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The Lightning Stick society captured the Sioux Falls Premier League Championship last week

All NATIVE team wins Sioux Falls PREMIER LEAGUE Lacrosse championship
Jun 16, 2017

By Rich Winter

Seven years ago when Sicangu Thunder Hawks coach Kevin ‘Hoch’ DeCora went to get  his first look at lacrosse, he and his kids’ met a group of similarly aged young men from Minnesota. 

Cansayapi, exactly, or as DeCora calls them, ‘The ones with the red sticks’ 

“We all started at the same time,” DeCora said. 

After years of seeing each other at camps and tournaments, the boys decided to join forces this season.

“At last year’s tournament we barely had ten guys and so we decided to combine them under the Lightning Stick Society,” DeCora said. 

And oh what a storm these young men cooked up.

In the opening round of the tournament the Lightning Stick Society defeated Brookings, 13-4.

In the semis they knocked off perennial power Rapid City Shock 16-15. 

Which set up a championship match with the Grand City Predators.

When the dust had settled the Lightning Stick Society ran together for a mid-field embrace following their 16-15 championship effort. 

Recently graduated Todd County senior Cassidy Bull Shows, a member of the team, got swept up in the mosh pit at midfield.

“It felt like nothing else mattered,” Bull Shows said.  “It was our moment of glory to know the hard work and dedication paid off and we were coming home with the trophy.” 


While the dub was great the championship better, the game of his ancestors will continue for Bull Shows as he embarks on a college lacrosse career at Immaculate University in Pennsylvania this fall. 


In visiting with Sicangu Thunder Hawks coach Kevin DeCora and Bull Shows for a newspaper article, both said the key to them winning was their spirituality. 


"As a family, which we are, we stayed together and always kept the game and the people togethe," Bull Shows said. "We Prayed, sang, and ate together. We knew what we wanted and who we were playing for. The sick, the old and our families at home, I guess you can say thats what kind of pushed us to make it as far as we did."
In only seven short years, Decora has helped built a program that rivals any in the state of South Dakota....And now he's sending kids off to college to continue this game that is so deeply rooted in Native American history...THAT'S AWESOME!
For this piece I only visited with DeCora and Bull Shows, but, I was delighted to be up at the middle-school track on Monday or Tuesday and see David Espinoza 11 out working on his game, all by himself, no one around...Just getting better. 
All across Facebook I saw pictures of Josh Iron Shell and Zane Hesse and others.
What a tremendous accomplishment from so many!
I asked Bull Shows a few questions about this game he has fallen in love with.
Blown away by the depth of his answers. 
"I love this game because I love playing for a bigger aspect than mysel. We all know football, basketball and Volleyball are all Team sport,  but its where the Roots strike with lacrosse that makes me love it," Bull Shows said. "It was played for health and to bring joy to the creator who watched us play the game. Long time ago ganes stretched miles and miles across. Nearly everyone played, its what brought us all together. So when people come together and to show the hard work that we went through, its where the love of the game comes in. These trophys are just achievements that come along with playing."
And then Bull Shows offered this up....
"I guess you can say that It made me proud to see people out there watchig us and making some of the commitments we did to get this far. I can never thank Franky Jackson, Hoch DeCora, Kip Spotted Eagle, or Unci Faith For introducing me to this game. My life has gotten alot better when you think about the things we originally played for, We just got to keep our heads on that all the time. Because sure you have the racist and ignorant people and remarks that come when we play, but they forget who had this game first...Native Anericans."
Was out of town when this story went down but gotta say I'm quite proud of everyone for this terrific accomplishment.
Hoch got this thing off the ground and his love of the game and his connection to it is clearly identifiable in the effort and talents of the kids he coaches.
CHAMPS....That's awesome!!!




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