Crownpoint bulldogger meets goal, wins NNF rodeo

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Sept. 12, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Bulldogger Kyle Smith grabs a hold of the steer's horn while bringing the animal to a halt. Smith brought the steer down in a time of 5.5 seconds.

BOTTOM: Tie-down roper Ed Holyan holds his arms out to indicate he has tied his calf Saturday afternoon in Window Rock. Holyan finished his run in 12.6 seconds.

Kyle Smith always wanted to know what it felt like to win big at the 67th annual Navajo Nation Fair Indian Rodeo.

After winning the average in the steer-wrestling event on Sept. 8 -- he finally does.

"This is the one I really wanted to win for a long time," he said. "I came here since I was a little boy, watching my dad and my uncles, so this is one you always want to win."

The rodeo was held Sept. 3-8 at Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena and it was the event that he and anyone in Indian rodeo wanted to win. The annual rodeo was a wild card for the International Indian Finals Rodeo. The average winners of the Navajo Nation Fair rodeo automatically qualified for the IIFR that will be held in San Carlos, Ariz. on Oct. 7-13.

Smith, who already qualified for the IIFR at the All-Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association championship finals last month when he won the year-end title, said he was able to read his draws throughout the week, which helped with his victory.

"My horse wouldn't work so I got on a buddy's horse of mine and he worked good for me," Smith said of his Sept. 5 draw.

He turned in a time of 4.7 and won the first round of the event. He placed fourth in his second run with a time of 5.5, and third in the short go with a time of 7.1.

Smith collected a grand total of $1,143.43 for the win in the average.

He said his short-go draw had a number of no-time performances that worried him a little.

"My uncle just told me to throw him down and let it work out itself," he said.

Smith qualified for the Final Four but had a no time, which made way for Jeremiah Jodie's win in steer wrestling.

Jodie placed first in the short go with a time of 5.6 and second in the average with a time of 17.4. He collected a grand total of $946.29 with an added bonus of $1,000. He tied for first in the Final Four with Donovan Yazzie. The two split the $2,000 added bonus when they both turned in a time of 5.0 seconds.

Jodie said it was the first time he has won the Final Four at the rodeo.

"I came close a couple of times, but nothing," he said.

He said his performance was a bit of an easy one as his steer lacked speed.

"I just kind of let him out there and he kind of drops his horn a little bit," he said. "So I just made sure I caught the body and everything."

Jodie said he is currently sitting third in the IIFR standings and is still working for his ticket to the finals.

Yazzie was named this year's all-around cowboy after winning money in two events: team roping and steer wrestling.

Yazzie placed fourth in the short go of the steer-wrestling event with a time of 10.2. He also placed fourth in the average with at total time of 19.9 and collected a grand total of $552. He tied for first in the Final Four of the steer-wrestling event with Jodie with a time of 5.0 and collected an added $1,000. The results for his second event were not posted.

Marco Sells and Kevin Yazzie were this year's average winners in the team-roping event. Sells, the header, and Yazzie, the heeler, had a total time of 16.9 and collected a grand total of $1,784.14 in the average.

The two placed fifth in the short go with a time of 7.4.

In tie-down roping, Preston Williams and Benson Charley were this year's show stoppers.

Williams won the average with a total time of 33.3 and collected a grand total of $1,342.29. Charley won the Final Four with a time of 8.5 and collected $2,000 in addition to his second place average grand total of $1,110.86.

Williams said he had two good performances leading up to the short go. He said his second and third times were his better performances that made the difference in the average.

"The second calf I had was good. I made up some time. Third calf I made up some time again, and kept crawling my way back up the ladder," he said.

He clocked in a 9.9 to win the short go.

Williams said going into the final four he thought the result could have gone either way for he and Charley.

Charley, 40, from Crownpoint, N.M., said he had a tough start to the week having drawn from the 'bottom of the herd'.

He said it made for a difficult couple of runs but things turned around just in time.

"I drew some big calves and I was able to get through it," he said. "I probably had the best calf on them. It was just up to me to use him."

Charley said he may have already qualified for the IIFR before the rodeo but made sure he performed well anyway.

"I just kind of stayed in the game all the way through," he said. "I didn't let my draws get to me. I just made sure I used them and turn in the best time that I can and it worked out."

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