2021: The Young Native Bull Riders Are Back!

“Professional bull riders Keyshawn Whitehorse and Cody Jesus find strong support from community.” T. Iannello, Cronkite News, ICT April 2, 2021

Champion Bull rider Keyshawn Whitehorse. Photo- pbr.com

Champion Bull rider Cody Jesus. Photo- pbr.com

Excerpt: ‘Mom, I want to ride some bulls’ ByTim Iannello,Cronkite News, ICT April 2, 2021

“It might have been the optics, but whenever professional bull riders Keyshawn Whitehorse and Cody Jesus entered the ring, the crowd seemed louder, more engaged. In fact, Gila River Arena appeared to shake at the sound of their names as they competed in the Professional Bull Riding competition.

Cody Jesus holds on to the opening gate as his ride on Mr. Clean starts in round 2.by Marlee Smith:Cronkite News)

Whitehorse and Jesus are both Navajo which has deep roots in Arizona. Whitehorse, 23, grew up in McCracken Spring, Utah, and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world, and Jesus, 22, is from Window Rock, Arizona. While neither rider finished in the Top 10 in the Valley event held earlier in March – Jesus was 17th – it was an ideal place for both riders to continue putting their mark on the sport…‘I think it was kind of destined to be in that area, to have that finish in Arizona and have such a fan base on my side,’ Whitehorse said…Traditionally, the love of bull riding is passed down from a family member, but that’s not always the case. Both Whitehorse and Jesus have atypical stories on how they began.

Glendale, Arizona; March 12, 2021. Keyshawn Whitehorse waves at fans and holds up his first event win belt buckle of 2021. (Photo by Marlee Smith:Cronkite News)

‘The way I got started is when I was little I was sleeping and my dad was watching it on TV one night and I just woke up and sat by him and I was watching it for a while, didn’t say much. And then after a while I told him, ‘I want to do that,’ Whitehorse said.

The next day, Whitehorse’s dad went out and bought him spurs, boots, chaps and a cowboy hat…“Then I heard some guys talking about some bull riding and I always liked it growing up, so I woke up one day and said, ‘Mom I want to ride some bulls.’ She said, ‘I think that is the craziest thing ever.’

Aside from atypical starts into bull riding, Whitehorse and Jesus have something else in common. They are both Navajo, which spans across three states in the Four Corners area…Jesus, who missed all of 2020 with groin injuries, is tied for 69th in the world and making strides to move up the rankings. The energy and support he receives from the Navajo Nation is incalculable.

‘Man, it means the world to me, it ain’t too far. And everybody kind of knows everybody around my reservation,’ Jesus said. ‘So it means a lot. They’re just like family.”

COVID-19 Vaccine and Financial Aid Sources

Indian Health Services (IHS): COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution List https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus/vaccine/distribution/

Apply for NCAI Relief Funding https://www.ncai.org/Covid-19/Get-Involved/apply-for-ncai-funding

Center for Disease and Control (CDC): COVID Data Tracker https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

Indian Health Services (IHS): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus/vaccine/

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