INFR rookies shine in opening round

Submitted | Smith Rodeo Photos Clayton Slick (right) and OJ Williams won the opening round in the team roping competition with a 5.21 run on Tuesday at the 2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas Nevada. The five-day event will conclude on Saturday night with the average winners becoming world champs.

Submitted | Smith Rodeo Photos
Clayton Slick (right) and OJ Williams won the opening round in the team roping competition with a 5.21 run on Tuesday at the 2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas Nevada. The five-day event will conclude on Saturday night with the average winners becoming world champs.

LAS VEGAS, N.M.

Some of the first-time qualifiers got a chance to shine at the Indian National Finals Rodeo.

Some took full advantage as the annual event got under way at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The five-day event will conclude on Saturday night with the average winners being crowned world champions. With $350,000 to be awarded local INFR rookies Clayton Slick, Cody Jesus and Delvecchio Kaye and several of their peers were more than up to the challenge.

In the team roping competition, Slick put together an impressive run with his partner OJ Williams as they won the first round with a 5.21 attempt.

“We got a good steer and we made a good run,” Slick said. “We just stayed aggressive.”

The pair posted that run during the afternoon performance and they had to wait for 23 other teams to make their runs before they were declared the first round winners as local cowboys Blaine Red Horse and James Begay Jr., finished a close second with a 5.61 run.

“We let it all play out and let everyone else do their stuff,” Slick said. “We stuck to our own game plan.”

Despite having an early advantage heading into yesterday’s second round, the Crownpoint cowboy said it was very imperative that they stay aggressive.

“That’s the first round but we need to stay consistent for the next three rounds,” Slick said on Tuesday night.

Williams agreed and he said the difference came down to chemistry.

“I think we had a little luck with that,” he said.

As the sudden death winners in the Navajo Nation Rodeo Association, Williams said he’s happy that he teamed up with Slick as he’s hoping their first round win could turn into something more.

“I’ve qualified five other times and this is the first time that I have won a go round,” the Whitecone, Arizona cowboy said. “I’m hoping it continues into Saturday night because I would like to be a world champion.”

In his other previous trips, Williams said he’s made the short round and in 2013 he was the reserve champion with partner Rollie Ben.”

In the tie-down event, Roy Begay of Twin Lakes opened his INFR debut with a second place effort of 8.48 seconds.

“I went out there and did my thing,” Begay said. “I just visualized my run and I got my calf tied.”

As the rodeo’s first performer to draw his calf Begay said he wasn’t sure what to think as he set the pace for the other 29 ropers behind him.

“I was the first one out and I just wanted to make a run at it,” he said. “There were 29 guys behind so I wanted to get it done.”


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Categories: Rodeo
Tags: INFR

About Author

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