SHIPROCK — The definition of the word rodeo is “a public display of cowboy skills.”

And this will be the first year that the Northern Navajo Nation Fair's will be very public. For the first year, the Open Rodeo events are open to anyone, said Jeri Lowe Scott, the rodeo coordinator, who has been running rodeos since 1994.

“This year's focus is focusing on all age categories,” Scott said.

That can be seen in the fair schedule, which includes several rodeo events each day.

The Exceptional Rodeo, Mutton Bustin' and Kids Corral encourage children to try out different rodeo-related activities.
Tee Jim prepares to lasso a calf during practice Sept. 18 at the Northern Navajo Nation Fairgrounds in Shiprock.
Tee Jim prepares to lasso a calf during practice Sept. 18 at the Northern Navajo Nation Fairgrounds in Shiprock. (Molly Maxwell/Special to The Daily Times)
The Exceptional Rodeo offers younger children the chance to participate in several rodeo-themed events, such as dummy roping, goat tagging, feel and smell, horseback riding and horse grooming.

Navajo Nation schools were invited to bring classes especially for the Exceptional Rodeo. Volunteer cowboys teach children ages 6 to 14 how to rope animals during the Kids Corral. And for those more serious riders, there is the Junior Rodeo, Women's Rodeo, Master's Rodeo and Wild Horse Race.

“(The Junior Rodeo) has more participation than the Adult Rodeo. (Contestants) bring their families. It can be educational, a training system for the Adult Rodeo,” Scott said.

Buckles, custom-made leather briefcases, laptop cases, saddles and jackets are among the many prizes that participants can win. Those interested in participating in any of the rodeo events are encouraged to pre-register. Call one of the Central Entry Secretaries after 6 p.m. to do so.

This information can be found at nnnfair.com on the Rodeo Schedule.

The Sasi School Rodeo Club, along with other riders, practiced Sept. 18 at the Northern Navajo Nation Fairgrounds.

“It's something we've always done, something to look forward to every year,” said Jennifer Tree, who will be competing in the Women's Rodeo and Open Rodeo.

Jeffery Jim, coaches the team, which includes his son, Tee Jim. And he's ready for this year's competitions.

“If you want to ride a horse, Shiprock's the place to do it,” Jeffery Jim said.