Contest Powwow set for Aug. 17-19 at Uyxat Powwow Grounds

Contest Powwow set for Aug. 17-19 at Uyxat Powwow Grounds

If you go

Grand Ronde Contest Powwow

When: Grand entries at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17; 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18; and 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19.

Where: Uyxat Powwow Grounds, 9600 S.W. Hebo Road.

Cost: Camping, $5 with parking; parking, $1 a day or canned food; weekend passes, $3.

More information: 503-879-2037.

By Dean Rhodes

There’s one attraction from last year’s Grand Ronde Contest Powwow that organizers cannot replicate no matter how hard they try.

A total solar eclipse.

The 2017 Grand Ronde Contest Powwow was one of the better attended in years, attracting 275 dancers competing in 26 dance categories.

Isabelle Grout dances a jingle dress dance during the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Contest Powwow held at Uyxat Powwow Grounds last August. (Smoke Signals file photos)

Attendance burgeoned from 2016’s total and organizers credited several things – renowned host drum Blackstone, increased prize money and the eclipse, which occurred the day after the powwow’s conclusion. Attendees were allowed to stay overnight at Uyxat Powwow Grounds to watch the early-morning celestial event.

Besides the eclipse, however, the 2018 edition of the Contest Powwow will be very familiar to Tribal members and contestants alike.

More than $50,000 in prize money will be danced for thanks to the adult dance categories remaining in junior adult and senior adult sub-categories. Junior adults are 18 to 35 years of age and senior adults are dancers between 36 and 54 years of age.

Other dance categories include juniors (6-12), teen (13-17), junior golden age (55-64) and senior golden age (65 and older). This is the first year that the golden age category also has been split based on age.

Dance prizes range from $1,000 for first place in the adult categories to $25 for taking fifth in the junior dance categories.

Head staff for this year’s Contest Powwow includes master of ceremonies Bart Powaukee (Ute), arena director Fred Ike Jr. (Yakama), head dance judge Charlie Tailfeathers (Cree/Blackfeet) and head drum judge Chase Sayer from Saskatchewan, Canada.

Cree Confederation will be the host drum and drums will compete for $22,000 in prize money with the best drum taking home an $8,000 prize.

Specials will include an old style jingle dance sponsored by the Native Wellness Institute of Gresham that has a $1,000 first-place prize with three $200 consolation prizes; a junior and teens team dance sponsored by the Grand Ronde Youth Council with a $75 first-place prize; a round bustle/chicken dance with an $800 first-place prize; and an old-style grass dance also with an $800 first-place award.

The Tribe’s Education Committee will be hosting its annual School Is Cool dance special for K-12 dancers who are wearing regalia or not. Everyone will receive a prize.

A shuttle will be available from Spirit Mountain Casino to the powwow grounds and people are asked to not display gang affiliation or bring drugs, alcohol or weapons to the event.

And don’t look directly at the sun! There is no eclipse this year.