Whitecone bareback rider making a return trip to INFR

PINE HILL, N.M.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Saddle bronc rider Jay Joaquin from Sacaton, Arizona, successfully spurs his way to the eight-second buzzer Saturday at the 26th Annual Ramah Navajo Fair & Rodeo in Pine Hill, N.M. The defending INFR world champion rode for a score of 84 points.

After a six-year hiatus, Earl Tsosie Jr., is making a return trip to the Indian National Finals Rodeo.

The 43rd Annual INFR event is scheduled for Oct. 23-27 at the South Point Equestrian Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Tsosie was the outright year-end champion in the bareback event as he added 20 points to his year-end standings with a pair of first place finishes at the NNRA Regional Finals over the weekend during the Raman Navajo Fair.

“I left Indian rodeo and I went professional,” said Tsosie, who rode two horses for 139 points, which includes a 72-point ride in the second round.

The Whitecone, Ariz., cowboy finished the standings with 95 points, which was 13 points better than Chinle cowboy Ryan Bitsui.

And although he qualified as the year-end champion, Tsosie is going to accept his invitation to Las Vegas based on what he did on the INFR Tour. By doing so, it allowed Bitsui to compete at this year’s final as the rough stock events sends only one qualifier.

“I want more Navajos to be represented at the INFR,” he said. “I want all the young cats to go and have as much fun.”

In the saddle bronc, Jay Joaquin capped a dominant year with a pair of first place finishes at NNRA regional finals. The reigning world champion won the opening round with an 84-point ride and in the second day he produced a 76-point effort.

“I had a great season but I did have a couple of hiccups throughout the season,” Joaquin said. “I wanted to finish out on top and winning the average race proved to myself that I still got it and that nothing can faze me.”

Joaquin said winning last year’s world title was a big accomplishment but he’s feeling the pressure to repeat.

“It’s a lot harder to win your second title than your first,” he said. “But I am going to take it like I took it last season. I am going to take one horse at a time, take day by day and have fun.”


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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