In the early morning hours of December 27, 2019, we lost our beloved son, father, brother, grandpa, grandson, nephew, and friend Gregory Joseph Three Irons. His Apsaalooke name was given to him by his grandpa Blaine Falls Down, Awaxaawi Heelah Chiwakiish (Prays in the Mountains). Greg had just turned 47 on December 22nd, he was an early Christmas gift born in Hardin, MT, to Joselyn and Clarence Three Irons of Sioux Pass, Lodge Grass, MT, he was put into a red Christmas stocking when they were able to go home, the eldest of five boys. He was tremendously loved by his aunties as he was the first baby of the family, they all had a hand in raising him and his aunties always stood by his side. He graduated from Lodge Grass High School in 1991 where he played football, basketball and high school rodeo; he attended University of Montana-Western on a football scholarship, then later joined the Rodeo Team, then continued at Little Big Horn College, where he received his Associate of Arts in Carpentry while working on the new Crow/Northern Cheyenne Hospital and multipurpose building. Greg was a member of the Big Lodge Clan and a child of Bad War Deed, a member of First Crow Indian Baptist Church, Native American Church, Ree Society, and participated in cultural activities as a hot dancer. Greg was employed as a ranch hand by various ranches across the reservation and surrounding areas, Westmoreland Coal Mine, Wrangler Team Roping Championships, Crow Tribal Housing renovating homes across the reservation, Shawn Long Construction, built the blue building for housings by the water tower in Crow, various carpentry companies across Montana, he also worked briefly for the Lodge Grass School district and the Awe Kualawaache Care Center. He like to work with his hands by building anything he could, a skilled handy man, electrical and carpentry work. In 1991 he and Jeremy Not Afraid qualified to the High School National Finals in Shawnee, OK. In 1992 he qualified to the College National Finals in the team roping competition in the Big Sky Region with Jim Garrison in Bozeman, MT and Jeremy Not Afraid. An avid rodeo participant, Greg entered in the teamroping as a heeler and calf roping events with the Northern Plains Indian Rodeo Association and Wrangler Team Roping Championships. He was a current member of the Indian National Finals Rodeo and had qualified six times to the INFR, twice with his brother Clay, Jerry Small, Britt Givens, Ryan Symenson, and Eric Watson. He proudly served his tribe with the Crow Tribal Legislator as the Black Lodge District Senator from 2013 to 2016 and as the 2003 and 2014 Crow Fair Rodeo Manager, which has been noted as two of the greatest Indian rodeos.
Greg was always a family man and enjoyed every moment with his kids and grandkids. He enjoyed teaching them how to ride, taking care of their horses, horse husbandry, swinging a rope and roping cattle. He met the love of his life Kateri in the winter of 1991, together, they raised their children with the love and kindness of one another and those around them. He was most proud of his children in any capacity, some of his highlights were when his son, Justin, qualified for the finals and walking his daughter, Kayleigh, down the aisle on her wedding day, Mikayla for always being independent, and Kaci for being the beautiful person she is, and the days his grandchildren were born. He had nicknames for family and friends, liked to tease, he loved shopping for Christmas gifts and had the right to speak in public.
Greg is preceded in death by his brothers Clarence “Indian” Three Irons, Jr., Alvin G. Three Irons, Shylon Alden, Gary Joe Whiteman, Dana Falls Down, Randy Not Afraid, and Anfernee Birdinground, his paternal grandparents Louise Birdinground Three Irons and William Three Irons, Sr., his maternal grandparents Joseph Alden, Sr. and Ruth Backbone Alden. His uncles Belo Alden, Alvin Alden, Ronald Falls Down, William Three Irons, Jr., and Melvin Three Irons, Sr. His aunties Lavonne Tall Bear and Jacqueline Ware; sister, Brandi V. Alden, nephew Michael Not Afraid, and his grandpa’s Sam Birdinground, McKinley Backbone, Sammy Hoops and Prince Brockie.
Greg is survived by his parents; Wife Kateri; children: Kayleigh (Ian) White, Mikayla (Steffan), & Kaci Three Irons, Justin Three Irons, Joe Demontiney, Kenneth Morrison, Holman Real Bird, Tuck Plenty Hoops, Tevion Ramos, Jonathan Hill, Braylee Armajo, Anna Frost, Mikey Christian, Josh (Audrey) Buffalo, Roddy Not Afraid, and Jessie (Tylin) Old Crow. His grandkids: Caelyn, Cayton, Skilynn, Azayla, Kacyn, Selah Grace, and Corlene. His nephew who he adored and his name sake Maddox Gregory Bear Don’t Walk.
