By Rebecka Lyman, C & A Reporter
For the athletes attending the Oklahoma City’s Jim Thorpe Native American games, the event was about competing against their Native peers and paying tribute to one of America’s best athletes. Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members Ashley Rose Blackbear and Jandra Levi competed in different sporting events during the week of the games. Coach George Woods of the co-ed slow pitch team, LSC Bears, and the women’s fast pitch team, the Nebis, said Blackbear competed in the shot and disc throw for her age division U-11. She placed first in both events and took home two gold medals.Levi played with a U-14 girl’s basketball team from California called ITS All Stars.
“Levi’s team did not place but I am very proud of how well she played and I am also proud of Blackbear. Both girls were able to represent our tribe for our people,” Woods said. “The officials of the Jim Thorpe games have not decided if there will be games every year or every two years, but our softball teams will be attending it again when they do. I hope to see more of our tribal youth competing at the next games.”
The tribes’ adult softball team LSC Bears placed first, earning the team an engraved glass award and gold medallions for the teammates. Woods said the Nebis placed third and were given bronze medals for all the players. “They were so close to
playing for the championship but fell short each game by one run. They fought their way through the loser’s bracket to place
third,” Woods said.
The LSC Bears team members were 90 percent tribal members or employees from the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes’ Lucky Star Casinos. “The Bears did an awesome job during the tournament, they were the first team to win the Jim Thorpe games slow pitch co-ed championship games. For the girls who played on both teams, they did an outstanding job running back and forth playing game after game all day at the Saturday tournaments,” Woods said. “I was lucky to have them playing for me.”
Story courtesy of the C & A Tribal Tribune @ http://www.c-a-tribes.org/Websites/michaelwood/images/Newspapers/newspaper_2012/July_1_2012.pdf