Buddy Big Mountain
Born in Newton, New Jersey, and raised in Catskill, New York, Buddy began his career entertaining at the age of two. Buddy performed Native American dances with the Big Mountain Family Dance Show at several well known theme parks across the Eastern Seaboard. In 1958, Buddy and the Big Mountain Family went to Switzerland, to perform with the Circus Kine Swiss National Circus and traveled several countries such as Holland, Germany, France, and Italy, while in Switzerland, Buddy and the Big Mountain Family was invited to perform their Native American dances for Charlie Chaplin and his family.
As a Native American dancer, Buddy chose a style of Fancy Dancing for the competition at the age of seven. Buddy won his first title as a Fancy Dance champion at the West Milford Pow Wow in New Jersey when he wa thirteen. Buddy�s last competition was at the Champion of Champions in Oklahoma City in 1981. Buddy continues to dance whenever he gets the chance.
In 1967, at the age of twelve, Buddy landed his first acting role ion the series �Gentle Ben� with Ivan Tors Studios, in Florida. While on the set, Buddy became friends with Jay Silverheels (Tonto, from the Lone Ranger Show), played ball with Ron Howard (Opie, from the Andy Griffith Show) and his brother Clint Howard and his favorite line was �Jenny wears a flour sack dress.�
In addition to dancing, Buddy broadened his talents at the theme parks by performing stunts and gunfights, acted as a train robber, and did some trick horse riding. That is when buddy first met his mentor, Col. Bill Boley, a ventriloquist, who inspired him to enter the world of ventriloquism. In 1970 while performing at the Kaintuck Territory Theme Park in Kentucky, every change he got, Buddy would watch Boley�s performance. Buddy practiced everyday saying �Let me out, let me out,� without moving his lips.
In 1976, Buddy went out on his own to perform with the �Spirit of �76 Show� with The Amazing Conklins, as a puppeteer and magician assistant. That is where he learned the life of magic and puppetry. IT was during that time, Buddy started rehearsing his ventriloquist act with a white rabbit puppet that he had borrowed. He wanted more than just a rabbit puppet, so he ordered a cowboy figure with a big nose and moustache and called him Windell P. Snodgrass while touring in Canada. Then in 1978, he moved to Kansas to work with the internationally known Puppet Company The Trotter Brothers. This is where he learned the skills of building and performing marionettes.
It was in the early 1980�s that Buddy achieved his dream and went on to perform his very own puppet and marionette show called �The Mini Pow Wow and Gifts And Legends.� He stayed up many nights, between traveling and performing, building his own marionettes and puppets from scraps of material that was given to him. Awesome Fox was his very first hand rod puppet he built and Wild Stumbling Bear was his first marionette, built by himself. Later on in his career, Buddy combined comedy, magic and several ventriloquist acts using a variety of figures with every show using Native American humor. Today, Buddy has a full cast of Native American Indian dancer marionettes and vent puppets.
In addition to his stage performances, Buddy has appeared on TNN�s cable television show, �Nashville Now� with Ralph Emery and �Music City Tonight� with Crook and Chase. Other appearances were on local talk shows in several different cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, a commercial spot for Silver Mastercharge as Tonto and in the play �Running on Indian Time� with Wes Studi. In 1992, Buddy was featured with other great ventriloquists in the December issue of the Smithsonian Magazine. In 1994, Buddy�s first video titled �Stumblingbear, The Video,� won �best animated short film� at the Native American Film Awards, in San Francisco and other award from the Wind And Glacier Voices II, Lincoln Center, in New York City.
Buddy has shared the stage in both worlds with many great performers such as Ronn Lucas, Jimmy Nelson, Willie Tyler, Sinbad, Charlie Hill, Buffy Saint Marie, Floyed �Red Crow� Westerman, Williams and Ree �The Indian and the White Guy,� and also opened for Foster Brooks, Seals and Croft, Riders in the Sky, and many others.
One of Buddy�s greatest opportunities was working under the direction of the Emmy Nominee Ronn Lucas, known as �the man that can make anything talk.� Performing with Lucas on the QE2 luxury cruise line in 1995 and at the Flamingo Hilton, Laughlin, Nevada in 1996, Lucas� final words of advice was �Grasshopper, I can�t teach you no more.� He found that buddy had mastered ventriloquism to the fullest.
In January 1997, Buddy achieved another opportunity and participated in his first artist residency for the Arizona State University Public Events Project and Atlati, called �Drawing the Lines� in Tempe, Arizona. His residence took place at the Pima/Maricopa Reservation. With the assistance of his wife, Diana Big Mountain, the community had the opportunity to learn �The Art of Puppetry� by building marionettes, hand puppets, designing a puppet stage and performing the production �The Snake Story.�
Buddy has created a show directed for the youth called �Choices� featuring his wooden figure Ronnie Woodenhorse. Buddy has teamed up with is wife Diana and established a puppet workshop, which is called �Buddy�s Puppet Workshop.� Each participant will be able to build their own sock puppet, earn to perform it and most of all, bring it to life. Buddy as offers an award certificate called �The Right Choice� for outstanding achievements in education, sportsmanship, community service, and being drug and alcohol free. Buddy is developing a project called �First Nation Storytelling Puppetry Arts Program� with his wife Diana, Charlie Hill and Eddie Swimmer.
By achieving his goals, Buddy became a strong role model for Education and the Performing Arts by offering one of the best variety shows today. Popular demand has buddy returning repeatedly at several major events around the globe. Buddy recently performed at the Country Tonite Theater, in Branson, Missouri and was on the cover of the �Las Vegas Visitor Guide� as one of the featured acts for the �International Ventriloquist Convention 1998� at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Buddy is back performing at comedy clubs, amphitheaters, major casinos, cruise lines, conventions, schools and colleges. Buddy is also a favorite at the largest Native American Pow Wows across the US and Canada.
Clearly, what was once a young man�s dream has now turned into an established career and earned him the title �An American Aboriginal.