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Blackfeet awarded $50k to restore rodeo arena

| July 1, 2022 12:00 AM

The Blackfeet Nation, the Chippewa Cree (Rocky Boy’s), and the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe will share $118,957 in Tribal Tourism Grants, the Montana Department of Revenue announced Thursday.

The Tribal Tourism Grant is a competitive grant program to help tribal venues related to the tourism industry emerge from the negative economic impacts of Covid.

“As Montana’s tourism industry continues to grow, it is crucial that our tribal communities are included in the same economic opportunities that come with the increase of visitors to our state,” said Commerce Director Scott Osterman. “These grants will generate revenue by enhancing the visitor experience to Indian Country while offering engaging cultural experiences for many people who visit these beautiful, historic regions of Montana.”

The Blackfeet Tribe will receive $50,000 for the restoration of the racehorse track and rodeo arena, and to expand bleacher seating.

The Chippewa Cree Tribe will receive $50,000 for the Chippewa Cree Tribe Powwow Grounds Enhancement Project.

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe will receive $18,957 for the new management of the Hell Creek Recreation Area’s website, booking system, and advertising campaign.

The Blackfeet and Chippewa Cree event venue improvement projects will address the sites where many community events are hosted, such as powwows and Indian relay races. The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has taken over management of the Hell Creek Campground from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and is renaming it Hell Creek Recreation Area.

Cheryl Reevis, Blackfeet Tribal Planning Director said, “The vision for the restoration of Charging Home Stampede Park Rodeo Arena and Horse Track is to draw competitors and fans from across Montana, Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We look forward to hosting Indian Relay and flat-track horse racing on the half-mile oval and to become a sanctioned site for the Indian National Finals Rodeo, Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association events, and other horsemanship activities with more seating.”

Eligible project categories include infrastructure, restoration or enhancement of event venues, or website development and advertising campaigns promoting a featured tourism destination within Montana. Successful grant applicants are required to meet 2:1 with matching funds.

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