The road to the crown

Nez/Gorman beat the clock in revised butchering contest


Contestants stand at table with butcher block paper on it, slicing mutton.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
MIss Navajo contestant Crystal Littleben, left, competes in the meat-cutting competition Wednesday in Window Rock.

Within 45 minutes Miss Navajo Nation contestants Darienne Nez and Devon Gorman were the first team to successfully butcher their sheep.

Maybe it was the idea of winning an $800 pair of new Sysco knives that gave Nez and Gorman the extra oomph they needed to speed through the butchering category.

Not too far behind them were Summer Jake and Ravonelle Yazzie; a bit further were Crystal Littleben and Kayla Martinez.

But although the large crowd attending the sheep butchering and food preparation kickoff to the Miss Navajo Nation Competition Wednesday encouraged them with shouts of “Yéígo!,” Niagra Rockbridge and Kaylee Begay weren’t able to complete the task.

“This is the only pageant where you have to butcher a sheep,” said Master of Ceremonies Pax Harvey.

Then he asked 2004-2005 Miss Navajo Jannalee Atcitty, mistress of ceremonies, if the butchering competition really is that difficult.

“How many of you butcher a sheep?” Atcitty asked the boisterous crowd who yelled back that they do butcher.

“Well, how many have done it with hundreds of people watching you?” asked Atcitty, emphasizing the intimidation and stress she felt when she competed in the butchering contest.

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Categories: News

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at