Brothers: Cameron (Tena), Clayton, Alan Que, Buster Three Irons, Shane (Sherry) Little Bear, Casey Cummins, Everett EJ Storm, Preston Guardipee, Jeremy (Roxanne) Not Afraid, Brian T. Old Bull, Aspen Brugh, Roland Redfield, Randy (Jalana) Three Irons, Cody (Carlotta), Theodore, Rusty, and Glenn Ware, Manuel and Tommy (Verlee) Whiteman, Harrison Old Elk, Ken Henry Real Bird, Brandon Spotted Horse, Dee Tall Bear, Joe (Hydee) Kindness, Billy House, Marcus (Fran) Old Coyote, Adrian, Dewey, Randy Bear Don’t Walk, Kevin, Mike, and Ron Buck Elk, Joe JP Alden III, Ray Champ, Travis, Clay and Brady Tryan, and Iryjah Bear Below. Sisters: Brittany Wyles, Lauri Dawn Kindness, Ivy (Marlon) and Melvette Three Irons, Neva (Gary) and Rosie Tall Bear, Krystal (Paul) Hill, Leslie (Clayton) Neiss, Prudence (Jeff) Alden-Yellowowl, Roanne (Harold) Hill, Shannon (Henry) Wilson, Dorcella (Edward) Eastman, Sharon Whitemanrunshim, Polly (Ellsworth) Decrane, Rochelle (Eugene) Deputy, Michelle (Coolidge) Jefferson, Nema (Charlie) Alden-Scott, Elisha Yarlott, Tammy (Alan) Knows His Gun, Shaleen (Grinell) Kills Night, Vanessa Old Coyote, SharaRose, Tanya, and Christina Bear Don’t Walk, Carrie Hugs and Sharon LaForge. Nephews: Rope Tie, Hance, Chance, Nicholis Three Irons, Alan Don, Seth, Christian, Kool Trey, Eli and Beau Venne, Sonny (Martika) Flatmouth, Ethaniel Decrane, and Chance Alden. Nieces: Bailey, Bryce, Victoria, Kaya, Remembrance, Katelyn, Blossom, Blessing Three Irons, Camille Whiteman, BrieAnna Stewart, Tyerra Roan, and Peyton Birdinground. Uncles: Joe (Charlene) Alden Jr., Gale Three Irons, Moses “Buddy” Tall Bear, Jr., Mervyn (Rebecca) White, Curtis (Lavonna) Real Bird, Robert Clarence Pickett, Orrin (Diane) Pickett, Jess, Mark (Cheri) Real Bird, Delano (Alta) Whiteclay, Wilford (Lorna), Calvin, Sampson (Eva) Birdinground and Clinton (Margaret) Stops. Auntie’s: Francis, Daphne, and Laurie Alden, Clara Buck Elk, Anita (Dana) Old Coyote, Annie Beth Real Bird, Stacie, Avis, and Lana Three Irons, Rachel (Corky) Old Horn, Darla (Sam) Horn, Valerie (Jeff) Packs The Hat, Daisy (Ed) Stamper, Marlene Walking Bear, Jennifer (Lawrence) Flatlip, and Janet Costa. Grandfathers: Clifford Birdinground, Joe (Rena) Pickett, Lloyd (Elvina) Pickett, Frederick Left Hand, Marshall (Barbara) Left Hand, and Blaine Falls Down. Grandmothers: Laura Real Bird, Violet Other Medicine, Carol Morrison-Miller and Ernestine Birdinground.
Extended family and friends include his high school, college, and all his roping partners, Dennis Tryan & family, Huntley, MT; Jimmy Brown & family, Lodge Grass, MT; CJ Notafraid & family; Alfred Armajo & family, Winda Hampton; Brockie family, Levi Britton & family, Pickett, Backbone, Falls Down, Left Hand, Dixie family of ID, Fredericks of ND, Morning, House, Bear Crane, Dillon, LaForge, Birdingrounds, Plenty Hawk, Pretty Paint and Moccasin families. Please excuse the family if we’ve forgotten anyone, our family is large.
Funeral Service is Tuesday, December 31 at 11:00 AM at Lodge Grass Elementary Gymnasium in Lodge Grass, Montana. Burial is at the Lodge Grass Cemetery.