Local cowboys/cowgirls taking aim at nationals


The qualifiers to represent Team New Mexico for the nationals will be decided this weekend at Red Rock Park.

The state finals for the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association and the New Mexico Junior High Rodeo Association are scheduled for May 24-28, as each event will award up to 40 points to year-end standings.

File photo
Tohatchi senior Rooster Yazzie is hoping to improve on last year’s finish in the steer wrestling event with the New Mexico High School Rodeo Association. For the past two years, Yazzie finished as the reserve champion.

The top 4 qualifiers make nationals with the junior high division headed to Huron, South Dakota, June 24-30 and the high school division going to Rock Springs, Wyoming, July 15-21.

There are four local cowboys in the steer-wrestling event that are vying to make nationals headed by Tohatchi senior Hiyo Yazzie. Heading into this weekend’s state finals, Yazzie has accumulated 117 points thus far, which includes two average wins at Artesia and Carlsbad.

“All I did was catch my steers,” Yazzie said when asked about earning the No. 1 seed for this year’s state finals.

With up to 40 points up for grabs, Yazzie concedes that the leader board could change hands at the conclusion of the four-day rodeo with Adriano Duran, Rooster Yazzie and Matthew Jodie nipping at his heels.

Duran of Coronado High is currently in second place with 112 points followed by Rooster Yazzie (110) and Jodie (109).

“All of those guys have a shot at winning but I’m going to try and throw down all my steers,” said Hiyo, who signed with Central Arizona College on a rodeo scholarship. “As long as I catch them I think I’ll be OK.”

With it being his first year going fulltime during the high school rodeo season, Hiyo is a bit surprised that he’s leading the steer-wrestling race. Of the top four bull doggers, he pegged his cousin Rooster Yazzie as the guy to beat early in the season.

“He has a lot of experience,” Hiyo said of Rooster. “I figured he would be winning this deal but after I started racking up points I kept it going.”

As a two-time state runner-up, Rooster understands the importance of this weekend’s rodeo. Last season he was in contention to win the state title but he missed one of his steers and came up six points shy of overtaking the event leader.

“My goal is to get them all caught,” Rooster said.

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Categories: Rodeo

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com