The commercials have aired, the overtime played out, Lady Gaga’s gone home and the ticker tape is all cleaned up from the parade in Boston. For most of the country, the Super Bowl won’t re-enter minds until 2018. But for one hopeful Ho-Chunk entrepreneur and a team of traditional beaders, Super Bowl LII will loom large through the next few months. Collin Price of B-Team Strategy in Tomah, Wisconsin, has made it his goal to deliver 10,000 to 15,000 Native beaded Super Bowl lanyards to the 2018 big game.
He’s put the call is out across Indian country for volunteers to join the Warm Welcome Lanyard Project.
Price wants to deliver the Super Bowl lanyards to the 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee to give to the players, media, VIP attendees and others at Super Bowl LII at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Price’s idea was inspired by scarves done by volunteer knitters when the Super Bowl was held in Indianapolis in 2012. Collin asked himself, “What would be representative of Indian country and the region that was something cool and unique?”
He approached theMinnesota Super Bowl Host Committee with the idea of beaded lanyards and won approval.
“We hope that it will make a special memory not only for the person who creates the lanyard, but for the recipient, reported Andrea Mokros, vice president of Communications and Events for the committee.
The committee agreed to provide the materials from a beading store in Minneapolis, but Price must find volunteer beaders who commit to do at least five Super Bowl lanyards. The benefit for beaders, Price said, is that they can include their business card in the box with the lanyard given to the Super Bowl VIPs and he hopes to get booths for some of the beading artists at the activities during the week leading up the the event.
The next step for Price was to learn to bead and he found a willing teacher and a project partner, Josephine Lee, the museum director of theHo-Chunk Nation, who is using the opportunity to gather tribal members on Monday craft evenings to learn about beading as a tradition and to make a few Super Bowl lanyards along the way. “It’s been a cool experience, my mom beads, a lot of my relatives bead,” said Price
“I had no idea what a ‘hank” is,” Price joked about the collected strings of beads for sale. He says Lee has been his “beacon of wisdom.”
Lee and Price on a wrapped beading technique, the difference between a couple hours for each wrapped lanyard vs. 20 hours of work on a loom.
“Once you really kind of teach the basic skill set, after the first one, it’s a breeze,” said Lee, a practiced beader.
About 10 people, elders to elementary school children, have shown up on Mondays to learn or share beading techniques on the Ho-Chunk Nation to work on the Super Bowl lanyards. Lee also plans to use the gatherings to teach traditional crafts, from “paaxge” beadwork to finger-woven yarn belts to black-ash baskets.
“We’re really trying to foster a sense of community,” Lee said. “This lanyard project makes it interesting. … It’s how we pass on knowledge”
To finish the 10,000-15,000 Super Bowl lanyards by Super Bowl LII kick-off time. Price has been seeking, and receiving, volunteers from around Indian country, all the way to California and into Canada. More than 50 have offered to do the minimum of five lanyards, with materials provided by the Super Bowl Host Committee from a beading store in Minneapolis. “We’re really targeting the tribes in the region,” Price said.
The entrepreneur hopes to parlay the volunteer beadwork into useful contacts for the beaders. They can place business cards in each box with a lanyard. He also is asking the host committee to allow some beaders, especially the professional artists, to showcase their work at the stadium in the booths the week before the event.
“We’re so early in the process, a lot of things haven’t really been fleshed out,” Price said. “It’s an awesome platform to show their work.”
Working with the host committee, he also is encouraging as much Native presence as possible, from the food being offered to maybe even a nod to Native culture during the halftime show. “They would never know if we didn’t ask,” Price said of lobbying the committee.
The host committee is committed to include Native nations as it highlights Minnesota and the region, Mokros reported. “We are planning a 10-day festival leading up to Super Bowl LII. While we are still too early in the planning to talk specifics, we are very excited to use this as a way to showcase what we call the ‘Bold North,’ our uniquely Minnesota way of life. Native culture plays a strong role in the fabric of our state, and we look forward to showcasing it as part of our Bold North festival.”
Price has practice acting as a go-between for tribes and sports events through his company, B-Team Strategy. He’s helped to connect tribal sponsors with high school, college and pro sports teams. “I had a pretty good part in bring the Wisconsin badgers to the Ho-Chunk nation,” Price said.
“We would ideally like to get a tribe involved as a founding partner,” added Price, who praised the host committee as “a handful of local business leaders, community leaders; they are rock stars in their field.”
The budding beader also made one final commitment, a promise (maybe a bet) with Museum Director Lee, for the number of Super Bowl lanyards he’ll contribute.
Despite admitting just a few weeks ago he had trouble threading a needle, Price confidently predicted, “I plan on cranking out 100.”
Warm Welcome Lanyard Project:https://www.bteamstrategy.com/lanyard-project/
Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee:https://www.mnsuperbowl.com/