Hello and welcome to the Stick Maker Series. I’m Justin Skaggs, lead stick maker at Skaggs Wood Works and the curator of WoodLacrosseSticks.com. Today, I would like to feature wood lacrosse stick maker Brenner Billy.
Brenner Billy: Stick Maker Series
“Hello, my name is Brenner Billy. I’m from Oklahoma. And currently, I work for East Central University here in Ada, and previously, I’ve been affiliated with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma… I’ve been making stickball sticks for about 13, going on 14 years now. My dad taught me. His dad taught him… My great uncle, the late Cleland Billy, taught my grandfather. The reason why we made sticks was actually so we could go on expeditions, demonstrations… And through the last decade or so, there’s been a revitalization in my home area.”
“We broke sticks a lot, and my dad saw it as an opportunity for us to learn how valuable the sticks are. When I was 15 years old, we started making sticks. And from that point, I just kind of kept on off and on throughout the years, making them, so consistently, I’ve been making sticks in the last, say, four years, before my son was born, and I’ve got a lot better, tried things differently, kind of perfecting my style. So, I see it as important to grow the game for my people, for my communities and then actually sharing it with other communities like the Chickasaw Nation and the other players here on different teams in Oklahoma.”
“I feel prideful to actually see [stickball]. We don’t actually play it in the “Little Brother of War” fashion, but we do it in more of a sport fashion. And it gives definitely our children, our younger generations, future generations, and even my generation, a uniqueness, a sense of pride that shows, you know, ‘I’m Choctaw’ or ‘I’m Chahta’, that ‘I play stickball’ and this is something that not many people in the world can do, especially if you’re coming from basketball and football, they don’t necessarily understand why we would do those things, but, then to me, it’s like ‘Well, this is something that’s part of me.” And seeing younger generations have that, at a different level where I grew up… that they get that already, and grow from that as well, and to me, it’s prideful. It’s exciting, it’s, you wonder where we’re going to go in the next decade. You know, we’re making history today, and this past weekend, and we’ll see hopefully more makers and more common development of stick building and maybe the sport as well into just more than Oklahoma and Mississippi.”
We have more coming from the Stick Maker Series. We’re going to continue to introduce you to other stick-makers from around the country. Thanks for watching, I’m Justin Skaggs, curator of Wood Lacrosse Sticks. Stay tuned, and keep LAXin’.