Lakota dancers spin, swirl, and tap their way through the powwow–or wacipi in Lakota–to win prizes, honor their culture, and show off their colorful, heavily decorated outfits. When you aren’t watching the mesmerizing dancers, attendees can see a rodeo, horse races, the parade, a fishing derby, horse shoe tournament, carnival, hand drum contest, vendors, and more!
On the first weekend of August every year, the annual Oglala Nation Powwow & Rodeo is held in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Pine Ridge is the headquarters of the Oglala Lakota tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The town is located near the South Dakota/Nebraska border and is about 100 miles south of Rapid City.
Dancers decorate their cars with quilts, signs, costumes, and even taxidermic animals and drive through the streets of Pine Ridge and throw candy to the families gathered along the sidewalks. Children know to bring bags to carry candy from the over one hundred cars! Several dozen horseback riders follow in the parade.
Vendors line the outskirts of the powwow area. These booths sell anything from jewelry to carnival food to beaded knick knacks. For the adventurous, there are some unique culinary offerings available like deep fried Oreos, deep fried candy bars, and doughnut burgers–burgers with a doughnut instead of a bun.
Near the powwow grounds is a carnival with plenty of fun, adrenaline-pumping rides. There are food vendors selling fair food and entertaining carnival game booths, as well.
Whether eating a doughnut burger, watching the decorated dancers, or cheering on cowboys in the rodeo, the annual Oglala Nation Powwow & Rodeo is wholesome fun for the whole family!