Tohatchi's Dennison wins all-round title in Kayenta
By Quentin Jodie
KAYENTA, Ariz., June 12, 2012
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
A ll along, this year's all-around title at the Kayenta Fourth of July Celebration came down to one event.
Customarily it takes multiple events to win the coveted crown but on paper Kassidy Dennison thought that she was out of contention after she missed her calf in the long-go round in the breakaway roping.
So instead of waiting for the announcement, the Tohatchi, N.M. cowgirl stood in line at the paymaster waiting to collect her check after she swept the barrel racing competition in an impressive fashion.
"Usually you win the all-around in two events and I thought that Spud (Jones) had won it," Dennison said of the three-horse trailer that she was awarded for being the all-around winner last Saturday night.
"He made it back to the short round in two events," she said, "but at the same time I didn't count my chickens before they hatched."
And when it was determined that Jones didn't place in the bull-riding event, Dennison quickly made her way back to the arena to take a closer look at her prize.
"I feel really blessed to win this award because this was Eagles' first run back," she said of her horse. "He got sick so I haven't been traveling as hard."
Dennison said it was a big honor to be named the all-around champion and she wanted to thank the rodeo committee for donating their time and money.
"Their kindness and generosity make this rodeo so special," she said. "I am grateful for that and I want to thank the Lord for blessing me."
Besides winning the trailer, Dennison also took home a trophy saddle as she won the barrel racing average in 33.442 seconds, which was one second better than Melissa Trujillo's two-run average of 34.558 seconds.
All event winners received trophy saddles as well.
Dennison wasn't the only contestant who dominated.
Andy Sells, a Rough Rock, Ariz., bull rider, left the fans in disbelief as he won the average by a whopping 178 total points.
He rode his first draw for 90 points before adding an 88-point ride in the short round. With that he's got his fees paid for this weekend's Wild Thing Bull Riding Championship.
"Last year I kind of slacked around but this year I'm taking it more serious," Sells said. "I try to make every ride look good."
The 19 year-old said everything fell into place for him but he did get a few bumps and bruises on his dismount.
"I have to work on that," he said. "I have to make sure I get off at the right moment."
In a much closer race, Earl Tsosie Jr., edged Delvecchio Kaye for the bareback title.
After winning the long go with a 79-point ride, Tsosie capped his weekend with a 71-point ride on "Beaver Fever".
"I've seen the horse buck a few times and I know he's strong," Tsosie said. "To tell you the truth that horse has been one of the strongest ones I've been on all year long.
"I am happy that I rode him," he added.
In the steer-wrestling event, Lyle Charley nailed down the title by knocking down his draw in 5.46 seconds in the short round, which was enough to hold off the late surge turned in Donovan Yazzie.
As the ninth high call back, Yazzie put down his steer in 3.92 seconds and took over the average race until Charley, who split the first place check with Randy Claw in the long go with a 4.13 run, came through with flying colors.
In the saddle bronc event, Patrick Smith outperformed the other four cowboys who made the short round.
The Steamboat, Ariz. native said he drew the best horse in the pen and he made sure he took advantaged it.
"That horse can really buck," he said of "Try Me", the horse that earned him the top score of 74 points in Saturday's short round and gave him a 147-point aggregate on two heads.
As a three-time Kayenta rodeo competitor, Smith said this was his first saddle he's won here.
"They didn't give out saddles then so it's been awhile," Smith said, adding that the last time he rode in Kayenta was during the 2005 season.
By posting the fastest run in the rodeo, tie-down Roy Begay jumped ahead four spots to claim his first Kayenta win.
The Twin Lakes, N.M. cowboy roped and tied his short-round draw in 8.65 seconds and claimed the average with an 18.94 aggregate.
"They scored on him in that first round so I knew I had a good calf," he said. "I just had to use him and I made a good run."
Begay narrowly beat out Tyrin Alcott (19.70) for the title as the latter cowboy posted a 9.49 run in the short round.
Of the eight events, the tie-down event was the most competitive as two other cowboys posted good runs with Justin Largo (10.51) edging out Nelson Long (10.95) for third place.
The breakaway roping also had it's share of strong competitors as Serena Dahozy came into the short round in seventh place with a 3.21 run in the long go.
But for some reason, the event got a little tight as four contestants came away empty-handed.
That opened the door for Dahozy as she claimed the title after she posted the second fastest time in the short round with a 2.42 run.
"I've been to so many rodeos and you know it gets hard sometimes," she said of the pressure associated with roping. "You just have to go out there and do your best."
And just like Dahozy, the team of Chris Begay and Andre Beard were in a zone as they moved up five spots to win the team-roping title with a 11.22 average on two.
The pair roped their short-round draw in 4.94 seconds and finished second to the team of Blaine Redhorse and Myles John as the latter two finished with a 4.69 run.
But in the end, it was enough to catapult them to the top as they edged Redhorse and John by a mere sixth-hundredth of a second.
"Tell you the truth it happened so fast," Begay said, who found Beard as a last-minute replacement. "I switched partners like four times."
As for Beard, he too was looking for a partner and he was happy that he found Begay.
"I was entered up with someone else but he jumped me for someone else," Beard said. "I had other plans but Chris called me and everything worked out for us."