International Indian Finals Rodeo

Cowboys find action fast and furious

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

FARMINGTON, Oct. 27, 2011

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

Bareback rider Joe Wilson begins to lose his balance before the eight seconds is up Saturday night at the 2011 International Indian Finals Rodeo at McGee Park in Farmington.




Sometimes you just need a little luck to make ends meet.

Just ask team roper Aaron Tsinigine.

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2011 IIFR final standings

After what seemed to be a rugged start in the final round of the International Indian Finals Rodeo at McGee Park, Tsinigine and his partner Victor Begay had all but kissed away a world title on Saturday night.

With one of the most honest draws in the pen, Tsinigine let their steer break free but before he could even dally he ran into some trouble.

"I took an extra swing and when I threw my loop the steer dropped its head," Tsinigine said. "I barely missed the tip of the right horn and all I got was the left."

Still he managed to "fish-out" his loop until it came around the steer's nose for a legal half-head catch. That last effort by Tsinigine was enough to get Begay involved.

"All of a sudden he just turned that steer," Begay said. "I just tried to rope that steer as quick as I can and ended up panty-hosing him. It took me awhile to get my dally, but you know it felt like it took us all day to get that steer roped. I guess we stopped that clock just in time."

They barely did. With a 10.1-second run in the final round, the pair won the four-round average in 34.3 seconds and nipped the father/son combo of Dwayne and Dwight Sells as the latter two finished the average with a 35.7 aggregate.

With a 54.4 average, Nelson Long and Lucius Sells finished third ahead of the team-roping combo of Robert Bruisedhead and Darrel Manygrayhorses (54.6).

"You know we're a team, but really I don't start to do my job until he turns that steer," Begay said. "It was fun little deal we did."

Before that exciting finish, Begay opened the 2011 finals with a world title in the senior breakaway roping despite drawing a fast steer.

In the final round the Teesto, Ariz., cowboy had 5.9 seconds to play with and after he was clocked in at 3.7 seconds it was more than enough to edge second-place finisher Ken Whyte. Begay finished the four-round average in 13.2 seconds while Whyte posted a 15.4 aggregate.


Alfred Cheze came in next with a 21.8 ahead of Olsen Redhorse (25.0).

"That calf left pretty hard, but I knew that if I can catch him at the end arena I could still be under 5.9 seconds," Begay said. "You know I didn't place in the go round, but the main thing I wanted to do was try to win the average."

The bull-riding event also had a first-time winner as Andy Sells capped his world title with a scintillating 93-point ride on a bull they call Okay Blues.

"He was fast and strong," the 18-year-old Rough Rock senior said of Owen Washburn's bull. "I tried not to get behind. Really, I just tried to stay up front and do my part and not really worried about the score."

That ride was enough to propel him over the top with an aggregate of 176 points on two bulls. Troy James finished second with 166 points for second place while Darnell Myers and Ivan Sells tied for third and fourth with 77 point rides.

Unlike the open bulls, the junior bull riders had a much easier time covering their draws. In fact, Raylando Puento covered all four and finished the average with 280 points.

Cody John came in next with 191 on three in front of Lane Billy (143 on two) and Ryland Redcrow (70 on one).

In the calf roping, Garrison Begay finally broke through with his first IIFR world title. Prior to this year, Begay said he was always out of contention on the final day, so he was feeling the pressure.

"This is my first time winning it and I feel like I'm real lucky," Begay said. "I haven't roped like this in a long time, but I am glad I got things turned around."

As one of the rodeo's most consistent winners, Begay collected five checks. He finished second in three rounds, placed third in another and won the average in 41.3 seconds. Leroy Etsitty was a distant second with a 48.4 aggregate followed by Kenny Glasses (50.6) and Donovan Yazzie (51.1).

The highest paid contestant at this year's finals went to South Dakota's Jessie Colliflower, who picked up both the steer-wrestling and saddle-bronc titles, which ultimately earned him the men's all-around title.

"Consistency really paid off," Colliflower said. "I knew if I keep everything under 10 in the steer wrestling I would have a chance and you know my game plan was to ride all four of my broncs."

The latter part of his plans, however, didn't work out for Colliflower.

Nevertheless, he had the title won before Saturday night's finals as he was the only rider to cover all three of his previous draws.

By doing so, he finished the average race with a 196-point total ahead of Robert Wagner (150 on two), Byron Bruisedhead (143 on two) and Chad Eneas (133 on two).

In the steer wrestling, Colliflower beat Brent Dodginghorse for the win. After four rounds, the 25-year-old cowboy won the average in 27.2 seconds. Dodginghorse had a 35.3 aggregate ahead of Myron Lee (37.0) and Garrison Begay (42.3).

In the bareback event, Joe Wilson won his second crown in three years with a 310-point aggregate. Benny Begay finished second with 297 points ahead of Ferlin Tsosie (286) and Clifford Williams (283).

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