DURANT,OK -- The Chief of the Choctaw Nation formally retired Thursday in front of a large group of friends.
"You know I like to watch "Lonesome Dove" and there's a saying right at the end and he says well it's been a great ride." said Pyle.
A great ride spanning more than 40 years. Thursday morning the Chief of the Choctaw Nation Gregory Pyle hung up his saddle for good as he formally retired from his position.
Choctaw natives, Durant residents and local and regional officials all gathered to honor the man who's served as chief for 17 years and Assistant Chief for 13 years before that.
"I feel really good, but at the same time sad." said Pyle.
Children of the Choctaw nation sang some spiritual songs and Choctaw natives performed some sacred tribal dances not only in honor of Chief Pyle's legacy but also to celebrate his 65th birthday.
"I'm losing a friend that has been near and dear to my heart for 27 years." said Gary Batton.
Assistant Chief Gary Batton will be stepping into Pyle's shoes and says the chief will forever be his mentor.
"I think chief Pyle has established a wonderful foundation for us to really propel into the future." said Batton.
"You just feel really good about coming out here and working, the future I think is great for us and Southeast Oklahoma." said Pyle.
Choctaw Nation officials say, since Pyle took office, the Choctaw Nation has seen large growth in many areas and he says he's certain that positive growth will continue, but he says he's ready to move in a different direction now; slowing down and spending a lot of time with his grandchildren.
"Gonna buy, already have a camper, but a little pontoon boat, draw up, get out and go out there and go out on the lake." said Pyle.