Category Archives: sports

“COVID Throws Rodeo Season for a Loop”

“In his 40-plus years of rodeoing, Alvin Smith [president of the Navajo Nation Rodeo Association] has not experienced anything like this…the rodeo circuits in the area have dealt with things like tuberculosis and Hantavirus in the past but nothing of this magnitude as all public events are bowing down to the stringent measures in place to help contain the highly contagious disease.” Q. Jodie, Navajo Times

Navajo Fair and Rodeo-Crownpoint NM 2019

Excerpt: Riding it out… By Quentin Jodie, Navajo Times

“This virus has hit everyone hard and it’s nobody’s fault,” Smith said in an interview with the Navajo Times on Monday. I’ve talked to (stock contractor) Charley Willie the other day and we’ve never seen anything like this.’ As of press time, the novel coronavirus has affected more than 189,000 people in the United States, including 174 positive cases on the Navajo Nation. ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen,’ Smith said

Team ropers Edward Hawley and Myles John captured the world title at last year’s Indian National Finals Rodeo. The current season is put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locally, he said the pandemic is affecting contestants, stock contractors and rodeo committees in a huge way as the NNRA had to cancel or postpone five rodeos for the month of March and April. Smith said he’s afraid that a handful of contestants are going to have a tough time making ends meet with rodeo being one of a few means of generating an income for their respective households.

‘They’re kind of freaking out,’ he said, while adding that the local stock contractors are also hurting.

With no income coming in, Smith said the stock contractors are taking a hit when they have to purchase hay and feed as their animals are sitting idly.

‘That’s their bread and butter,’ he said. ‘It’s hurtful for everyone.’

As for the rodeo committees, Smith said some of their sponsors are starting to back out.

To help the best way he can Smith said he’s sending out prayers and he’s asking the NNRA members to be vigilant and obey the shelter-in-place orders placed by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

‘The best thing we can do it wait this out,’ he said.

Of the five rodeos that were scheduled, Smith said at least two would be postponed. Unfortunately, the association will lose a pair of INFR Tour Rodeos that were scheduled in Socorro, New Mexico this weekend and Page, Arizona next weekend. ‘We had proposed to have these two tour rodeos on back-to-back weekends but we lost both of them,” the NNRA president said. “Those two rodeos were a huge deal for us… Smith said he’s not sure when the association will put together a tour rodeo but he’s open to host the event as late as September and, perhaps, coinciding with the Navajo Nation Fair at a different site near Window Rock… Smith said there are other options on the table and he’s looking forward to discussing them with his board members…But with tribal restrictions in place on public gatherings, Smith said he had to cancel a meeting last week.

He’s hoping to reschedule another one during the week of Apr. 20. ‘We’ll see what happens because everything is in limbo right now,’ he said, adding that there is no timetable on when they’ll host their first rodeo this season.”

For Rodeo Schedule Updates Visit NNRA

Class of 2019 Indian National Finals Rodeo World Champions

Other News:

WASHINGTON — The National Indian Health Board this week launched a new website with “tribally specific” Coronavirus-related developments, tools and information:  nihb.org/covid-19/

The new COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center site targets tribal leaders, tribal health workers and administrators, tribal community members and advocates for tribal health policy. The site has six main areas of information: 

Updates and Communications from NIHB and federal agencies; 

Community Health Tools section has fact sheets on vulnerable populations like elders and people with compromised immune systems;

Advocacy Tools has legislative alerts, letters to Congress and summaries on the COVID-19 relief funding packages; 

Tribal Response Plans shares Tribe-specific resources; 

Administration and Agency Responses has guidance and waivers from federal agencies; 

Upcoming calls and webinars.

“Tribes told the National Indian Health Board that they needed more resource materials on Coronavirus and we listened,” said NIHB CEO Stacy A. Bohlen. “The NIHB COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center website is the place for Tribes and Tribal health authorities to gather resources to help educate and protect Native youth, elders and families.

Good News Story: Navajo Nation Reaches Out to Elders

‘It warms the heart’: Navajo mount grassroots effort to tackle coronavirus

Navajos volunteer to care for elders and vulnerable people on the tribe’s vast territory. By N. Lakhani, The Guardian

Category: Culture, Social, sports | Tags:

Winners at the the Indian National Finals Rodeo!

“The mad scramble to close out the year as a world champion has reached a crescendo for the qualifiers of the Indian National Finals Rodeo. On Tuesday, the INFR concluded its first round action at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six local [Diné] contestants put themselves in contention of being one of those champions with the performance they turned in on Tuesday.” Navajo Times

Bullrider Wyatt Betony hangs on Tuesday night and posted the highest score of 80 points in the first round.at the 40th annual Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Bullrider Wyatt Betony hangs on Tuesday night and posted the highest score of 80 points in the first round.at the 40th annual Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. Donovan Quintero

Excerpt: Diné contestants open with strong performances at INFR, Navajo Times Staff

“Tuba City bull rider Wyatt Betony took a victory lap after riding “Tosh” for an 80-point ride in the bull riding competition, finishing three points ahead of Canadian cowboy Blake Jackson.

Gallup bull rider Ty Toadlena came in a distant sixth with a 70-point ride. I really didn’t know about my bull until they loaded him, Betony said of the Wilson Rodeo Company product. My buddy Justin Granger got on him last year, and he told me that he was going to his right.

