Cowboy Christmas on the Navajo Nation in July

It’s Going to be a Cool Cowboy Christmas at Beautiful Navajo

 

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By Roberta John

WINDOW ROCK, AZ. – Shine up your boots and dust off your cowboy hat.
And head on up to Navajo country here in northeastern Arizona because it’s going to be a cool Cowboy Christmas here on the Navajo Nation in July.
It’s rodeo time.
When most parts of the state may be sizzling, the capital of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona may just be the cool breeze you’re looking for.
Capture the spirit of the rustic west when top caliber cowboys and cowgirls take center stage here in northeastern Arizona. Window Rock may be quiet by day, but it roars with excitement by night. That’s because the Navajo Nation hosts its Annual Fourth of July PRCA Pro Rodeo here in the heart of the Four Corners every year.
So pack your bags and share the oohs and the ahhs as you capture the thundering team of horses and cattle and of course fast-moving cowboys and cowgirls in rodeo action – professional style – on July 3-5 here in Window Rock.
The Navajo Nation is the only American Indian tribe in North America which has the honor of hosting a sanctioned Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Rodeo.
Professional rodeo athletes tag this event as Cowboy Christmas because they virtually travel state to state during the July fourth weekend and pocket thousands of dollars. The July fourth extravaganza will be held at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds just off Arizona State Highway 264. Nightly performances begin at 7 p.m.
It is said that rodeo is the number one sport here on the Navajo Nation. In fact, there are also more Indian rodeos held on the Navajo Nation than anywhere in the country. Moreover, it is often said that most Indians are cowboys.
More than 400 top cowboys and cowgirls are expected to showcase their horsemanship skills here at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds. An increasingly popular event is barrel racing, which attracts approximately 50 participants from throughout the country.
Navajo Nation Fair Manager Genevieve Tsouhlarkis stated, “The Navajo Nation Special Events Staff is working diligently behind the scenes to present an outdoor Fourth of July celebration. I would like to invite the Navajo people and Navajoland visitors to Window Rock, Arizona and share the excitement of professional rodeo action. We are very honored to be the only American Indian tribe in North America to host a professional rodeo in Indian country.”
Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Manager Martin L. Begaye echoed her remarks. “In addition to joining us at the PRCA Pro Rodeo here in the capital of the Navajo Nation, I also want to encourage Navajoland guests to visit our tribal parks. We are pleased that visitors enjoy our unparalleled scenery; however, the true beauty of the Navajo Nation is our unique Navajo language and culture.”
If solitary serenity is what you’re looking for, the Navajo Nation has just what you’re looking for.
Window Rock is also home of the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park, which is home of a beautiful hand-carved Navajo Code Talker statue that pays tribute to the Navajo Code Talkers. Navajo patriotism and bravery is unequaled. Navajos were inducted and trained to become “Code Talkers” and used the Navajo language on the front line during World War II. The Navajo language was never deciphered and proved to be the only code that was never broken. Today, these famous individuals who fought on the front line during World War II are known as the Navajo Code Talkers.
Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park is called Window Rock because of its red-earth colored arch that resembles a circular window in a rock. The park includes a walking trail and picnic tables. It is located approximately one mile northeast of Indian Route 12.
Other points of interest in Window Rock include the Navajo Nation Council of Chambers that houses an artistic rendition of early Navajo history; the Navajo Nation Zoo, which is a sanctuary for various animals and birds that are indigenous to Navajoland – the Navajo Nation Zoo is the only tribally-owned zoo in the country; the Navajo Nation Museum, which features a wonderful interpretive video of Navajo culture, exhibits of Navajo history, a gift shop; and Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise, which has an array of exquisite hand- made Navajo products such as jewelry, moccasins, pottery, rugs and other Navajo products.
Within the Window Rock vicinity, there are also a couple of hotels, a few restaurants including a venue called the St. Michaels Indian Market that features traditional Navajo cuisine such as lamb stew, fry bread, tortillas and Navajo tacos. If you want to buy direct from a Navajo artist, make sure you make time to stop here – it is located at the junction of Arizona State Highway 264 and Indian Route 12.
I think this sounds like a pretty good nail to hang your hat on.
The Fourth of July PRCA Pro Rodeo and Youth Celebration will also include fireworks on July Fourth, a carnival and other outdoor events for the youth. For more information about the Fourth of July PRCA Pro Rodeo, the Navajo Nation Fair or our tribal parks, please contact us at (928) 871-6647 or  at www.navajonationparks.org

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