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When's the last time you saw dancers share the stage with an alligator wrestler? Probably around the same time you viewed an art exhibit outside a rodeo ring. And if you're familiar with the annual Seminole Tribal Fair and Rodeo, chances are you'll be experiencing it all again this week.

For the 34th year, the Seminole Okalee Indian Village brings in hundreds of tribes from across the continent to partake in the four-day powwow. Festivities range from snake shows to competitions in dance, drums, clothing, and arts and crafts. And, of course, a little gator grapplin' courtesy of Mike Bailey, the village's head handler, whose methods probably run counter to what you've learned from watching the brain surgeons on MTV's Wild Boyz.

The dances are a mix of the old (the straight dance) and the new (the fancy dance -- really!). The fancy dance is faster-paced and less theatrical than its generational predecessor, in which the dancer moves like he's out hunting deer. Oh, but hunting is so barbaric! Relax, Lisa Simpson, and remember -- the dance recalls a time when hunting was about survival, not chalking up another trophy to show off at the Moose Lodge. Besides, you don't have to be a fancy-dancer to get hold of all that feathery gear; there are plenty of vendors peddling their wares, from silver jewelry pieces to pottery, beadwork, patchwork, and leather. For those who want to see a little ropin' and gropin', swing on by the Bill Osceola Memorial All-Indian Rodeo, named for the rebellious Seminole leader who was captured only after the U.S. Army lied about a truce.

And if you've got an extra hundred buffalo chips lyin' around, check out Thursday's Native American Music Awards at the casino. If not, there's still a totem pole of other American Indian goodies to check out. Only a Chief Lazy Ass would stay home.

The 34th Annual Seminole Tribal Fair and Rodeo takes place Thursday, February 10, through Sunday, February 13, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5763 Seminole Way, Hollywood, and Bergeron Rodeo Grounds, 4271 Davie Rd., Davie. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 12, and are free for age 5 and under. Call 954-797-5582.

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Jason Budjinski

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