Navajo Celebs – Rodeo

Three Navajo professional rodeo athletes in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) have brought to light a well-known fact: Navajos can rope! Erich Roger, Aaron Tsinigine, and Derrick Begay are well-known names on the Navajo Nation. Yet, this past year at the WNFR in Las Vegas, Nev., Roger, Tsinigine, and Begay all competed on national television among the best and the most talented of rodeo athletes. All three have competed in the past rodeo world finals, and two—Rogers and Tsinigine—have earned world championship awards and accolades. Even more insightful and interesting is all three were born and raised on the Navajo Nation competing in local rodeos around the Reservation. Rogers is from the community of Round Rock, Ariz., and said rodeo was something he always did since he ‘could walk.’ His father, Ervin Rogers, is a roper as well and was a great influence for him. Tsinigine hails from Tuba City, Ariz., in the Western Agency of the Navajo Nation. He also comes from a long-line of ranchers and ropers. Tsinigine says competing against Navajo cowboys prepared him for what was eventually to come and has been a huge advocate of Native American rodeo athletes to compete at the national-level and follow your passion. For Begay, roping on the arid desert lands was something he did as a rancher son and rodeo participant on the Navajo Nation. Begay and his family have always had horses, cattle, and sheep in their lives. The path to compete on a national-level was something Begay always knew was possible and worked very hard at achieving his dreams. These three cowboys have given credit to Navajo culture and a humble way of life as part of their reasons for success both in and out of the rodeo arena—and in the arena of life.