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Richard Real Bird at a rodeo in Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1957. Photo: REAL BIRD BUCKING HORSES
Richard Realbird: A Crow
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

As detailed in a story in this issue, there was a benefit held in Sheridan, Wyoming, raising money to help Richard Real Bird in his continuing battle against cancer.

Though Richard is a Crow, he counts many Northern Cheyenne as his good friends. So, I share some Cheyenne stories about this remarkable fellow, 80 and still going strong. For among our people, teasing, telling funny stories and laughing with one another is a form of affection, especially among cowboys who generally get tongue-tied when it comes to expressing affection.

The Real Bird clan has cut quite a swath in Indian Country, especially the horse world. Richard is now the oldest of five surviving siblings (two others have gone on the Next Camp) and these family members have all made their marks in Indian Country, standing strong together as a family.

Just a great day and wanted to share with my relatives who couldn't make it and ya'll. So happy for my brother Richard….

Posted by Rhea Real Bird on Sunday, September 27, 2020

Richard is a long-time working cowboy; saddle bronc rider, racehorse trainer, rodeo announcer, and well know Crow War Dancer. He even was Tribal Chairman, ever a sticky proposition. Henry aka Hank became a teacher, he and his wife teaching for many years at the Busby School.

Henry is also an accomplished cowboy poet, performing at many national venues, thus far the only Indian to be selected for the prestigious position as Montana State Poet Laurette. Kennard and James are both active in the horse world, producing Indian Bucking horses, relay teams, training racehorses and are well-known colorful announcers, offering thrilling, interesting and funny commentary, much beloved by fans, Indian and non-Indian alike.

Finally, the only sister “Birdie”, a retired teacher is an accomplished bead worker, many of her pieces, especially dolls featured in the Smithsonian and coveted by collectors world-wide. And, their children and grandchildren have also done well, including Wacey Real Bird, for example who is ramrodding the benefit. He also competes, even at the pro level as a team roper and dogger.

To sum it up, they are formidable force across Indian Country.

Richards’ Crow name translates to “Horse that Sits”, which I find a little bit funny because every Real Bird horse I’ve ever seen has been running pell-mell around the track or whirling and leaping like a demon at rodeos. Like all Indian names there must be a story behind it, which would be interesting to know.


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Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: Richard Realbird: A Crow

Clara Caufield can be reached at

Note: Copyright permission Native Sun News Today