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Cheyenne teepee takes shape for weekend family reunion at rural Toledo

September 9, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Q: How long does it take to set up his teepee?

A: Dwain Thompson "There's an old saying, it takes my son, Jim, and I about 45 minutes. With help, about three hours."

With the added help of son-in-law, Jim Zimmell, along with son Jim Bridger Thompson, it was a quick job Saturday morning, Sept. 2, at the Mike and Joanna Hofer rural Toledo home.

Article Photos

Erecting an 18 ft. high Cheyenne teepee requires some skill and strength as Dwain Thompson directs his son, Jim Bridger Thompson, and son-in-law, Jim Zimmell, as they put the pine poles which form the framework in place on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Mike and Joanna Hofer rural Toledo home. The teepee was part of the Hofer family reunion activities.
News-Herald photos/John Speer

The authentic Cheyenne Teepee was one of the attractions at the annual "Hofstalk" family reunion over the Labor Day weekend. Mike is the nephew of Dwain and Phyllis Thompson, who traveled from their home at Masonville, Colo. (near Loveland) to attend.

Dwain is a Marshalltown native, and Phyllis (Boldt) grew up at rural Toledo. they moved to Colorado in 1966. (Phyllis did a stint back in Iowa as a reporter for the Tama News-Herald in 1989-90.)

The teepee was a gift to Dwain and Phyllis some 40 years ago from a muzzleloader - buck skinning group he belonged to. Dwain and the teepee have had quite a history since then. Not only is it something of an art to set it up, there's transportation.

He has converted a boat trailer to transport the 18 ft. long pine poles which number 17.

Dwain has traveled with it, appearing in three movies: Centennial, The Mountain Men starring Charlton Heston and Brian Keith and The Frisco Kid with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford.

The Cheyenne Teepee is also known as a lodge. The pine poles are assembled in a particular sequence which Thompson knows and does without them being marked.

The teepee is covered with a wrap with the opening called a flap. It is always faced eastward because prevailing winds are usually from a westward direction, Dwain says.

A teepee provides more shelter than a tent because it allows a fire to be built inside which vents through the top Dawin points out.

This comes in handy as Dwain says he has camped in snow with it in the past.



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