Tie-down event lifts Bates to all-around title
By Quentin Jodie
WINDOW ROCK, September 13, 2012
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
M ichael Bates is a top-notch steer wrestler.
That was pretty much a given before this year's Navajo Nation Fair as the 23 year-old Mexican Springs N.M. cowboy earned national qualifications for both the high school and collegiate ranks.
His tie-down roping skills, on the other hand, have been a work in progress.
But he knew that if he could get three good draws in that event, he would have a chance.
Turns out, his performance was nothing short of brilliant as he won the average race in both of his events. And to that end, he was named the men's all-around champion on Sunday afternoon during the 66th annual Navajo Nation Fair.
"I had a pretty good day," said Bates, who pocketed a grand total of $8,846.52. "Everything just clicked for me.
By virtue of finishing on top, Bates will be competing in the 8th annual International Indian Finals Rodeo this weekend in the steer wrestling and tie-down event. The first performance will start on Friday night inside Tingley Coliseum as all the average winners will take park of this grand event.
Prior to this year, Bates said he never gotten close to winning the all-around title here at the NNF, but after he tied up his calf in the short round with an 11.5 second run it became apparent that he had cinched up that title.
"This is my best finish ever," he said. Before this year "I made it as far as the second round in the calf roping, but I just wanted to make a couple good runs today and have the all-around fall where it should."
In his signature event, he tied with Ganado steer wrestler Garrison Begay for second place in the short round with a 4.9 run.
With that he won the average with a 14.3 effort on three heads and netted $3760.22.
"In the first round I drew a very good steer," Bates said. "The second steer was fast and I knew he was going to run and in the short round, I felt like I had a chance."
Behind three solid runs, Tyron Tsosie nabbed second place honor with an 18.1 aggregate. The Crownpoint bull dogger won the short round in 4.5 seconds and after it was all said and done he took home $2,300.36.
Begay, meanwhile, finished third in the average with an 18.7 and cleared $1,452.64. He finished ahead of Mike Holyan (22.8), Myron Lee (23.8) and Kyle Dennison (24.1).
In the final four showdown, Begay won an additional $2,000 as he turned his steer in 4.2 seconds.
"I already knew that I drew a good steer," the Greasewood Springs cowboy said. "I figured I would throw him with a three, but I was a four on him and I'll take that."
Bates finished a close second with a 4.8 while Tsosie turned in a 5.3 run and Holyan posted a no time.
Just like the steer wrestling, Bates won the tie-down event in similar fashion.
After coming back as the second-high call back, he turned in a sizzling run of 11.5 seconds in the championship round and placed fourth.
"I just had to go out there and make sure I got him wrapped," Bates said of his short round draw.
Bates finished his three-run average in 33.4 seconds, which paid him a grand $3,086.30.
Ft. Defiance cowboy Roderick Tso won the short round with a 8.6 and placed fifth in the average with a 37.2 run on three heads.
Kenny Glasses finished second in the average and lost the title by two-tenths of a second with a 33.6 aggregate. But the Rough Rock, Ariz., cowboy claimed the final four with a 9.9 effort and netted $4,334.29 with two grand coming in the showdown.
"I was just trying to be consistent," Glasses said. "The last calf I drew in the short round, it gave me problems so I tried to make the most of it on my final calf."
Despite losing the title by the slimmest margin, Glasses said he was real pleased with his finish.
"It seems like I've been struggling the last two rodeos," he said. "They were pretty big rodeos, but this is not too bad at all. I'll go at again next year."
Third place honors in the average went to Mike Holyan (36.1) as he finished ahead of uncle Ed Holyan (36.9) while Leroy Etsitty rounded out the top six with a 38.0 effort.
In the team roping, Aaron Tsinigine and Victor Begay capped a perfect week by winning both the average title and the final four showdown. As a token, both competitors are scheduled to make an appearance at this year's IIFR finals.
The pair stretched their short round draw in 4.3 seconds for top honors and finished the average race in 15.2 seconds, which was 1.1 seconds better than the effort turned in by Chris Begay and O.J. Williams.
"My header did a really good job," Begay said. "He's a good header and you know after our first draw we started to heat things up. After that I was just having fun."
At press time, the results for the second round were not available, but for three rounds of roping the Tsinigine and Begay pair won a whopping $6,202.13, which included two grand in the final four series.
In that round they recorded a 4.2 run while Chuck Sells and OJ Williams posted a 5.2 run. The team of Tedson Yazzie/Clarence Yazzie and the Chris Begay/OJ Williams pair both posted no times.
With an 18.7 run on three head, the Yazzie pair finished third in the average race ahead of the Sells and Williams pair who posted a 19.5 run. In fifth place Jason Yazzie and Wacey Brady nabbed fifth place honors.