The second annual and recently named “Lyle Anderson Sr. Smoke Dance Competition” got under way last Sunday at Plank Road One Stop, just south of Caledonia. This year’s competition saw a large increase in not only spectators but dancers as well. According to one organizer, there were over 100 registered dancers. Around 400 spectators circled the dancing grounds which also included food booths as well. Cars overflowed onto the roadway and were backed up for miles.
Before the event commenced, a commemorative plaque was presented to the family of Lyle Anderson Sr. who passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 35. Anderson was a renowned smoke dance competitor and played a pivotal role in doing his part in keeping social songs and ceremonies alive. The plaque was presented by event organizer Derek Sandy who also gave a special shout-out to Nolan ‘Obes’ Hill who graciously offered the grounds for the competition and donated prize money as well.
The Smoke Dance Competition which was traditionally held at the annual Grand River Pow wow was taken out of the lineup a couple of years ago after it was decided by the Pow Wow Committee that the competition would always bring rain to the pow wow. Last year local businessmen Derek Sandy and Nolan Hill, along with Cam Hill decided to keep the tradition alive and hold it at a different venue.
Last year it rained briefly just as the competition got underway but even that didn’t scare away spectators or participants. After a brief downpour, a beautiful rainbow appeared above the grounds and stretched from north to south, as if touching the ground on both ends. People exited their vehicles and made their way back to the dancing grounds where the competition got underway, rain-free, for the rest of the evening. This year the weatherman called for rain all weekend. It briefly rained on Saturday and luckily the rain held off on Sunday evening. Just as the last category, Golden Age, completed their competition, the thunder came roaring in, followed by a huge downpour.
Not much was asked of the dancers from the event organizers other than that the participants wear traditional Haudenosaunee regalia, and aside from competing in their respective categories, that they also participate in the social songs as well which were held between each age category. Event emcee Lotunt Honyust then kicked off the event with the short version of Ganohonyohk and also introduced each social song in the language as well.
Hands down, the most entertaining category to watch was Teen Boys (13-17) as singer Cam Hill paused throughout the song which gave competitors a chance to show off their best signature moves before the beat resumed. You can watch a short video of this on the Two Row Times website. The audience whooped and applauded as the competitors in this category displayed their best dancing moves, each one staying precisely on beat.
This years winners for the 2014 Lyle Anderson Sr. Smoke Dance Competition are:
Jr. Girls 6-12:
1st: Grace Anderson,
2nd: Chooch Jonathan,
3rd: Caye John, 4th: Laniya Antone.
Jr. Boys 6-12:
1st: Cam Hill Jr.,
2nd: Sakokwilanyani Elijah,
3rd: Dodie Shenandoah,
4th: Roland Jimerson.
Teen Girls 13-17:
1st: Marissa Anderson,
2nd: Hannah Jaeckle,
3rd: Shirley Hill,
4th: Dana Isaacs.
Teen Boys 13-17:
1st: Frank Wesaw,
2nd: Keelan Green
3rd: Gutch Salinas,
4th: Shane Cameron.
Adult Women 18-49:
1st: Keysa Parker, 2nd: Emily Regis
3rd: Cecilia Sky, 4th: Kanyatha Ireland.
Adult Men 18-49:
1st: Jake George, 2nd: Matt Myke, 3rd: Eddie Santiago, 4th: Jacob Adam Skye.
Golden Age Women 50+:
1st: Lisa Parker,
2nd: Brenda Mitten, 3rd: Darlene Jonathan
4th: Ada Doxtator.
Golden Age Men 50+:
1st: Al George.
Event organizer Derek Sandy wishes to thank Nolan Hill and family for sponsoring the smoke dance. “It was his idea last year to hold the event so we want to express our greatest gratitude to them. A big thank you also to Cam Hill, Brian General and Lotunt Honyust for their time and also to all the volunteers for their help. We hope everyone had a great time and we’ll see ya’ll next year,” said Sandy.
To view the teen boys Smoke Dance category follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW7BxIEsJMk