Navajo and Hopi Honor Riders make annual run honoring fallen soldiers

A Navajo Hopi Honor Rider stands with former Hopi Vice Chairman Phillip Quochytewa (right) who is also an officer with Hopi Lori Piestewa Post No. 80 chapter at the Hopi Tribal Court complex. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka Thayer

A Navajo Hopi Honor Rider stands with former Hopi Vice Chairman Phillip Quochytewa (right) who is also an officer with Hopi Lori Piestewa Post No. 80 chapter at the Hopi Tribal Court complex. Photo/Rosanda Suetopka Thayer

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - In 2002 Larry Noble, Bobby Martin and Lon and Lori Parker established the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders to honor the late Lori Ann Piestewa, the first Native American-Hispanic woman soldier to die in a foreign war. The Honor Riders have grown from 15 original bikers to more than 300 members.

This year's Honor Run took bikers, families and chase vehicles from Window Rock to Ganado, the Hopi Reservation, Dilkon, Birdsprings, Leupp and finally to Flagstaff for a sunset dinner at the home of Percy and Terry Piestewa, whose daughter inspired the original run.

Riders travelled to Cameron, Tuba City, Inscription House and Kayenta on the second day of the run.

After spending the night in Kayenta, the riders travelled to Beclabito, Shiprock, Red Valley, Lukachukai, Window Rock and a final stop at Chilchiltah Veterans Park to conclude the ride.

Co-founder Larry Begay headed up this year's Honor Run. Begay along with his wife Shelly, who serves as the NHHR webmaster and organizer, allowed original founder Larry Noble a chance to take a year off from organizing the riders on the 2013 run. Noble did participate in the run but chose to man one of the chase vehicles behind the riders.

One of the highlights of this year's run was Hopi Post No. 80 Lori Piestewa's crowning of a new 2013-14 Post Princess. Begay crowned Telisha Poleahla, from the Sun Forehead clan of Shungopavi and a sophomore at Hopi High School, at the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa, where the honor riders took a ride break.

Begay removed the crown from former post princess Kelleigh Sewequaptewa and placed the Post 80 silver crown on the new princess in front of the riders, Hopi Veterans Center Director Geno Talas and his staff, Lori Piestewa Post Commander Alfred Lomahquahu and post officers. The Hopi veterans post princess honor comes with many year-long responsibilities, including student motivational speaking, volunteering for community service activities, fund- raising and attending local and state sponsored veterans events.

More information about the Navajo Hopi Honor Run escorts, activities and event dates is available from Larry Noble at (928) 313-2876, Bobby Martin at (928) 206-9548 or from the Honor Run Association at (928) 613-8809.

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