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‘Home of the Navajo’ PRCA Rodeo set for May 31-June 2

‘Home of the Navajo’ PRCA Rodeo set for May 31-June 2

By Jan-Mikael Patterson
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK – Rodeo fans, the Navajo Nation PRCA rodeo is back, but it will not take place during the 4th of July celebration.

‘Home of the Navajo’ PRCA Rodeo set for May 31-June 2

Navajo Times | Jan-Mikael Patterson
Diné cowgirl Tara Seaton speaks, alongside Diné cowboys Erich Rogers and JaCauy Hale, during a press conference announcing “Home of the Navajo” at the Navajo Nation Veterans Memorial Park in Window Rock.

Instead, it will be staged on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at the Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds.

“This all couldn’t be done without all of our role models,” said President Buu Nygren on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the Window Rock Tribal Park and Veterans Memorial, where a handful of professional rodeo athletes stood to his left. “You all make us look good. Wherever you go to compete, you professional rodeo athletes make the Navajo Nation look good. Ahxéhee’!”

The professional rodeo athletes in attendance were Erich Rodgers, Aaron Tsingine, Tara Seaton, and JaCauy Hale.

President Nygren, along with the Division of Natural Resources and the Navajo Nation Fair office, announced the “Home of the Navajo” PRCA Rodeo. They added that the Navajo Nation is competing with many other rodeos in terms of prize money that will draw more Navajo professionals to compete and showcase their talents in Dinétah.

The July 4th celebration is one of the busiest rodeo weekends nationally. To allow Navajo professionals to compete in Dinétah, the date was changed so that rodeo fans might see their heroes showcase their talents.

Other places where the PRCA rodeos take place during the “Cowboy Christmas” weekend are:
* Livingston Round-Up, Montona.
* Prescott’s “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” Arizona.
* Black Hills Round-Up, South Dakota.
* Cody Stampede, Wyoming.
* Brush Rodeo, Colorado.
* Sitting Bull Stampede, South Dakota.
* Mandan Rodeo Days, North Dakota.
* Morebridge Rodeo, South Dakota.
* St. Paul Rodeo, Oregon.
* Basin City Rodeo, Washington.
* Sedro-Wooley Rodeo, Washington.
* 8th Independence Day Rodeo, Oakley City, Utah
* Rodeo Round-Up, Montonta.
* Wisconsin Mid-West Rodeo
* Belton Coc 4th of July Celebration PRCA, Texas

For Tsingine, the PRCA rodeo was his place of inspiration.

“When we were kids living here on the reservation, we had two pro rodeos to go watch,” he said. “One was in Window Rock over the 4th of July, and the second was Flagstaff Pro Rodeo.”

As a youngster, Tsingine watched many professional athletes, and during that time, for a Navajo, he thought that reaching the professional level was unattainable.

“The closest we got to seeing these (professional) cowboys was from a distance, so being able to come to Window Rock and watch all these guys compete was something big for us,” he said. “They were superstars in our eyes. In a way, that helped us because we had something to look forward to. We always wanted to compete in that arena someday, and that drove us.

“This rodeo means something,” he said. “Especially to the kids growing up now because we looked to the professionals back then, and we’re fortunate enough to be on that stage. Now (the fans) get to come watch us compete.”

“This is going to be a prestigious rodeo for us,” said Rogers. “With $10,000 added (to each category), you’re going to get some of the best guys out here. I’ve been spreading rumors while out on the rodeo trails saying, ‘Hey, there’s $10,000 added, and we moved the dates up….’”

Rogers said that with the change of dates, it is along the pathway to the northwest rodeos before coming back for their summer run of rodeos.

“I can’t wait to be here to help out and partake in it,” he said.

“Basketball is the number one sport on the reservation,” Tsingine said. “I believe rodeo is second.”

This year’s stock contractor is the Cervi Championship Rodeo Company from Greeley, Colorado.


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