Accident claims life of young bull rider
By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
SAN CARLOS, ARIZ., Oct. 17, 2013
(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)
The Indian rodeo family lost one of their own top Navajo bull riders on Oct. 9 when Raynell Harvey died after being struck by a vehicle after the welcoming banquet of the 9th annual International Indian Finals Rodeo.
Harvey, who was 28, who qualified for the IIFR under the All-Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association, like the rest of the IIFR rodeo contestants showed up at the banquet to receive his back number and was ready to compete for a world title.
According to San Carlos Apache Police Department Chief Alejandro Benally, the police report stated that Harvey wandered onto Highway 70, the state highway located directly across the main entrance of the Apache Gold Casino & Resort, and was struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound.
Benally said as the driver of the vehicle approached the intersection he noticed something in his lane and he slowed down as he got closer.
When the driver noticed it was a man - Harvey, he tried turning to avoid a collision but ended up striking Harvey.
"There was no negligence on the driver's side," Benally said.
"This is still under investigation."
Benally said the driver called into dispatch to report the accident.
He said according to the report the call came in at 11:31 p.m. on Oct. 9.
The report stated that Harvey was pronounced dead at scene.
Benally said that alcohol "definitely" played a factor in his death.
Though hazy about the details of Harvey's death, rodeo fans, contestants and families did their part to comfort Harvey's family.
Harrison Charley, commissioner of the IIFR and president of AIRCA, said the IIFR organization donated $500 to the family.
They also returned Harvey's entry fee money of $830 to this family.
Charley said the organization also opened the rodeo for donations to help the family.
During Saturday's performances, helpers took boxes throughout the stands and collected over $800 to donate to the family.
Charley said he didn't see Harvey in person during the banquet but knew he was there to pick up his back number.
Gary Murrey, CEO of San Carlos Apache Gaming Enterprise, said the casino helped any way they could.
He said he and his staff gave Harvey's family a place to stay during their time in San Carlos.
"It's a tragic accident and ...our hearts go out to families," he said.
On Sunday, during the final day of the rodeo, Harvey's family responded to the help they received from the IIFR, Charley, the casino, Smith Photos and others.
The letter also announced that funeral services for Harvey were held Oct.16 in his hometown of Lukachukai, Ariz.