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Indian National Finals Rodeo sports the Tanka Bar

By Mark K. Tilsen, story, and Vonna Victor, photos

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Each year, the best Native American cowboys and cowgirls ride to Las Vegas to compete in the Indian National Finals Rodeo. As part of that exciting event, the Miss Indian Rodeo pageant is held every year.

This year, Tanka Bar was invited along for the show. Pictured above are: candidates Neville Benson of the Yakima Nation, Hannah Yazzie of the Navajo Nation, Tiffany Sinclair (2010 Miss Indian Rodeo) of the Blackfeet Nation and Kelsey Knight of the Cheyenne River Sioux. The pageant judges were: Leah Shendo of the Navajo Nation, Julie Harper of the Seneca/Cayuga Tribe and Karen Titla of the San Carlos Tribe.

According to Indian Rodeo News, the tradition of American Indian beauty pageants in the mid-1950s with the first Miss Indian America pageant held in Sheridan, WY. In the 1970s and '80s, pageants became even more popular across Indian Country. The Indian National Finals Rodeo implemented "Miss Indian Rodeo" in the early '80s.

In the photo with the Tanka Bar banner is Master of Ceremonies Roman McCabe of Tuba City, AZ, and 2009 Miss Indian Rodeo Tonia Yazzie of the Navajo Nation.

On the INFR website, you can get a flavor of the bigger picture beyond the rodeo: "It is the mission of Indian National Finals Rodeo to serve as a living memorial to the Professional Indian Cowboys and Cowgirls, in preserving the traditions and culture of the Indian National Finals Rodeo."

It is an honor have Tanka Bar present even in a small way at such a beautiful event that celebrates our diverse tribes and peoples. We hope in our humble way that we honor these contestants and help give them the recognition they deserve.

For more information:
Indian National Finals Rodeo
Indian Rodeo News

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Previous Comments

C. Begay on Mon Apr 26, 2010 17:48:35
Tonia Yazzie is very beautiful and the nicest person you will ever meet! She did an awesome job in representing the INFR as Miss Indian Rodeo! The INFR is quite an experience!!