BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. -- Native American dancers from around the country got to strut their stuff this afternoon as part of the third-annual pow-wow at the Choctaw Coliseum and this year it was bigger than ever.
For one day, Native American culture was displayed through dance in Durant. Saturday’s pow-wow was titled “Feel the Thunder,” and those who attended did just that.
The coliseum had a revolving door of spectators and 400 dancers from different tribes around the nation were waiting inside to entertain with what pow-wow officials hope is one of the nation's biggest competitions.
"Each year we're getting better and better, and the word is going out, but ya, we are trying to you know, get as big as one of the bigger indian gatherings," said Bill Takes-Horst.
Participants say they love getting to re-connect with old friends and have a good time with fellow Native Americans.
"I really liked it, we stayed at the hotel last night, and uh, met some old friends, and just really had a good time, and the food, the people, the atmosphere itself is really great," said dancer Gordon Whitewolf.
Officials say that the pow-wow is a fun environment because contestants compete both to be the best they can be and to win some cash. This year over $50,000 in prize money will be given away. But still, participants and officials say the best part of the pow-wow is getting the chance to be part of it all.
"Seeing some old friends, uh, the music, and being able to get out there and dance as the creator intended us to do," said Takes-Horst.
"I have done several pow-wows and everything and they come and ask me and I was much honored to come and help them out,” said Whitewolf.
Organizers say they expect the pow-wow to be even bigger next year and that it will be held in the new Choctaw Arena.