Wild Horse Race: Highway 160 repeats as Navajo Nation Fair champions
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Navajo Times Video | Adron Gardner
This was not what they expected.
However, for the ‘Highway 160’ team of Don Hunter, Ryan Smith, and Herb Smith, the type of horse they drew came as a complete surprise.
Unlike their previous runs, the trio may have picked the best equine in the finals of the Wild Horse Race at the Navajo Nation Fair on Sunday.
‘We drew a nice white horse,” Hunter said, the team’s mugger.
Their draw was perhaps the most cooperative horse, as Hunter and Ryan Smith had little to no trouble in taming the unbroken horse.
“We got her cleared from the chute and I mugged her real fast,” Hunter said.
“This one was more solid but for some reason she kind of stayed there,” Ryan Smith added. “It worked out perfectly but it was the luck of the draw.”
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With an accommodating horse the two competitors helped rider Herb Smith get their horse saddled with the latter riding around the barrel for a first place finish.
The win on Sunday earned the team bragging rights to a second consecutive Navajo Nation Fair title.
“It makes it that much sweeter,” Hunter said of repeating as champion.
They finished ahead of Team Travis Allen and Team BGB.
“I’m feeling real good right now,” Ryan Smith said. “As long as I have been racing I have never heard of anyone winning it back-to-back. That is pretty special, especially here at the Navajo Nation Fair.”
Ryan Smith said they had a much tougher draw during Friday night’s qualifying round as they placed second to make Sunday’s finals.
“We talked about what we did wrong,” Ryan Smith said. “We put it all together and the end result was another championship win.”
“I am so proud of my team,” Herb Smith said. “I want to thank my family and Ivan Brown for making our saddle.”
On opening night, Herb Smith rode with a different team that featured shank man Kanasta Stewart, the only female participant.
“We placed second but we got disqualified,” Herb Smith said.
The Oak Springs rider competed in three rounds at the Navajo Nation Fair and in two of those rounds he was fitted with a camera to record the chaotic event.