HUNGRY VALLEY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — The main event of any Native American pow wow is the dancing.
But for one group of attendees at the 30th annual Numaga Indian Days Pow Wow in Hungry Valley, when the dancing ended Saturday, the games were just beginning.
Over 100 people from states as far as Montana participated Saturday in the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony hand game tournament.
Winston Sam, the hand game boss, said Native Americans have been playing the gambling game for thousands of years.
"It's played with 10 sticks and two sets of bones and it is a guessing game," Sam said. "You keep on trying to hide from the other team and while you're hiding (the bones), you're singing a song to try to throw the other team off."
Sixteen different teams of 2-5 players played in Friday's tournament, which lasted until Saturday morning at 5 a.m. Sam said Saturday's tournament will likely also last until Sunday morning. The first-place winner takes home $5,000.
"A long time ago they would play for material things like food or tools or things they would need in their daily lives," Sam said. "But now we play a lot for money."
The second-place team will win $2,500, the third-place team earn $1,100 and the fourth-place team will take home $300.
But more valuable than the $5,000 purse is getting the younger generations involved in an ages-old Native American tradition.
"I'm really glad that all the different tribes in Nevada are starting to bring it back more and more," Sam said. "It's bringing us back to our roots and our culture. It's really good for our children, it's really good for our communities and it's really good for our generations as well."