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FSU’s Osceola and Renegade come to Brighton

By Allen Durham

BRIGHTON — In tribute to the unconquered people of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, my father, Bill Durham, an alumnus of Florida State University, created the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry – a Florida State University student portraying the great Seminole warrior, Osceola, planting a flaming spear astride a horse named Renegade.

In 1977, my father met with Chairman Howard Tommie at the Reservation to seek permission for the portrayal of Osceola at Florida State University. He was greatly honored to receive the Tribe’s support, and the tradition began in 1978.

The Tribe provided the first regalia for the portrayal of Osceola and still works with us to this day, more than 30 years later. Most recently, Tribal member Moses Jumper Jr. graciously provided us with a set of moccasins to add to our regalia received from the Tribe.

My father promised Chairman Tommie that the Pageantry would be conducted with great dignity and respect. To that end, the student who portrays Osceola is carefully selected.

The individual must maintain good grades, complete an essay on their desire to play the role, read about the life and impact of Osceola and have extensive experience riding horses, among other criteria.

Further, the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry is not associated with outside sponsors or companies other than Florida State University or the Seminole Tribe of Florida; also, Osceola and Renegade do not conduct any appearances other than at the Florida State University home football games, the annual FSU Homecoming Parade, FSU Fan Day and occasional bowl games or neutral site games.

Recently, we made a very special exception to our policy of no outside appearances. During the fall of 2011, I had the great pleasure to meet Brighton Council Rep. Andrew J. Bowers Jr.; Hollywood Board Rep. Chris Osceola; Hollywood Council Rep. Marcellus Osceola Jr.; Tribal member Moses Jumper Jr.; Special Assistant to Chairman James E. Billie, Norman Bowers; and several other members of the Tribe when they attended a Florida State University home football game.

Norman Bowers asked if we could bring the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry to the 74th annual Brighton Field Day Festival and Rodeo. We were extremely honored to receive and accept this invitation.

Attending the Festival, which included Osceola and Renegade participating as grand marshal of the parade and planting the spear on the Reservation, was an incredible experience.

I was 7 years old when my father started the Pageantry in 1978, and I had the honor to portray Osceola when I was a student at Florida State University. To see the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry at Brighton Reservation along with my wife, whom I met at Florida State, our two sons and many members of the Renegade Team who have been such an important part of carrying out the Pageantry was an experience which we will cherish always.

The members of the Tribe who we met while at the Reservation were so warm and welcoming. We want to show great dignity and respect to a proud and unconquered people, and hope the members of the Seminole Tribe always know we strive to carry out the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry accordingly.

During the years, I have grown to know Kyle Doney and his family very well. We were extremely honored for Kyle, as a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, graduate of Florida State University and member of the Florida State University National Alumni Association Board of Directors, to have planted the flaming spear at several Florida State University home football games over the years.

The Doney family showed us their wonderful hospitality during our visit to Brighton. Kyle has been very kind to call the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry “The Tradition of Tribute.”

A special thanks to Norman Bowers for all of his work in arranging our visit and to President Tony Sanchez Jr., Brighton Council Rep. Andrew J. Bowers Jr., Brighton Tribal member and rodeo director Amos Tiger, the Doney Family, Princess Committee Chairwoman Wanda Bowers, Brighton Tribal member Louise Gopher and countless other members of the Seminole Tribe who made our visit to Brighton so memorable.

Thank you to the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Allen Durham is the owner of Renegade and the director of the Osceola and Renegade Pageantry.

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