BILLINGS - The All American Indian Shootout has been bringing high adrenalin basketball to Billings for 10 years, but this year it’s the cultural halftime show catching fans by surprise.
From dancing to dress to an inspirational talk from a television star, identity preservation and pride take center court this weekend at the shootout at the First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.
"Our main goal is empowerment," said Dy Anna Three Irons, the organization's administrative officer. "When they are introduced onto the floor, it's to promote a sense of belonging, a sense of identity."
Some of that empowerment happens during halftime of the games.
And this year it includes a Hollywood star.
Mo Brings Plenty from the hit show Yellowstone is speaking at the shootout, bringing a message aimed at Native athletes.
"It's called 'Boys with Braids,'" Three Irons said. "He has long hair and braids and he is more than honored to be here and be able to see all these kids. A few years ago there were boys living off the reservation (who) were being ridiculed, bullied for having braids, and they were boys and so they would be ashamed and it kind of became an awareness thing. It was to encourage the boys that braids are important, that's your identity."
For student-athletes, this is the perfect shootout to let their identity shine while entertaining the crowd with their famous fast breaks.
"It's really fast-paced and exciting," Three Irons said. "We had one spectator from Yakima, Washington. She heard about it, she came and she said she could not even get up to go get a drink because she didn’t want to miss anything."
Click here for an event schedule and ticket information.