The 25th annual Crazy Horse Ride from Fort Robinson State Park to Pine Ridge began Monday with the riders following the Crazy Horse Highway to Chadron, where they spent the night at the Dawes County Fairgrounds.
Ride founder and organizer Bam Brewer says the event honors veterans and Crazy Horse, the legendary Sioux warrior who was killed at Fort Robinson.
89 riders of all ages reached downtown Chadron about 8:15 PM Monday, some having ridden all the way from Fort Robinson and others joining or rejoining on the outskirts of the city.
The Crazy Horse Riders are normally welcomed by good numbers of local residents, but a breakdown in communication resulted in no advance word and few members of the general public on hand – although the local Native American community was out in force.
Leading the procession were flagbearers and a riderless horse. Brewer says that after about a decade of the ride, a Lakota spiritual leader said Crazy Horse had spoken to him in a dream and asked that the riders bring him a horse.
The result was the Spirit Horse, who both honor’s the dream request and helps with the spiritual healing of veterans.
For a long time, the Ride traveled from Chadron to Hay Springs on Hwy 20, then used county roads to reach Beaver Valley for a rest day, but in recent years followed county roads northeast out of Chadron to camp west of Pine Ridge.
Wednesday will remain as a day of rest and reflection. On Thursday, additional riders are expected to join the final leg to Pine Ridge for the 35th annual All Veterans Gathering and Pow Wow, which runs through the weekend.