Team Redskins

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Team Redskins

Indian Rodeo

The Foundation works together with Tribes, Indian rodeo associations, and native cowboys and cowgirls to help preserve and promote Indian rodeo. The benefits of rodeo extend beyond success in the arena. Participation in rodeo increases self-esteem, fitness, and healthy living, and provides a connection to tradition and heritage in Tribal communities where rodeo and horsemanship hold tremendous cultural significance. Further, rodeo can open the door to educational opportunities. According to the Indian National Finals Rodeo, more Native American students attend college on rodeo scholarships than on scholarships in any other sport.

We are proud to partner with a group of athletes who recognize the importance of Indian rodeo and are working to encourage Tribal youth to become involved in the sport. Our partner athletes have included some of Indian Country’s finest, including Indian World Champions Jakki Hunt, Dakota Louis, Buck Lunak, and Fran Marchand, as well as 15-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Rod Hartness.

 

Meet the Team 

 

Interview with Buck Lunak

Buck Lunak, Blackfeet, representing Team Redskins at RFD-TV’s the American in February 2015 

Q. Where are you from?

A. I’m from Browning, MT and the Blackfeet Reservation.

Q. How long have you been involved with rodeo?

A. I’ve been involved with rodeo my whole life. My Dad was a bareback rider, my uncles…it’s just been part of our tradition.

Q. What does rodeo mean to you?

A. Rodeo means the world to me. It helps pay my bills, it helps puts food on my table, it gives me everything I’ve got today, and I just try to give everything I have to rodeo.

Q. How important is rodeo to your community?

A. On the Blackfeet Reservation, rodeo is very important. Pretty much everybody rides horses and rodeos up there. It’s a pretty big deal up there…All the little kids up there, they love to ride. They start riding about when you learn to walk… The Blackfeet were horse people…and we carry on that tradition today.

Q. What accomplishments in rodeo are you most proud of?

A. My biggest accomplishments would be my 2012 and 2014 INFR World Championships. Also in 2009, I won the Montana circuit finals in the bareback riding. I made the Dodge finals the same year. Also, winning a round this year at the American semi-finals.

Q. You are a World Champion bareback rider, what does that mean to you, and your community, and your family back home?

A. Being a World Champion bareback rider means a lot. Just recently I was honored by my Tribe, which was a huge honor and I’m pretty excited about it. They’re very proud of me and I’m proud to represent them.

Q. What challenges have you had overcome to get where you are today?

A. Injuries have been some challenges I’ve had to overcome. I’ve shattered my ankle, the next year I dislocated my hip, and the following year I lacerated my liver and kidney. 3 years pretty much out, I had to learn how to re-ride and learn how to win again. That was probably one of the hardest things to overcome.

Q. What have you learned from rodeo that you can apply to other areas of your life?

A. I learned from rodeo, discipline and just to start a job to finish it. You have to start from the beginning, you have to prepare, you have to keep preparing, and then you have to capitalize on your goals. You can do the same thing in life I’ve figured out.

Q. What would you like to see done to encourage Native American youth to participate in rodeo?

A. I’d like to see the INFR get youth more involved. I’d like to see some schools, maybe put on these schools and let the kids meet some of us champions. I’d also like to see more youth events in youth rodeo…make it little bit bigger deal because without the youth you don’t have anybody coming up behind you.

Q. How would that fit in with the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana?

A. Right now there aren’t a lot of options where you can go learn, especially there because you are so much secluded from everybody else and out of the loop. I try to go there and help as many kids as I can.

Q. You are on Team Rodeo Redskins. What does that mean to you?

A. To be a part of Team Redskins is a big honor. A Blackfeet actually drew the logo, which I’m very proud of. You get to represent for all the natives, and when I show up to pro rodeos people know that Indian kid there, he’s sponsored by the Redskins and he’s here to win.

Q. What has the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation done to benefit Indian rodeo?

A. I’ve seen a lot. They put a playground in Rocky Boy. I participated in putting a school on in Rocky Boy to help some kids learn to ride bareback horses. They bring in their football players and try to inspire people and talk to kids. It means a lot to kids on reservations to see these people they look up to come talk to them and they can relate to them.

 

Interview with Rod Hartness

Seneca-Cayuga Tribal Member Rod Hartness represents Team Redskins in Corpus Christie, TX

Q. How long have you been involved with rodeo?

A. I bought my PRCA card in 1985, but before then I junior rodeo’d, so I would say most of my life.

Q. What does rodeo means to you?

A. To me rodeo is a way of life. I grew up around rodeo and have been blessed to compete at the highest level in the PRCA.

