The 17th Annual World Championship Dummy Roping was exciting and unique in it’s own way. Junior ropers came all the way from Hawaii and organizers expanded entries to include a handicapped junior roper. Between rounds, they hosted a talk show.
In the 5-and-under boys division, Chett Begay of the Navajo nation took top honors after almost not making the trip. They almost didn’t come due to economic concerns, but Chett looked at his mom with his big brown eyes and she couldn’t say no. They arrived in Las Vegas at 2 a.m, the day of the competition and then Chett pulled off the win.
Kamish Wagner repeated last year’s winning performance and took the girls 5-and-under division. This little roper walked to the box with authority and swung her rope like a pro. She was ready to take home all the prizes.
Twenty-one finalists returned on Friday for the short go of the 6- to 8-year-old division, and "girl power" was high as Cori Burdett from Chino, Calif., took over this division. Kash Bonnett from Alberta, Canada was reserve champion. Bonnett and his brothers have all competed in the Dummy Roping and told their mom that the most exciting thing they’ve ever done was going to Vegas to rope in the Dummy Roping and see the NFR.
A special note in the 6- to 8-year-old division was the entry of Caleb Beatty. Caleb’s sister was entered in the competition last year and his mom approached organizers to see if they would allow a handicapped child to participate. When Caleb was up on stage and put his arms in the air with a big smile after roping the dummy, the crowd melted.
Alonzo Begay took top honors in the 9- to 11-year-old group, followed by Garrick Chee. Lauren Costa topped the girls in that division and Jessica Dickens was the runner-up.
As usual, a host of professionals turned out to support the competition, including Russell Cardoza, Charly Crawford, Rich Skelton, Speed Williams, Jett Johnson, Caesar de la Cruz and Derrick Begay.