Boyd finds winning form at Eastern Navajo Fair

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

CROWNPOINT, August 2nd, 2012

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(Times photo – Paul Natonabah)

A TOP: Sammy Jo Boyd competes in the ladies barrel racing July 29 at Eastern Navajo Agency Fair rodeo in Crownpoint, N.M.

SECOND FROM TOP: Kyle Smith prepares to grab his steers other horn during the steer-wrestling event at Eastern Navajo Agency Fair rodeo in Crownpoint, N.M. Smith finished with a 5.9-second run.

THIRD FROM TOP: Justin Silversmith rode his draw for a score of 68 points during the Eastern Navajo Fair rodeo in Crownpoint, N.M.

W hen she is on top of her game, Sammy Jo Boyd can be unstoppable.

She proved that at the 25th annual Eastern Navajo Fair last Saturday as she roped the all-around title in the AIRCA sanctioned rodeo.

With a good start from the roping box, Boyd looped her calf in 2.4 seconds and nailed down the breakaway roping title. With that she pocketed the top prize of $570.

She also competed in the barrel racing event, but she was eventually pushed out to eighth place.

Nonetheless, when the final numbers were tabulated she garnered the most money in two events.

"I had forgotten about this," Boyd said of the all-around saddle that was awarded to her. "I wasn't really thinking about it because I was concentrating on staying on top of my game in both of my events."

This year's all-around prize was donated by the family of the late Tony Becenti Jr., a senior officer with the Navajo Nation Police Department.

According to his oldest sister Matilda Smith, Tony Becenti Jr. grew up with a rope in his hand and competed with his cousins in the high school rodeo circuit as a team roper and a steer wrestler.

A few years after high school, Smith said her brother joined the NNPD and served for 16 years before his untimely death last October.

"We are going to this annually," she said. "We don't want his memory to die; we want to keep his legacy going because he has a lot of nephews and nieces who are growing up with rodeo."

A moment of silence was observed on his behalf and before the steer wrestling competition got underway a steer was let loose.

"He was the most kind-hearted man," Smith said of her late brother. "He was always willing to help and I don't know if he every wrote out a citation."

After the rodeo, the family presented the all-around saddle to Boyd.

"It's always nice to come out with something like this," said Boyd, who later thanked the family for donating the all-around prize.

This saddle was one of many prizes that she's won over the years.

And for a time, the Kayenta, Ariz., cowgirl was once recognized as one of the best all-around athletes.

Four years ago, she got happily married and decided to start a family.

And while her priorities changed she was itching to get back into competition.

"Back then I was on top of my game," Boyd said of her early exploits when she was known as Sammy Jo White. "Of course getting married and having a baby changed things, but you know I want to get back where I left off."

Admittedly, Boyd said she's been struggling to get back to into form, while adding that she has to work twice as hard.

"Even though I'm struggling, the fire in me still burns," she said. "I just have to keep pushing because I'm on a mission."

Part of that mission includes qualifying for the International Indian Finals Rodeo as the year-end winner.

"I don't want to go into the IIFR as a wild card entrant or a sudden-death winner," she said. "My mission is to be on top of the standings."

Her latest win at the ENF unofficially moves her up two spots into second place with $2,802 in total money won. She trails event leader Renee Tolino by over a thousand dollars as Tolino ended up third at the ENF with a 3.1 run.

"I kind of went on a slump during the Fourth of July rodeo," Boyd said. "Now I have three more rodeos to play catch-up. I need to finish out the year strong because these girls are pretty tough."

Laci K. Begay and Odessa Yazzie rounded out the money winners in the breakaway event with Begay finishing second with a 2.9 run to Yazzie's time of 3.2 seconds.

In the barrel racing, Paige Dale beat out a strong field of competitors. As the only cowgirl to register a run under the 17-second mark, the soon to be Chooshgai eighth grader covered the clover-leaf pattern in 16.67 seconds on her horse Diamond.

Before she recorded that remarkable run, her registered Quarter Horse was a little stubborn going into the arena. But when she did, Diamond looked as smooth as ever leading Dale to the top prize of $504.

"I'm still trying to work with her," she said of her horse. "Sometimes she has problems entering the arena, but when she's in there she does real well."

With a 17.00 run, Charmayne Gene picked up second place honors followed by Raynell Holgate (17.02), Elisha Paul (17.18) and Tia Begay (17.27).

In the tie-down, Roy Begay ($567) won the event with a 9.4 second run and held off veteran cowboy Marvin Tolth, who recorded a 10.1 run.

In a three-way tie for Kee Etsitty Jr., Nelson Long and Garrison Begay turned in identical runs of 10.4 seconds.

There was also a tie in the steer wrestling as Jeremiah Jodie and Emerson Long Jr., both recorded 4.0 runs. Each cowboy was awarded $366.

Tyrone Tsosie came in a close third with a 4.1 run and finished ahead of Lyle Charlie (5.0).

The open team roping was won by Dwayne Sells and Dwight Sells. They stopped the clock in 6.1 seconds and split the top prize of $1,135.

Bill Dahozy and Dwight Sells came in next with a 6.4 and finished ahead of the team of Cody Hunter and James Begay Jr., who recorded a 6.7 run.

With a time of 6.8 seconds, John Arviso and Clayton Slick finished in fourth place. Slick also placed with Everett Etsitty as the stretched their draw in 7.2 seconds.

The bareback title came down to two young guns as Ferlin Tsosie outdueled Kyle Charlie for the title.

Tsosie was awarded a 75-point ride on Dusty while Charley rode Camp Fire for 74 points. Both horses are owned by the Tsosie Bros. Rodeo Company.

"It was tough," Tsosie said of his ride on Saturday night. "It took a lot of work and the best thing for me to do was spur the horse all the way."

The 19 year-old from Rock Point, Ariz., cowboy took home $221 for his effort and unofficially moved up two spots in the standings with $494.

"I bought by (AIRCA) card late in the season, but I'm trying to qualify for the IIFR," Tsosie said.

In the saddle bronc, Shoshane Kee ($290) nabbed top honors with a 79-point ride on the horse they call Blue Duck. Herman George and Jamore Maryboy both scored 70 points and split second place.

Nate Benally picked up the bull riding event with a 83-point ride aboard Enforcer.

"He was a pretty nice bull," Benally said of his draw. "The main thing he did was give me the confidence to ride more bulls like him."

With a 77-point ride on High Five, Justin Granger finished in second place followed by Tom Chee (70), Hernald John (67) and Justin Silversmith (67).

The minor event winners included: Tyrone Alcott (Sr. breakaway), Troy Thompson (Jr. bulls) and Jareth Hale (Jr. barrels) while the No. 10 team roping was won by Eric Begay and Dion Mitchell.

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