IIFR: A rodeo for the people

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero Breakaway roper Reneille Sells gingerly tugs on the rope to keep the calf from slipping through it on Sunday at the 2016 International Indian Finals Rodeo at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena in Window Rock. Sells won the breakaway event and was later named the all-around champion.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Breakaway roper Reneille Sells gingerly tugs on the rope to keep the calf from slipping through it on Sunday at the 2016 International Indian Finals Rodeo at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena in Window Rock. Sells won the breakaway event and was later named the all-around champion.

WINDOW ROCK

The script did not go as planned but Rough Rock cowgirl Reneille Sells beat out four other competitors in the all-around race on Sunday.

Sells picked up $604 in the breakaway event and finished with a grand total of $924 to become the 2016 International Indian Finals Rodeo all-around champion at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena.

The IIFR had representatives from the Central Navajo Rodeo Association, Triple B, and the NRCA of Fort Apache.

Sells won the average in the breakaway by roping two of three draws in 8.2 seconds, including Sunday’s first place finish of 4.4 seconds.

In her other two events, the cards were not in her favor as she only placed in one round in the open team roping. In that event she posted a 7.4 run with heeling partner Henry Benally III.

Window Rock bull rider Cody Jesus was another big winner at this year’s IIFR.

Finishing the average race in first place, Jesus punched his ticket for next year’s Ty Murray Invitational at WisePies Arena in Albuquerque next spring.

The 18-year-old said qualifying for a PBR Built Ford Tough tour event is a dream come true.

“This is what I’ve been working hard for,” he said. “I have the opportunity to show them what I am made of.”

On Sunday, Jesus rode Semper Fi for 80 points and finished with an aggregate of 232 points.

“I was real nervous because I had to ride my last bull to secure my spot,” Jesus said.

In the saddle bronc, Tyrick Wilson dedicated his win to his younger sister Tyrita Wilson as he rode three draws for 207 points, beating out second place finisher Leono Brown by 22 points.

“She’s my strength, my faith, and my confidence builder,” Wilson said of his sister.

On Sunday, the Salina Springs cowboy rode Flashback for 71 points, which capped a perfect finish for him as he placed first in all three rounds.

“It was a pretty good ride,” he said. “I did my thing and I let loose. I didn’t overthink it and I stayed confident.”

For Walt Jones, the Ganado cowboy was split on which rodeo to compete at as the AIRCA held their championship finals in Page. Jones decided to come to the IIFR to defend his title.

“It’s been rewarding and my goal was to win the IIFR again,” said Jones, after posting a 7.6 run on Sunday for a 10.4 aggregate on two of three runs.

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Categories: Rodeo
Tags: IIFR

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Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com