A bump for the jump

(Virginia Costello photo) Pictured above, left to right: Ted Vore (VBJ Foundation Treasurer), Jackie Wyatt (VBJ Foundation), Glen Wyatt (VBJ Foundation Vice President), Jim Durfee (Sundance State Bank President), Trudy Durfee (Sundance State Bank Vice President), and Gene Gade (VBJ Foundation President)

By Sarah Pridgeon

Sundance State Bank this week donated $10,000 to the Vore Buffalo Jump, kick-starting construction that will see the site transformed into a comprehensive tourist destination. Work will begin immediately on the attraction’s finishing touches, ready for the 2013 summer season.

“We’re extremely grateful for this first step,” says Gene Gade, President of the Vore Buffalo Jump Foundation. “This simply couldn’t happen without Sundance State Bank’s support.”

The jump has been under construction for a couple of decades, Gade explains, with work being done on a piecemeal basis and a shoestring budget. The completed site will tell the story of the buffalo jump, while offering better facilities in pleasant-to-visit buildings.

“We have two main priorities,” says Gade. “Our most immediate need is to drill the well, after which we need a second building on the rim of the jump for exhibits, restrooms and so on.”

The new building will house exhibits divided into five distinct themes, the first of which will look at the landscape surrounding the Vore Buffalo Jump and explain what made it so attractive to Native Americans. The second will concentrate on the importance of the buffalo to the Native American population.

“The third will be about how to jump a buffalo,” continues Gade. “The techniques they used to round up the herd, the critical mass of animals that was needed, the drive systems they used and how the buffalo were then stampeded.”