Tie-down roper Kee Etsitty tied his calf in a time of 12.85 at the 40th annual Indian National Finals Rodeo at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero

Tie-down roper Kee Etsitty tied his calf in a time of 12.85 at the 40th annual Indian National Finals Rodeo at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero

The first-year qualifier capitalized on that scouting report, as he was one of six riders that made the necessary eight-second ride after Tuesday’s opening round. It helps to get that first bull down, Betony said while noting that to stay in contention, he needs to dig deep and get three more bulls ridden. I’m going to try and stay calm and stay focus, he said of his plans for the rest of the week.”

“If you think bull riding’ isn’t intense, come sit on his back and try on my saddle. This aint for tenderfoots.” ~ Clancy Jean Driscoll~

Category: sports

Indian Relay Racing: Fast, Furious, and Dangerous

O’siyo. American Indian relay races are becoming a very popular sport. Although the exact origins of the sport are unclear, some say that the races have been in existence since the early 1900s. A documentary of this fascinating sport will be presented by Montana PBS Monday, November 18, 2013.

From left, Zack Rock and Luke Rock head into the home stretch during a relay race at the Crow Native Days in Crow Agency.

From left, Zack Rock and Luke Rock head into the home stretch during a relay race at the Crow Native Days in Crow Agency.

Excerpt: Changing Horses, By Marga Lincoln, Independent Record

“A new documentary by Montana PBS, Indian Relay, focuses on this unique and dangerous sport. Before the film premieres nationally in November…Filmed by Charles Dye, a Northwest Regional Emmy-award winner, it was written by Montana educator and poet M.L. Smoker, who is Assiniboine and Sioux.

You’ll see incredible and daring race film footage from a host of relay races in Indian Country and then the Indian Relay National Championships in Blackfoot, Idaho, in 2011.

Zack Rock, a MM Express Indian Relay team rider, is featured in a PBS documentary on Indian Relay racing.

Zack Rock, a MM Express Indian Relay team rider, is featured in a PBS documentary on Indian Relay racing.

Along the way, you travel with rider Myles Murray from Browning, Zack Rock and Kendall Old Horn of Crow Agency and Lance Tissisimit and Alonzo “Punkin” Coby, who are Shoshone-Bannock from Fort Hall, Idaho.

In this sport, riders race bareback at top gallop around a track. After one lap, barely slowing down, they switch horses by leaping down from one and onto another. After galloping around the track the second lap, the riders again leap onto a fresh horse and race to the finish line. These riders are very athletic and very fearless,said Old Horn, who has been involved in Indian relay racing for 37 years.

Cameron Falls Down, of Lodge Grass, Mont., celebrates a 2nd place finish during the World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 7, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

Cameron Falls Down, of Lodge Grass, Mont., celebrates a 2nd place finish during the World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 7, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

You could take any Indian relay rider and he could play with the best basketball and football players. But you can’t take the best football or basketball player and put them in Indian relay. Professional jockeys wouldn’t touch Indian relay with a 10-foot stick. The degree and skill it takes to be an Indian relay rider is night and day from any other sport.

Race at Westwward Ho! Parade in Pendleton Round-Up Sunday, Sept. 8, 2009 in Pendleton, Oregon. Photo- East Oregon Paper.

Race at Westwward Ho! Parade in Pendleton Round-Up Sunday, Sept. 8, 2009 in Pendleton, Oregon. Photo- East Oregon Paper.

There’s quite a bit of choreography that’s involved, said Dye, the film’s director and producer. It takes a real trained team effort. There’s also quite a bit of chaos and danger on the track throughout the race.

His interest in Indian relay was first piqued years ago, when he was filming the Montana PBS documentary, “Before There Were Parks,” which showed the views of Native people on the creation of Yellowstone and Glacier National parks. It aired at the time of Ken Burns’ 2009 PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Jasper Half Jr., left, and his brother, Chico, apply ice to the front legs of one of their horses prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Jasper Half Jr., left, and his brother, Chico, apply ice to the front legs of one of their horses prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

My curiosity was building,” said Dye, who had been seeing photos in different homes showing various Indian relay races. I couldn’t figure out the photos. It didn’t look like standard horse racing.

When Aaron Pruitt, director of content at MontanaPBS, heard Dye first describe this crazy, dangerous, exhilarating sport, he was surprised.

Trevor Bird, of Lodge Grass, Mont., paints the horses for team Souix Pass prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. (Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

Trevor Bird, of Lodge Grass, Mont., paints the horses for team Souix Pass prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. (Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

Indian Relay National Championship participants leap from one horse to another while their team members hustle to contain the abandoned horse. State Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho. Photo- Independent Record.

Indian Relay National Championship participants leap from one horse to another while their team members hustle to contain the abandoned horse. State Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho. Photo- Independent Record.

Daniel He Does It, 6, of Lodge Grass, Mont., races around the stables pretending to race on a horse prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. (Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle).

Daniel He Does It, 6, of Lodge Grass, Mont., races around the stables pretending to race on a horse prior to the annual World Champion Indian Relay Races on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 in Sheridan, Wyo. (Blaine McCartney:Wyoming Tribune Eagle).

I’m a native Montanan,” said Pruitt, “and I’d never heard of this. We were thrilled to tell this contemporary and popular story.

It’s also been selected by PBS’ five-time Emmy Award-winning series “Independent Lens,” and will premiere before national public television audiences on Nov. 18.

An old license plate of the Kirkaldie Relay team, nailed to their barn near Hayes, Montana Credit: Charles Dye.

An old license plate of the Kirkaldie Relay team, nailed to their barn near Hayes, Montana Credit: Charles Dye.

Video clip of  a Relay Race Here:

“It’s a unique and beautiful sport. It’s just amazing. Those thoroughbreds are huge. These guys are brave, and these horses are too. The horses are also athletes.” ~ Charles Dye~ Director and producer of Indian Relay

Category: sports