. It was great to have a chance to talk with the artisans and learn how and why they make the things they make. I was mesmerized watching one lady meticulously weaving her rug, which she told me takes about six weeks at the rate of ½ inch per hour. No drawing or plan … just a vision she receives that tells her what to make!
After a foot long corn dog and the biggest order of hand cut curly fries I’ve ever seen (one order will feed 4-5 – we of course each had one!) we were off to the rodeo. This was an unexpected surprise. I have seen calf roping but this was my first face-to-face visit with bull riding … up close! Now these are some big bulls and nothing I would want to tackle athough our director, Chuck, said he’d give it a try (HA!) but really something to see.
The grand entry of over 200 ceremonially dressed Native Americans from all over the country was really a WOW event and the drumming and singing that went along with this was a wonderful way to sit down for a while and just enjoy the pageantry.
In the evening there are dance contests in the rodeo grounds that go for several hours all with a true Native American flare. Nothing better than sitting outside on a warm summer night under the stars watching these wonderful performers. I was flabbergasted that at 8pm the line of cars coming in was at least a mile long, if not longer! People coming from all over to witness the night time dancing and singing. Just spectacular!
Saturday morning was the big two hour parade. We thought getting there at 8am for a 10am start would be just right. What a surprise to find out that the streets were lined several people deep long before we arrived. This is an annual event that none of the locals want to miss, not to mention people from all over Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah and all regions of New Mexico. What’s not to love about a parade? You’ll love every moment!!
This is a grand march from beginning to end and with very few vehicles (reserved for politicians who don’t want to walk!) and something for everyone. Again, Native Americans in their traditional dress and dance costumes + a couple of wagons filled with the infamous Navajo Code Talkers from World War II. These men are held in the highest esteem and rightly so. Without them it is possible that the war in the Pacific would have had an entirely different outcome and one that would, possibly, have changed our lives. Very special men who deserve our honor and thanks!
After all of this we needed a couple good nights sleep and we found that at the Comfort Suites just about a mile from Red Rock State Park. Our host, General Manager Ken Riege, truly rolled out the red carpet. Initially I thought it was just for us, but alas, Ken and his staff roll this carpet out for each guest. I talked with several people over the great complimentary breakfast and everyone I spoke with felt exactly the same … a return trip to Comfort Suites is in their plans for 2011! Thanks, Ken, for a wonderful stay.
And thank you, Teri Frazier, for helping us bring the Inter Tribal Ceremonial to life for our TV and web watchers!
We’ll be back at Red Rock State Park next August. Check out www.theceremonial.com for more information. Dates for the 90th Ceremonial in August 2011 will be posted shortly.
And did I mention just how magical Red Rock State Park is? Guess you’ll just have to make a trip to Gallup and see it for yourself. Who knows … we may run into each other there. I’m going back and hope you’ll join me!