Oki, people of the Blackfeet Nation and community members. It has taken some time for me to write about the exciting events that happened to our Boxing Club and Youth Center.
We attended the Indian Nationals held in Ft. Belknap June 2-4. It was a very exciting to say the least. We are one of the biggest amateur boxing teams in Montana, with over a dozen boxers registered.
The event on Friday was a real barn burner. First up was our boxer Kakoda Good Gun against Mason Hoops of Billings Elite BC. It was an exhibition bout and Kakoda’s first fight; he worked with Mason but got the win.
Our second warrior was Sheldon Meineke against Ronald Dupuis. It was a brawl, but we did not get this win.
Our third warrior was Wyatt Meineke, but his opponent was just too big. We did not get the win, but it was close.
Our next warrior was River Blu Boggs at 141 lbs and only 11 fights. He is one of three senior boxers we have. He boxed a top ranked fighter out of 3 Nations -Sam Hale. River’s style and finesse looks so much like Thomas “the Hit man” Hearns at his best. River Blu gave Hale all he wanted and then some, and the bout could have gone either way. We did not get it, but River Blu got respect.
Our next warrior was Jance Eagle Feather for the 2022 Montana State Golden Glove Championship against a tough boxer out of Barrio BC - Melisio at 161 lbs. This bout was a fight for the championship from beginning to end. Jance began to waiver in the second round. I as a coach yelled for him to pour it on. His coaches, Rod Sellars and Mario McCullough, were in the fray too. Jance found his second wind and those two fought. The third round was who wanted it more, and it was Jance Eagle Feathers, the 161-pound 2022 Montana State Golden Glove Champion.
I could not talk well due to being hoarse from yelling after this bout, but my fighter heard me.
Our last two bouts were Dante Sure Chief fighting James Charbonneau CBM. It was close. Dante is tough with a bright future ahead, but we did not get this win.
Our next warrior was Talon Ulrich at 151 against a Billings Barrio boxer, Louis Salinas. Talon’s fast hands and moves had the fight, but he was injured two weeks before, after a fall to his ribs. That Salinas caught him in the ribs twice. We stopped it at the end of the second round. Talon was disappointed; he is a tough kid.
The second night of competition was even more bouts, including Devin Running Crane against a CBM boxer. It was Devin’s first bout, and we felt he got a bad decision, so we did not get this win.
Kokata Good Gun fought a top-rated boxer out of CBM and gave his opponent all he wanted but did not get the win. It was close.
Sheldon Meineke also had a questionable decision against Rock Hound BC. Sheldon is a brave and tough kid.
Our next warrior was Roman Old Chief against CBM. Roman dominated this bout, and he took a great win. I was so proud of him.
Our next warrior was River Blu Boggs against the boxer who stopped Talon, Luis Salinas, but River’s style and hard hits stopped him 1:52 in the second round, River yelled, that one was for you, Talon. Our teams come together, and I am so proud of River Blu. I look to hear about him next year and maybe in the pro ranks.
Our team received the Montana State Indian Nationals Team Trophy. We were so happy and proud to have it presented it by Coach Warniky Hoops and his son, Richard.
It has been really tough getting our youth center off the ground, with people holding and stopping the Tribal Resolution process. I’ve been collecting pool tables, arcade games and basketball hoops for when we open for our Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club Youth Center in which prevention programs will be created.
It will be different from anything you’ve seen before. You will earn to be a part of this exciting program by doing community service. Grandparents raising their grandchildren will work with us to ensure the children they are raising are helping them with yard work and chores, and we will ensure that is done, as well as all participants in the Youth Center.
We hope to create leather work and dance outfits for powwows for kids who can’t afford them. It will be our own place for boxing events and just a place for kids to hang out and have fun.
I have so many dreams for them in our community. I have finally received my 2021 Stuart Scott Humanitarian Award Muhammad Ali Viceroy Trophy. It was an ESPN Humanitarian Sports award.
This will be my last year as a boxing coach. Rod Sellars is now lead trainer and manager with the Boxing Club, and Mario McCullough is his right hand man.
We will now work on our Youth Center, me and Ember, who is overall General Manager of the Boxing Club and Youth Center. It has been a wonderful 20 years as face of amateur boxing here in Browning, and when it started I could never done it without Emmet, Thomas, Glen, my dad, Donald Kipp, and my wife and children.
I have survived a lot in my tenure, cancer, heart problems, TBI and knee replacement surgery. Battling for this boxing club has allowed me to take things slower while I heal. I am supercharged for our future Youth Center and promoting the Boxing club. I want to save as many young people as I can with the grace of God to battle meth, alcohol, suicide, low self- esteem and bullying, and by God we’re going to get it.
A huge shout to all our supporters: Blackfeet Tribal leaders and Tribal Health, Ping Stiffarm, Blackfeet Housing and our families who traveled to support us.
We are at the jumping off spot for our 501c3, a shout to Tom Rogers for his belief in us, and watch us then; the sky will be the limit. May God bless everybody and watch what we do in the future for our community.