POPLAR — If you watched the Kansas City Chiefs run to a Super Bowl title, you might have caught a glimpse of Myltin Bighorn on the peripheries.
There he was at media day, behind the players speaking at the podium. There he was on the field painting lines. There he was in the locker room, kissing the Lombardi trophy. There he was on the bus at the championship celebration in Kansas City.
The Poplar native is the team’s inaugural LoneBear/H. Roe Bartle Rotational Intern. An initiative that provides a candidate of Native American Heritage the opportunity to work with, learn from and offer input for various departments of the Chiefs Organization.
And Bighorn, a proud member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, has done a little bit of everything since he started in August.
“I’ve been with communications, I’ve worked with business operations, marketing, stadium operations, community outreach, ticket sales and player engagement,” Bighorn said. “So I've been all over and every department is unique and benefits the organization in its own way.”
Bighorn became an invaluable resource for the organization, spearheading several projects and celebrations like the American Indian Heritage game against the Rams and Jim Thorpe Day at the stadium. He built relationships throughout the organization, including stars like All-Pro tight end Travis Kielce and NFL MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Those guys are some of the most genuine, happy people I've ever met. It’s like you're meeting a friend for the first time. They're willing to have conversations talking about anything and everything,” Bighorn said. “And during the American Indian Heritage game, I was able to present Travis and Patrick their own beaded medallions. I got them some medallions so they wore it to pregame, walking down that tunnel and stuff. And I taught them what the medallion means and the beadwork.”
For a small town kid from Poplar, the entire experience has been surreal.
“I don't even want to say it’s a dream come true because I never dreamed of being at this level and going on a Super Bowl run and being on the field during the Super Bowl,” Bighorn said. “I’m fortunate, but I’m also so busy I feel like I still haven’t processed what really happened this year.”
But Myltin has never lost sight that his internship and his time with the Chiefs serves a larger purpose. Bighorn is a graduate student at the University of Kansas, studying sports management. He also has a bachelors degree in physical education. He has plans to return to Poplar and use his experiences to enrich his old high school and community, by bolstering the strength and conditioning program and coaching football and basketball.
“I’m not sure if it's going to be this summer or ten years down the road, but I know eventually I'll get back,” Bighorn said. “And I plan on just working there and utilizing my networks and connections with KU and the Chiefs and create events, health and wellness events, sporting events and make big things happen there that don't necessarily usually happen there.”
Most importantly, he wants to set an example for native youth.
“A lot of these Native youth don't really have someone to look up to. So, I just want to let them know that it doesn't matter where you grow up, who you grow up with, you could do whatever you need to do,” Bighorn said. “You can set your dream and write it down and you could actually accomplish it. Like, I’m a kid from Poplar Montana working with the NFL organization and I’ve been to the Super Bowl. That's unheard of. But it wasn't impossible. You just got to start moving.”
Though he might have been behind the scenes of the Chiefs super bowl run, he plans to be front and center in Poplar and the native community. Working to help make the changes he’d like to see, and provide opportunities for native youth.