The Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium here in Billings, Montana is part of the much larger Shriners International, which has over 500,000 members in 191 chapters and four countries. We are proud supporters of our regional Shriners Hospital for Children, located in Spokane, Washington, we raise money each year goes to help fund its operations so that it can continue to provide services to children in need regardless of their ability to pay.
Al Bedoo Shrine members come from all walks of life and range in age from 18 to grandfathers. The Shrine is a fraternal order. Only men are members, but that doesn’t mean that wives and children aren’t a huge part of what we do. For many of us, Al Bedoo is the center of our social lives, and there is never a dull moment or a lack of things to do!
Ways to Participate
Did you ever have a yen to dress up in a clown suit and make children laugh? How about make lots of noise? Or maybe just find a way to get out into the community and help out? Our members raise awareness of the organization while having a lot of fun. From the Camel Herders to the Black Horse Patrol to the Yacht Club, you can do the things you love to do, in good company, and for a good cause.
A Family Affair
Spouses and children of Shriners have their own societies that foster community service and personal growth in a number of ways—and have a lot of fun along the way. Most, like the Daughters of the Nile and Job’s Daughters, are open to extended family members of Shriners. Boys 12-21 will have fun in the Order of DeMolay, while Rainbow Girls is open to all girls 11-20. Order of the Eastern Star, the largest fraternal organization in the world, is open to both men and women.
History of Al Bedoo
The history of the Shriners in Billings stretches back almost 90 years, to 1922 to be exact, when permission was granted to found a Shrine Temple here. It was called Al Bedoo, meaning Bedouin, or dwellers of the open spaces or prairies—a fitting name for a Montana chapter nestled in the heart of range country.
The Shrine Organization
Founded in Manhattan in 1870, the Shriners of North America grew out of the ancient order of Freemasonry, which in turn traces its roots back to the Middle Ages, when stonemasons were an important guild. Focused on fun and fellowship more than ritual, the Shrine chose a Near East theme for its organization after one of its founding members attended a party thrown by an Arabian diplomat. Thus, the Shrine is governed by potentates, its chapters are called Temples, and its members greet each other with “Es Selamu Aleikum,” Arabic for “Peace be with you”—certainly a pleasant wish for anyone, anywhere. And members are universally recognized by the trademark headgear of every Shriner—the red fez.
Like all Temples within the Shriner organization, Al Bedoo is run by volunteers. Its board of governors is called the Divan (pronounced Dih-VAN), a word drawn from the Shriners’ Oriental roots, meaning “royal council or council room.” The divan serves as the management team for both the business and fraternal activities of the organization.
How to Join
The Shrine of North America is a fraternity dedicated to Masonic principles. It offers men, their wives, and their families an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. If you hold the Master Mason degree in Freemasonry, you qualify and are invited to join the Shrine.