The Horse-Bone Tribe of Burning Man

Bone and Horse share a moment at Burning Man.

Bone is jealous. We started out as the Horse Tribe of Burning Man. Bone reminded me that he was at Burning Man before the stick horsies were attached to our bikes and begin neighing around.  And he is, after all, a horse bone

So in my mind and Bone’s mind, we are now the Horse-Bone tribe. Whether other members of the tribe agree, who knows…?

Tribes are a big thing at Burning Man. Last year’s program listed over 500… and those are only the ones that bothered to register. (We never have, for example.)

They come in all sizes. The Horse-Bone Tribe ranges from 8-12 people depending on the vagaries of any given year. Other tribes have several hundred members.

The always dapper Scotty, a founding member of the Horse-Bone Tribe of Burning Man.

The tribes live in camps and come in a variety of flavors. Most are unique.

Their names provide a clue to just how unique. Here are a few: Academy of Fools, Arachnophobia, Barbie Death Village, Back to Heaven, Buddha Bunny Camp, Camp Making Bacon, Funky Town, Hippocampus, Jub Jub’s Plastic Circus, Picasso Camp, Reno Housewives, Space Cowboys, Twilight Over Atlantis, Vamp Camp, You Are Here… the list goes on and on.

Two Vamps at Vamp Camp Burning Man

Tribes tend to attract people of similar interests. The Horse-Bone Tribe is made of friends who have spent years working and playing together. Our group includes a bike shop owner, a restaurateur, a judge, a lawyer, an interior decorator, a writer, an elementary school principal, a psychologist, a hospital administrator, a teacher, a trainer/school consultant and other professionals.

HP, Ringer, Sailor Boy and Luna share a laugh at Burning Man.

In other words, we hardly resemble a group of New Age hippies seeking Nirvana in the Black Rock Desert. But we do adopt new personas; there is Scout, Luna, Outlaw, Sparkle, Sailor Boy, Boots, Horny Princess, Sparkle, Scottie and Ringer, plus other disparate characters.

Scout and Trigger pose for a photo at Burning Man.

The first thing we do upon arrival is stake out our territory, literally. We pound stakes into the ground and connect them with ropes. Burning Man has set aside vast area of the desert for tribes and individuals. We can grab as much as we need wherever we want to.

Sparkle sparkling.

Many tribes take on projects that benefit the larger community. These range from teaching Yoga to cooking pancakes, to taking on major art projects. For example, the artist Jim Bowers along with several laser technology scientists and craftsmen have joined together with the TriBe Camp to create the World’s Largest Working Clock this year. (Lasers will project a 5000-foot wide clock in the sky that will accurately reflect hours and minutes.)

Boots and Bone

As for the Horse-Bone Camp, we aren’t nearly that ambitious. So far we have been happy to provide a home base for our tribe to share camping space, dinners, laughs, and companionship on the Playa

Beth, Bone and Unicorn. (Unicorns sometimes join our herd of horses.)

Beth, our bike shop owner, did set up a bike repair shop and repair bikes for neighbors this past year, however. Bone was proud of her.

Self Portrait of Outlaw (thats me), Picasso style.

Last, but far from least, Bones horse, Eeyore, insisted on being included as a member of the Horse Bone Tribe.

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