WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Heith DeMoss is one of the more energetic saddle bronc riders in ProRodeo.
He will be plenty excited this week when he takes his turn on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Miss Congenality during the Navajo Nation Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 4, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 5, and Friday, July 6, at Dean C. Jackson Memorial Arena (because Window Rock is on the Navajo Nation, the kickoff each night will be during Mountain Standard Time, which is not the same as Arizona, which does not recognize Daylight Savings time).
You see, Miss Congeniality has been selected to buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each of the last two years. Based on her performance last week in Pecos, Texas, she’ll be back in Las Vegas this December – she guided Cody Martin to 86 points, good enough to share the victory with Wade Sundell, who rode Carr’s Choir Girl.
DeMoss has played on ProRodeo’s biggest stage four times in his career. He knows as well as anybody that matching moves with the greatest broncs in the game is how he’ll get back to the Nevada desert for a fifth time.
That’s just one of the great match-ups scheduled for Window Rock. In bronc riding alone, there will be NFR cowboys tangling with Carr’s NFR bucking horses: True Lies-Jacobs Crawley, Empty Pockets-Bradley Harter and Trail Dust will be a test for Cody Taton and Cody Wright – Taton won the 2008 NFR average title, while Wright won gold buckles in 2008 and 2010.
There are a few other intriguing match-ups, like Jake Wright vs. Cool Runnings, two-time world champion Taos Muncy vs. Deuces Wild and reigning NFR average champion teamed with Choir Girl, the horse that helped Sundell to the shared victory this last weekend.
Bareback riding will feature a couple of interesting match-ups. The last time Clint Cannon tested his skills on Real Deal, the two shared the eighth-round victory at the 2011 NFR. The last time Wes Stevenson tried his talent on Alberta Child, the young bay horse got the better of the veteran cowboy in Lovington, N.M., last August.
“The first time I got on that horse, I was 88 points,” said Stevenson, a seven-time NFR qualifier. “I felt like I could’ve been a few more points. The last time, I stubbed my toe, and he got the better of me.”
Cannon knows that’s possible with Real Deal, the 2005 Bareback Riding Horse of the Year.
“I always do well on big, strong horses that many people can’t ride and do well,” Cannon said.
Other NFR match-ups include Heath Ford and Showgirl, Caine Riddle on Broken Dreams and Tom McFarland on Hylo Hills.
In bull riding, fans should expect lightening out of Friday Wright on P Diddy, Clint Craig on Illegal Smile and Bryan Richardson on Black Gold.