‘It’s finally my turn’

Tohatchi cowgirl captures first Ceremonial title

Roper gets ready to tug on rope around calf's neck.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Michelle Morris claimed her first Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo breakaway title on Sunday. Morris posted a 4.73 run in the short round and won the average race with a 8.12 aggregate.


It was finally her turn.

After participating at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial for countless years, Michelle Morris can now call herself a champion.

“My dad won (a Ceremonial title) back in the 80s and now it’s finally my turn,” she said. “I’ll probably give my buckle to him as a way to honor him.”

The Tohatchi, New Mexico, cowgirl blazed through the ladies breakaway roping during the three-day rodeo by winning the average race by over nine seconds.

Morris won Sunday’s short round with a 4.73 run and finished the average race with an 8.12 aggregate.

“My plan was to be consistent and time it,” she said. “Last year I broke out so this year I wanted to hit it right. I wanted to challenge myself to balance it out.”

For Sunday’s short round, the rodeo committee adopted some old school rodeo rules as all of the roping timed events had a 20-foot score line.

“That’s the beauty of old school,” Morris said of the challenges. “That is the way they used to compete long time ago.”

With some contestants choosing to break the score line, Morris opted not to, as a way to honor past contestants of yesteryears.

“I felt like I owed it to our predecessors to do it the way they did it,” she said.

And with a fast horse, she had no problem catching up with her draw halfway across the arena.

“My mount was good enough to score me,” she said. “After that I did what I needed to do to be consistent.”

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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com