When Derrick Begay and uncle James Begay win the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this past November, both accomplished one of the first goals they'd had in the sport of team roping.
They roped four steers in 28.72 second at the South Point Casino's Equestrian Center.
"It was one of my first goals when I started roping," Derrick said. "My uncle has been my second partner my whole life, and he's my neighbor, too. He's been roping with me since I started."
The duo broke the barrier on their first steer and battled back in the last three rounds for the win, including a 3.8-second run on their last steer.
"I never thought it was possible for me to go 3.8," James said. "Derrick made the whole difference, he got it on fast and set it up fast. I took the first shot I could take. As soon as I got there I saw it and I took it."
Although Derrick has wanted to win the INFR his whole career, he said that it's probably best he didn't win the title earlier.
"The timing was right," Begay said. "I got to win it with my uncle, and if I would have won it years ago, I wouldn't have appreciated it as much as I do now. All of the tough things that go with rodeoing, the miles, the expense, the long hours, it's better that I can appreciate what this means now. This is our biggest stage for the Indian rodeos. It's the finals. So, it's a big deal. To compare it to the NFR, the lights are brighter in the Thomas & Mack, and the money is better, but there's something about the Indian Finals that means there is more history for me, being Native American and winning it."
Bareback: Cody Parker
Steer wrestling: Joe Wilson
Breakaway: Sheila Sells Denny
Saddle bronc: Jesse Colliflower
Tie-down roping: Walt White
Team roping: Derrick Begay and James Begay Jr.
Barrel racing: Kassidy Dennison
Bull riding: Dakota Louis
Women's All-Around: Brittany Bird
Men's All-Around: Cameron Bruised Head