Standing Rock Native Returns as Navajo Nation Fair Manager

 Navajo Nation Fair ManagerBy Roberta John
WINDOW ROCK, AZ. – It’s never too late.
That is, it’s never too late to become a world champion.
Words that fit Geneva Tsouhlarkis who is also the new Navajo Nation Fair Manager.
She exemplifies what it takes to become a world champion – prayer, hard work and steadfast dedication.
Most people may think of hanging up their spurs or think of retiring at age 50, but not the Standing Rock, New Mexico native.
In fact, Tsouhlarkis gives new meaning to life….that it’s never too late to make changes in your life and even become a winner.
It’s one thing to become a world champion when you are in your teens and physically fit, but when you’re past 50 years old…now that’s what you call setting a real world record.
She first became a National Indian World Barrel Racing Champion at age 33 during the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Albuquerque in 1988.
Then 18 years later…that’s right, 18 years later….Tsouhlarkis rocked the rodeo arena and stunned everyone by clinching the National Indian World Barrel Racing Champion title at age 51 during the Indian National Finals Rodeo in San Carlos, Arizona in 2006.
Yes there are faster horses and younger women constantly entering the rodeo circuit, but with a renewed determination and a new quarter horse name Tip, Tsouhlarkis showed everyone in the house that she was still a force to be reckoned with.
Today, Tsoularakis maintains a busy life of multi-tasking her role as a wife, mother, her career and her lifestyle as a rancher and is still a competitive rodeo athlete.
Speaking of making a comeback, no she didn’t say “I’ll be back” or thought that she would return as the Navajo Nation Fair Manager, but she believes it was meant to be.
She was the Navajo Nation Fair Manager from 1989 to 1991. She wanted to serve longer, but her priority and still her driving force in life is her family.
She hung up her Navajo Nation Fair title and began working in Crownpoint, New Mexico as a Senior Planner where she worked there for 13 years assisting nine different chapters in Eastern Agency with strategic planning and various other local government projects and issues.
Tsouhlarkis said she really enjoyed being a Navajo Nation Fair Manager several years ago, but she wanted and needed to spend more time with her family. Her children are now grown so she is able to adjust her career.
Ever since she can remember, Tsouhlarkis has always been around animals, which include her sheep, cattle and horses.
She is accustomed to waking up during the early morning dawn and tend to her animals. Most people might see it as hard work, but she loves it with a passion and wouldn’t live any other way.
“Even if I get home late, I always spend time with my animals,”she said. “I have to spend time with my animals because they are a part of me.”
That connection couldn’t be more evident in the world of rodeo. She is well-known throughout Indian country and even in the professional rodeo circuit as a highly-skilled rodeo competitor.
In 1977, she graduated from the University of Albuquerque with a degree in business administration and a minor in accounting. She also attended Haskell Indian Junior College and obtained a AA degree in secretarial education and liberal arts.
She looks forward to continuing her role as the Navajo Nation Fair Manager, noting, “It’s like I never left. I want to make the Navajo Nation Fair the place to be. Although we call it the Navajo Nation Fair, I want other tribes to enter our rodeo, pow wows, night performances, and parade. I also want to invite visitors who travel from throughout the world to come and experience our colorful and beautiful Navajo culture. See, hear, taste and experience the lively spirit of the Navajo culture here in Window Rock, Arizona.”
Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Manager Martin L. Begaye, said, “We are very pleased and honored to have Geneva Tsouhlarkis return as the Navajo Nation Fair Manager. She exemplifies the characteristics of a true champion and what it takes to be a leader. Being a manager for the Largest American Indian Fair in North America – the Navajo Nation Fair – takes a lot of time and requires a unique set of leadership skills to communicate and manage many different people.”