Sports Highlights from around North America
WPCA – Congratulations to Chuckwagon Driver Kurt Bensmiller and outriders Wayne Wright and Shawn Calf Robe from the Siksika Nation for winning the 2014 Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby at this year’s Calgary Stampede. Sponsored by Tsuu Tina First Nation, the Bensmiller Racing Team took home $100,000.00, trophies and bragging rights at this year’s greatest outdoor show on earth.
This is Shawn’s third championship win with the WPCA during the 2014 season which wrapped up in Rocky Mountain House at the Championship Battle of the Rockies August 13 – 17, 2014. The first win was with Chuckwagon driver Obrey Motowylo who won the dash for cash at the Medicine Hat Show in June 2014 and with Kurt Bensmiller at the 2014 Ponoka Stampede. Shawn wraps up his 20th year as an outrider feeling good and extremely grateful, “This has been a great year and I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support.”
North American Indigenous Games 2014
NAIG – The 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) took place in this year’s hosting city; City of Regina, Saskatchewan. The games ran from July 20 to 27 and brought in youth from across North America. This year’s theme; “Raising the Bar” did just that as over athletes from around North America competed for various sporting events including lacrosse, baseball and basketball. The top three provinces in the medal standings included British Columbia who took home 160 medals, Saskatchewan 159 medals and Ontario with 149 medals. For additional information check out the organizations website at www.regina2014naig.com
Congratulations to all athletes who competed in this years NAIG 2014!
RODEO: IT’S GENERATIONAL, Indian National Finals Rodeo
By Lee Allen
Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) – The concept of FAMILY should be a simple one — a group of individuals sharing a legal or genetic bond. For families involved in the rodeo world, that bond is carried beyond the simple definition. For them, family means anyone in chaps who has ever ridden a horse or roped a horse. The rodeo community — family if you will — is a large one that frequently gets passed down through generations.
Take the Holyan family of Coyote Canyon, New Mexico. Father Ed is an 8-time INFR world champion tie-down roper. Mother Carole is a world champion ladies barrel racer as well as the only female INFR commissioner (whose father, Dean, was a founding member and one of the first original commissioners of the Indian National Finals Rodeo organization). 12-year-old son Dean, who started roping at age 5, is 2013 Junior breakaway champion while 14-year-old daughter Faith made her first INFR adult division appearance at age 10. And let’s not forget niece Kassidy Dennison who is making her own mark in barrel racing, supported by her mom, Debbie (Carole’s sister) and dad Karl, another world champion. Add in Carole’s little sister Charlene, another world champ, and an uncle or two and the image of an extremely large group whose members have a common interest becomes very clear.
“Indian rodeo is very much a family-oriented event,” says INFR General Manager Donna Hoyt, noting that in some events there are families where three or four generations might be competing.
“It’s just something we do,” says Carole Holyan. “In Native cultures, animals are part of the lifestyle. Growing up, my dad had horses and competed in rodeo and because it was something he did, it was something we did. On the Navajo Nation, rodeo is huge, a way of life for a lot of people.”
When the Public Broadcasting System in Wyoming presented a feature story on Indian rodeo, they noted: “Present-day Indian culture encompasses many things including rodeo, which for 40 years has been a professional sport and a nationwide tribal subculture passed from one generation to the next.” To quote song lyrics from the sixties that are appropriate here — “We Are Family.”
Ed Hoylan’s INFR bio calls him, “an All-Around Championship Cowboy considered by many to be the most talented and versatile cowboy in the world.” Over the last decade or so, Holyan has been a dominant competitor in four All Around Championships as well as titles for steer wrestling and calf roping. “A good horse, some finesse, and a ‘no fear’ attitude have helped me reach those pinnacles,” he says. Holyan credits God and the support of his whole family in making possible his arena accolades and that encouragement is evident with wife Carole frequently found near the roping box during tie-down competition.
While those are big shoes to fill, his partner in life as well as in the arena, is no stranger to Indian pro rodeo honors. Her career includes three-time titles in INFR barrel racing, including her first win in the late 1970s at age 11. She also owns an INFR Women’s All-Around Championship (2 times) and Ladies Breakaway Champion as well. Although she no longer competes, there is still a family rivalry about gold buckles. “Ed gives me a hard time sometimes because I haven’t caught up with him yet,” she says.
“Rodeo represents a really large extended family, just something we do and the way we raise our children. Rodeo teaches our youngsters a lot about life from learning necessary skills to compete to the care and feeding of animals — all in the company of family and friends.”
The Holyan family and other inter-generational Native American rodeo families will be on hand to help the largest and longest-running professional Indian rodeo organization in the world “promote and preserve the advancement of professional Indian rodeo” at this year’s INFR championships, November 4-8, in Las Vegas.