Navajo Nation Building Foundation for Success

PRCA Steer Wrestler

By Roberta John

WINDOW ROCK, AZ. – A world champion.

That’s an impossible dream for some, but for a certain breed of individual, that is a goal that can be achieved no matter how young or old you may be.

Case in point, Navajo Nation Fair Manager Genevieve Tshoularkis knows all too well just what it means to become a world champion because she is a two-time Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) Barrel Racing Champion.

However, it’s not the fact that she is a two-time world champion that makes this story interesting, but the fact that she clinched her second world title in 1988 when she was only 53 years young.  She rocked the rodeo arena and perfected her barrel racing skills to capture her very first INFR world title at age 33.

Today, Tshouhlarkis wants to instill that excitement and dedication to become a world champion and also to learn about the unique relationship that one can only experience out in the range, pasture or rodeo arena.

Tsouhlarkis said it takes a lot of prayer, dedication and hard work to become a world champion.

“I want to instill pride, honor and dignity for our young people and rodeo is one way of helping to build that foundation,” she said. “The Navajo Nation Special Events and Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department staff are working diligently to produce a great event for the entire family during the week of July Fourth. I just want to invite everyone here to Window Rock, Arizona. We hope you will enjoy your summer holiday here with us.”

Navajo Nation Department Manager Martin L. Begaye echoed her remarks and said, “We know how difficult it is for many families to go on vacation so we are striving to bring events that are economical and enjoyable for everyone.”

Accordingly, the Navajo Nation Special Events Office will provide several new incentives during the 68th Annual Navajo Nation Fourth of July Youth Celebration and PRCA PRORODEO on July 2nd-5th at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds in Window Rock, Arizona.  Some of these incentives include free parking, free admission at the main entrance to the fairgrounds, reduced admission fee to the PRCA PRORODEO, entertainment before each rodeo performance, free admission to the rodeo slack performance on July 2nd, prizes and free autograph sessions with the PRCA PRORODEO contestants.

“We are at a pivotal point in time where we’re faced with increasing fuel prices and other financial challenges,” Begaye said. “We just want the public to know that they can enjoy their Fourth of July holiday here on the Navajo Nation.  It is an honor to have so many outstanding champions from throughout the country to showcase their skills here on the Navajo Nation.  We are also working with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo – one of the best rodeo stock contractor in the country.”

Pete Carr, the owner and CEO of the firm, was nominated for the 2013 Stock Contractor of the Year award based on voting by members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He owns more bucking stock than any other contractor in the association. Last year, Carr had 27 animals selected to buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, a PRCA record.  This July marks the third straight season he and his staff have been part of the Window Rock rodeo.

“That rodeo has a very rich history, and I’m glad our crew can be part of it,” Carr said. “I know there are some great rodeo fans there, and I hope we can put on the kind of show that they want to see over and over again.”

Over the years, Carr’s great animal athletes have been top performers in the PRCA, including three world champion bucking horses: Real Deal, Big Tex and MGM Deuces Night. The past two seasons, the great bay gelding Dirty Jacket has been recognized as one of the top three bucking horses in the game.

“We work really hard all year to produce the rodeos and feature the stock that will draw the top cowboys,” Carr said.

It works. The PRCA PRORODEO will feature the top cowboys in the game. Not only will there be world champions, but each performance will be filled with regular NFR qualifiers.

“He’s not even going to have a B pen before long,” said saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, a five-time NFR qualifier from Heflin, La. “He’s going to have an A plus and an A pen. He’s got an eye for horses, and he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they’re talking about. You want to go to Pete’s rodeos, because you’re going to get on something.”

On Wednesday, July 2nd, there will be a rodeo slack beginning at 8 a.m.  On July 3rd-5th, there will be PRCA PRORODEO beginning at 7 p.m.  Admission to the PRCA PRORODEO will be $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and for children 5 to 12 years old.  Prior to each rodeo performance, a cowboy fellowship – a non-denominational church service will be conducted at the fairgrounds.

More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the country will vie for approximately $204,000 in prize money. The Navajo Nation is the only tribe in the country that hosts a PRCA PRORODEO, which will feature several 2014 world champions such as team roping champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas. Brazile will be compete in the rodeo slack performance, which will be held on July 2nd beginning at 8 a.m.  Other top PRCA PRORODEO contestants who will compete in Window Rock include Jake Barnes, Kody Lostruh, Cody Ohl, Blair Burk, Clay O’Brien Cooper, Shane Proctor and Tustin Daye.

If you’re looking for top caliber Navajo world champions and contestants, you will not be disappointed.  Some of the top notch Navajo contestants who will vie for thousands of dollars include Derrick Begay of Seba Delkai, Arizona, who will team up with Will Woodfin from Marshall, Texas, on Wednesday morning during the rodeo slack on July 2nd; Erich Rogers of Round Rock, Arizona, who will team up with Cory Pataka of Marana, Arizona – Rogers and Pataka will compete in the third performance on Saturday, July 5th; Kassidy Dennison of Tohatchi, New Mexico, will run the barrels during the second performance on July 4th; Aaron Tsinigine of Tuba City,  Arizona, will team up with Ryan Motes of Weatherford, Texas, during the third performance on July 5th,  and the Bates brothers of Tohatchi and Mexican Springs, New Mexico: Brando, Michael and Ben Bates Jr. will all compete for thousands of dollars in prize money during the rodeo slack on July 2nd  along with New Mexico cowboys Ty Pablo of Standing Rock, Donovan Yazzie of Brimhall, Vince Tsosie of Shiprock and William Jim of Crownpoint. Also, keep your eyes out for Arizona cowboys Lyle Clark of Kayenta, Nate Benally of Steamboat, Wyatt Betony of Tonalea,  Bryan Bitsui of Ganado, Craig Begay of Rough Rock, Calvin Begay of Steamboat, Kyle Charley of Lukachukai and Kaye Delvecchio of Round Rock.

“As you can see, we will have an array of prestigious world champions and many Navajo contestants that will be vying for thousands of dollars in prize money here on the Navajo Nation,” Begaye said.  “It is especially exciting to see one of our own competing with the cream of the crop so to speak.  We hope this will instill hope and pride in our young people to become a world champion or to become a successful leader in the future.  The PRCA PRORODEO and the other events that we have planned are only a few activities that we hope entire families will enjoy.”

About 30 young barrel racers will have an opportunity to run with the pros. The entry fee is $50 and there is an administrative fee of $15.  The entry deadline closes on June 25, 2014. The PRCA PRORODEO will also feature 16 wild horse race teams from throughout the country.  The entry fee is $350 and the entry deadline is June 25, 2014.

On Saturday, July 5th, a 10k run will be held beginning at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds.  The entry fee to enter is $20.

Entry forms for the junior barrel racing, wild horse and 10k events can be obtained at www.navajonationfair.com or you can call the Navajo Nation Special Events Office at (928) 871-6478.

And what’s Fourth of July without a carnival.  Frazier Shows of America will have a host of thrilling rides for the young and old alike.  The carnival will run July 2nd-6th.

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