Eight dollars catapults Sammy Jo White to the all around championship

Alesia Muskett takes rookie all around championship

Sammy Jo White

Sammy Jo White

CORTEZ, Colo. — Every dollar makes a difference, inn championship rodeo standings. During All Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo season 2005, Sammy Jo White won eight dollars more than defending AIRCA 2004 All Around Champion Nelson Tsosie. The difference enabled White to win the AIRCA 2005 regular season all around championship.

Joining Kayenta’s White was Crownpoint, New Mexico’s Alesia Muskett who won the AIRCA 2005 regular season rookie all around championship, making it a clean sweep for the cowgirls in winning the top honors in 2005.

One rodeo fan remarked “The caliber of entries was, as always, extremely impressive and the dynamism, spirit and energy of the contestants were apparent throughout the season. Thus you see real close standings at the very top, some not determined until the AIRCA Championship Finals Rodeo. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.”

At the AIRCA standing room only awards banquet at the Cortez Elks Lodge this past weekend, a record number of 14 trophy saddles were awarded. In addition to a saddle, White received two trophy buckles and the prestigious John Boyd Sr. Memorial Award – an award that reinforces White’s participation in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.

Earlier White advised the youth “Listen to your parents. They are right even though it is easy to think they aren’t right. I learned that our parents’ goals are never to fail their children by advising us to make good decisions. All they want is the best for us by pushing us beyond our potentials, especially when we want to quit.”

Tsosie, who received the Boyd Memorial Award in 2004, successfully fulfilled his Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association permit this past year and, along with several Navajo cowboys, should be contending at the PRCA Turquoise Circuit Finals Rodeo in Lake Havasu on Jan. 20-22.

The AIRCA 2005 regular season champions receiving saddles and buckles were: Bennie Begay – Bareback; Patrick Smith – Saddle Bronc; Derrick Davis – Bull Riding; Sammy Jo White – Ladies Barrel Racing; April Pablo – Ladies’ Breakaway Roping; Roderick Tso – Tie Down Roping; Kyle Smith – Steer Wrestling; AJ Ben – Team Roping Header; Lucius Sells – Team Roping Heeler; Darrell Morris – #11 Team Roping Header; Richard Morris - #11 Team Roping Heeler; Walt Jones – Senior Breakaway Roping; and the 14th saddle went to Miss Rodeo AIRCA Kendra Nicole Henry. The parental effort of the Junior Steer Riding Champion Forrest Lowley has assured him of a championship saddle when it arrives just as the parents of the Junior Barrel Racing champion Alesia Muskett may be making the effort. The Navajo Nation Vice President Frank Dayish, Jr. and a handful of Navajo Nation dignitaries like Mark Maryboy, George Arthur, Ray Russell, Willie Tracy, Jr., Orlanda Smith-Hodge, Sally Joe, Norman H. Chee were at the banquet to present saddles and congratulate all the 2005 season champions. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. who delivered the celebration address last year contributed to the AIRCA 2005 awards as did Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council Lawrence Morgan.

Also joining Muskett in taking part in the sirloin steak dinner were the following event rookies of the year, who received trophy buckles made possible by Richard Bates and his fellow sponsors: Matt Denny – Bareback; Robert Burbank – Saddle Bronc; Derrick Davis – Bull Riding; Leeja Bitsoi – Ladies’ Barrel Racing; Galareka Harrison – Ladies’ Breakaway Roping; Francis Begay Jr. – Tie Down Roping; Chad Dixon – Steer Wrestling; AJ Ben – Team Roping Header; and Willie Nez – Team Roping Heeler.

The Indian International Finals Rodeo World Champions receiving one of a kind western rodeo original art work by renowned artist Terry Roan in recognition of their achievement were: John Boyd III – IIFR All Around World Champion and IIFR Tie Down Roping World Champion; Nelson Tsosie – the undisputed Bareback Riding World Champion – both IIFR and the Indian National Finals Rodeo; and Guytin Tsosie – IIFR Junior Bull Riding World Champion.

While the AIRCA appreciates all of the rodeo sponsors from the 27 AIRCA sanctioned rodeos in 2005, those rodeo sponsors, who had the AIRCA as the host association during the 2005 rodeo season received special recognition for their dedication and hard work in creating a venue for the AIRCA contestants to ride, race, wrestle and rope. The 2005 rodeo sponsors partnering with the AIRCA in 2005 were: The Navajo Nation Ahohai Days Rodeo; The 84th Intertribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo; The 25th Keith J. Boyd Memorial Rodeo; The Ralph Johnson Memorial Rodeo; The 13th Ramah Navajo Fair Rodeo; The 47th Li’l Beaver Celebration Rodeo; The Sells Invitational Rodeo; The Southwest Navajo Fair Rodeo; The AIRCA Membership Drive Rodeo; The J Bar J Rodeo; The Eagle Ridge Rodeo; The 13th White Hill Round-Up Rodeo; The 75th Lukachukai Mountain Rodeo; The 15th Lower McElmo Creek Rodeo; and The Navajo Nation PBR Kayenta Open Rodeo.

There will be a follow-up AIRCA rodeo sponsors meeting and pot-luck luncheon on Saturday, January 21, 2006 in Window Rock, Arizona at a specific place and time to be announced. While 12 AIRCA hosted rodeos for 2006 have already been lined up, all rodeo committees who wish to have AIRCA sanction their rodeos are welcome to the upcoming meeting.

The purpose of AIRCA’s recognition of the communication team that helps market and promotes the AIRCA is to cultivate a positive partnership between AIRCA and each media outlet. Each year the number of the radio stations, press, websites, television and other media has grown in direct proportion to the widening of the exposure of AIRCA and its related activities.

The AIRCA Public Relations Officer’s honorees for the year 2005 were: www.indianrodeonews.com, White Swan, Wash.; www.iifrodeo.com, Saskatchewan, Canada; The Gallup Independent, Gallup, N.M.; The Navajo Times, Window Rock; Clear Channel Radio Station 99.1 FM KGLX, Gallup, N.M; Radio Station 107.3 FM KFXR, Chinle; Navajo Nation TV 5, Window Rock; Navajo Hopi Observer, Flagstaff; Radio Station 960 AM KNDN, Farmington, N.M.; Radio Station 1330 AM KGAK, Gallup, N.M.; Radio Station 89.7 FM KTDB, Pine Hill, N.M.; Radio Station 660 AM KTNN, Window Rock; OnSat Native American Services, Window Rock; Navajo Nation Shopping Center LED, Window Rock; www.aircarodeo.com & Real Time Sites, Albuquerque, N.M.; Cortez Journal; Radio Station KISZ of Cortez, Colo. and Smith’s Rodeo Photos of Muholland Wells, N.M.

Other recognition went to business and individual sponsors, gold card inductees (at press time, the list of inductees was still in route, however already named in the Navajo Times prior to the banquet), and various contract and rodeo personnel such as the rodeo timers, judges, and event directors. Steer Wrestling Directors Ben Bates Jr. and Harrison Charley and Tie Down Roping Director Walt Jones awarded vests and jackets to the respective events top 15.

Steer Wrestler Rob Murphy, wearing a “fight against cancer” pink ribbon, said in his touching speech “Take care of your mother as she is the anchor of a family and cowboys, no matter how tough we may be, there is a soft spot in our hearts knowing that rodeo begins in our living room where our mother resides as the foundation.”

His remarks in support of breast cancer awareness re-enforced AIRCA’s belief that rodeo is a family sport and solidified AIRCA’s community out-reach work.

The 2005 awards banquet and dance was held in conjunction with the AIRCA 2005 Xtreme Native Tour Rodeo.

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