‘One steer at a time’

Diné cowboys sitting pretty in Vegas


It sounds plain and simple but it’s rather difficult to make a flawless run every time inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

With eight years experience, Seba Dalkai, Arizona cowboy Derrick Begay knows that all too well. Going into last night’s seventh round performance at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Begay and his heeling partner Cory Petska of Marana, Arizona have produced a pair of clean runs.

Derrick Begay

“Things happen so fast every night in that building,” Begay said. “There is really no time to think about what you need to do or how you are going to do it. You just have to react and do the best you can.”

Of the six rounds, the two Arizona cowboys had three runs with penalties, including the first two. In the third round, however, they produced a first-place run of 4.0 seconds on Saturday night that paid each roper $26,230.77.

“I wasn’t rushing things or thinking too much,” Begay said of their triumph. “I was just going through the motions and we ended up making a good run, winning a round.”

Going into last night’s round the Begay/Petska pair were sitting fourth in the average race with an aggregate of 42.20 seconds by roping five of six steers, which included a no-time on Tuesday night.

“It wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible,” Begay said on Tuesday. “We’re still in a good position in the average but I’m not looking a average right now. It’s still kind of early and we’ll probably start thinking about it in the eighth round.”

At press time, Tuba City cowboy Aaron Tsinigine and his heeling partner Trey Yates are leading the average race with a 48.40 aggregate. The Tsinigine/Yates combo is the only team that has caught all six steers up to Tuesday night’s sixth round performance. Results for last night’s seventh round were not available as the paper went to print.

So far they have amassed $40,192.31 by placing in five of the six earlier rounds with their best finish coming in the third round. In that performance they turned in a 4.10 run as they finished in a two-way tie for second place with roping brothers Riley and Brady Minor.

“The main plan, like any other year, is to win as much money as I can,” Tsinigine said. “I rodeoed all year and I won $85,000 up to this point in the PRCA but I probably put back over $85,000. I’m about even and everything that I win in Vegas goes back into my pocket for next year.”

 To read the full article, pick up your copy of the Navajo Times at your nearest newsstand Thursday mornings!

Are you a digital subscriber? Read the most recent three weeks of stories by logging in to your online account.

  Find newsstand locations at this link.

Or, subscribe via mail or online here.

About The 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