Tamika Lynn Begay crowned queen at South Western Junior Rodeo

11-year-old was the youngest contestant vying to become queen

Tamika Begay beams after being crowned queen. <i>Submitted photo</i>

Tamika Begay beams after being crowned queen. <i>Submitted photo</i>

HOLBROOK, Ariz. - On April 28, Tamika Lynn Begay was crowned queen at the Southwestern Junior Rodeo Queen Pageant in JT's Arena located on Arizona Highway 77, Reservation Line. As the South Western Junior Rodeo Queen, Begay now has many leadership and rodeo responsibilities. She will be performing duties in the arena with the livestock, fundraising for the association, and sponsoring a Queen's Rodeo.

As the South Western Junior Rodeo Queen, Begay will travel to every scheduled rodeo with the association. She will be entering approximately 33 rodeos. The rodeos will be with the Western Junior Rodeo Association and all upcoming fair rodeos. She will also visit schools and other special events to which she is invited in order to encourage others to good sportsmanship and the sport of rodeo.

Begay, 11, currently attends Indian Wells Elementary School as a sixth grader and will be attending Holbrook Junior High this coming August. She resides in White Cone with her guardians Tonya Greasewood and Tait Robertson. The family especially enjoys the outdoors. Their hobbies include going fishing, playing board games and watching television together in the late evening. They also are devoted to caring for their loving horses, Chief, Misty, Star, Lillie, and Hank.

Hank is Begay's horse, a sorrel gelding with two socks. She considers him her best friend. They started the rodeo sport at the same time, teaching each other the primary component of rodeo - sportsmanship. They perform in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping. Besides performing in the rodeo circuit, Begay enjoys playing basketball and running for the Indian Wells Elementary Cross Country team. In addition to these athletic endeavors, Begay spends much of her free time reading.

"Every chance I get. I read as many books as I can," she said.

Begay has a valuable philosophy for developing a good working relationship with your horse.

"First of all, I always think about my horse before myself. I don't eat before my horse; he eats before me. I don't drink water before my horse; he drinks water before me. The relationship I've built between us is that we trust, respect, love, and listen to one another," said Begay. "So if you want to be successful with your horse, you would have to build these foundations. Your natural relationship with your horse is not a routine; it is a feeling, a way of thinking, and a way of being."

Rodeo offers something for everyone, especially if one has a competitive spirit and a love for excitement. Becoming a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl is a rewarding experience, but it has dangers to it.

"I would like to let all those who are in rodeo and for those who are wanting to rodeo to know that your health takes a huge part in the sport," said Begay. "My advice is to keep up with your daily exercise; it is a benefit to your performance. In rodeo there is a lot of competition and all you can do is your best. Always keep your head up and don't ever let losing put you down."

South Western Junior Rodeo started in 2011. The association was formed so local communities of the southwest could compete in their local area rather than traveling far away all the time. This year SWJRA hosted about 100 contestants and their families and friends at the recent membership drive. Begay was the youngest contestant for queen this year.

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