Austin Gene RealRider was born March 11th 1941 in Pawnee, Oklahoma and passed January 30th 2022 in Cushing, Oklahoma. He was born to Austin and Marie (Lane) RealRider. He grew up in the Pawnee community all his life. He graduated from Pawnee High School with the class of 1960. After graduation he attended Oklahoma State Technical College in Okmulgee, OK getting a degree in printing.
In 1962 he married his high school sweetheart Cheryl Iron. They joined the Indian Relocation program and moved to San Francisco, CA where he was employed by Ajax Printing. While expecting their first child Cherise, they decided to move closer to family in Brigham City, UT. Their daughter Angela was also born there in 1964 and shortly after they moved back home to Oklahoma. They eventually settled in Tulsa for 15 years where Austin was employed by Ross Martin Printing Company. In Tulsa he volunteered for the Tulsa Indian Youth Council and drove a van picking up native children so they could participate in activities. He had a second job at Bordens Cafeteria in the bakery where he learned and perfected his pie baking.
In 1975 Austin began silk-screening and painting t-shirts and travelling to powwows to setup and sell. He had his family working like an assembly line, silk-screening hundreds of t-shirts which usually sold out quickly. His best sellers were Mickey Mouse fancy dancing, Minnie Mouse fancy shawl dancing, and “This Indian has Class” printed on giant white panties.
He was a member of the Pawnee All Indian Rodeo Club and was also a team roper with Kenneth Miller or Ronnie GoodEagle.
He was a member of the BraveScout and RedLand drum groups and was a straight dancer at Pawnee ceremonial dances throughout his life.
In 1980 Austin and his family moved home to Pawnee where he worked for the Pawnee Nation Housing Authority. In 1982 after his divorce from Cheryl he enrolled in the school at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM to pursue an art career. As talented as he was, he almost didn’t graduate because they were trying to make him take “Modern Dance/Ballet” which he refused. Somehow he was able finish his degree while avoiding this dancing class. While in Santa Fe he played the role of a Sioux tribal police officer on horseback for the movie The Gambler III with Kenny Rogers.
Austin married Priscilla Campos in 1994 in Las Vegas, NV residing in Santa Fe for several years before relocating back to Pawnee. They opened The Prairie Rose Western Store and The Buckskin Pony Art Gallery in downtown Pawnee.
Austin was an accomplished artist in different mediums. He is mostly known for his raku style clay sculptures. His most well known and award winning creations were his Sioux ponies, masks, and “Little People” series. He was a member of the Pawnee Indian Art Association.
Austin was a longtime Nasharo Council Chief, representing the Chaui Band. He served as the Pawnee Indian Veterans parade marshal for many years. In 2008 he was selected by The Red Earth Indian Arts Festival as the Honored One. Austin was also an AARP Honored Indian Elder.
He was an avid pool player and friend to all animals.
Of all his awards and accomplishments his greatest is that he was an amazing father and grandfather.
Austin was preceded in death by his mother and father, Austin and Marie RealRider, sister Carolyn Houston, brother Norwood RealRider, mother of his children Cheryl Iron Hunter, wife Priscilla RealRider, grandson Dylan EchoHawk, great grandson Jeston Reamy, nephew Darin Diamond, and niece Mercedes Johnson.
He is survived by children - Cherise and husband Pete Moore, Pawnee, Angela and husband David EchoHawk, Pawnee, and Warren RealRider, Norman OK.
Grandchildren - Dustin Eaves, Sara Reamy, Devyn EchoHawk, Shane Eppler, Erik Moore, Sonny Moore, Patton Moore, Pani’ Moore, Preslee Moore, Luke RealRider, Klay RealRider, and Lane RealRider. Great Grandchildren – Charli Alexander, Rhys Alexander, Fallon Reamy, Jazlyn Reamy, Dylan Ives, Heston EchoHawk, Davyn EchoHawk, Tylan EchoHawk, Tacora NewRider, Shane Eppler Jr., Amora Moore, Payt Guinn, Kobe Moore, Jette Moore, Sidney Moore, Fanci Moore, Aarya Moore, Camlie Moore.
Sisters – Beatrice Realrider and Lillie Cummings. Plus many Nieces, Nephews, Cousins, and Friends. And his faithful companion Kita Realrider.