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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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South Dakota Dominates 2015 Indian National Finals Rodeo
by Natalie Hand - Lakota Country Times correspondent
Jordan “Slick” Phelps competes at the 2015 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Alice Phelps

LAS VEGAS—Perseverance, hard work, and above all else, family/community support is what makes a great athlete.

For the second straight year, Jordan “Slick” Phelps, an Oglala Lakota/Dakota cowboy from Thunder Valley SD, is the 2015 Indian National Finals Rodeo Bull Riding Champion.

“There’s no greater feeling than winning the ‘world’ back to back! My greater focus is the American semi-finals. I’m gonna work hard to have a better showing than last year. I want to thank everyone for their continued support," stated Phelps.

Jeremy Meeks, of Interior, SD, won the gold buckle in the Saddle Bronc category. Meeks pulled in a 74 point ride in the short go to bring his overall average up to 274 points which secured his world championship title.

Long Valley cowboy Joe Wilson garnered the coveted “All-Around Cowboy” title, winning not only the championship saddle, buckle and jacket, but also a brand new horse trailer at this year’s INFR.

Steven DeWolfe, of Cuny Table, won the 4th Go Round in the Bareback event. Ironically, DeWolfe was contestant #83 and he scored 83 points to win the round. “83 was a good number for me to win the short go last night with 83 points”, noted DeWolfe on social media.

Kade Bettelyoun, the 2015 Miss Oglala Lakota Nation Rodeo Queen, at the 2015 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by JoDee Bettelyoun

Kade Bettelyoun, 2015 Miss Oglala Lakota Nation Rodeo Queen was also representing at 2015 INFR.

“I had them most amazing time! Carrying flags and working the arena was a wonderful experience. It was an honor to share the arena with such talented cowboys and cowgirls from all over the nation," Bettelyoun said. "I enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing all the different cultures. It was awesome to represent my tribe at such a prestigious event.”

Three stock contractors from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation participated in this year’s INFR including 3 Mile Creek Rodeo, Wilson Rodeos, and Waters Stock Contractors.

Overall, South Dakota dominated the championship round. Elliot Gourneau and Lynn Williams took the Team Roping championship. Sloan Anderson is this year’s barrel racing champion and “All-Around Cowgirl”.

Phelps’ and family intend to host a “Bull Riders Only-Open Challenge” event on December 18, 2015, at the James Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City, SD. The challenge is open to 40 bullriders, with 15 having a chance at the short go round. The event offers a $5,000 added purse and registration begins December 1st.

“Slick wants to do this to give back to the sport that has treated him so well”, noted mother Alice Phelps. She added that they are looking for additional sponsors to help support the event.

Joe Wilson, left, was named “All Around Cowboy” at the 2015 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeremy Meeks was named Saddle Bronc World Champion, his third world champion title. Courtesy photo
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