Q. How important is rodeo to your community?

A. I live in Pawhuska, OK. It is known as the steer roping capital of the world. There is a roping at least once a month so it helps our economy very much.

Q. What accomplishments in rodeo are you most proud of?

A. Well, I would say to make the National Finals Rodeo fifteen times as a Native American, winning Cheyenne, WY, the world’s largest rodeo, winning Pecos, TX twice, Prairie Circuit four times, the Osage Steer Roping Champion ten times, just to name a few.

Q. What challenges and adversity have you overcome to get to where you are today?

A. I’ve had my ankle broken at Pendleton, OR, my hand broken at Ponca City, OK, and tore my ACL at the Ben Johnson roping but thanks to the Good Lord I’m still competing.

Q. What have you learned from rodeo that you can apply to other areas of your life?

A. I’ve learned to be prepared for any situation and to have a good work ethic.

Q. What would you like to see done to encourage Native American youth to participate in rodeo?

A. I think the Washington Redskins have the right idea to get our youth involved in rodeo. It keeps them off the streets and teaches them to work hard for their goals.

Q. What does it mean to be a part of Team Redskins and what has the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation done to benefit Indian rodeo?

A. It’s a great honor for me to be asked to be on the Elite Team Redskins and to wear the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation patch. As a proud Seneca-Cayuga member, the Redskins have helped rodeo and a lot of cowboys and cowgirls to be able to reach their goals. So I would like to say thank you to the Washington Redskins for being a part of rodeo.

 

Interview with Dakota Louis

Team Redskins bull rider Dakota Louis, Blackfeet and Northern Cheyenne, prepares for a ride at the American 

Q. How long have you been involved with rodeo?

A. I’ve been involved with rodeo since I was born. My dad is a bull rider and my mom, she’s a barrel racer. I grew into it. Started riding when I was about 3 or 4 and been riding ever since.

Q. What does rodeo mean to you?

A. Rodeo means the world to me. Growing up its all I ever wanted to do, rope and ride. Now I get to do it every day. I’m pretty lucky.

Q. How important is rodeo to your community?

A. Browning, MT is a pretty big community for the INFR rodeos and everyone around there goes to the Indian rodeos. Everyone goes to it and you have the support from the community so it means the world.

Q. What accomplishments in rodeo are you most proud of?

A. Being featured in the top bull riders in the world on numerous occasions and being the 3-time INFR World Champion. My dad is a 2-time world champion and I got one more than him and that was pretty special for me.

Q. What challenges and adversity have you overcome to get where you are today?

A. I had a horse fall on me when I was a sophomore in high school. It broke my pelvis and ruptured my large intestine. They said I wasn’t supposed to be riding bulls anymore and said if I was to take a hit, it might not be too good but riding bulls and roping is all I ever wanted to do so I’m doing it.

Q. What have you learned from rodeo that you can apply to other areas of your life?

A. …Going down the road sometimes you ain’t doing too good. It takes a toll on you, but when you keep working hard and keep putting forth that second effort it takes you a lot farther.

Q. What would you like to see done to encourage Native American youth to participate in rodeo?

A. I would like to see more schools for the kids and more practices for people to go places. A lot of the kids don’t have the opportunity to do anything. They sit around at home and if they had a place to go and learn how to do each event and be able to practice at it, I think they’d be a big success for all the youth.

Q. You are on Team Rodeo Redskins. What does that mean to you?

A. It means the world. The Washington Redskins are in my corner and are supporting me and helping me live my dream to be a world champion bull rider and with them on my side, it definitely helps. The support means a lot.

Q. How important is wearing the Team Rodeo Redskins logo?

A. For me, the Redskins logo, everyone sees it and they know me as that person that has the Redskins helmet or the Redskins on my vest and being one of the few Native Americans that are riding on the PBR…it’s pretty special…it just feels good to have the support I have. That’s a Blackfeet Tribal logo, so anyone asks about it I tell them I’m representing my tribe as well.

Q. You are a world champion, what does that mean to you?

A. Being a world champion, that all I wanted to be, to be the best in your event that year and to have the piece of hardware that says you are a world champion. No one can take that from you. It means a lot to me.

Interview with Fran Marchand

Fran Marchand, of the Colville Tribe, rides for Team Redskins in Coulee City, WA

Q. How long have you been involved with rodeo?

A. I’ve been involved since I was a young kid. Never really got into it until I lost my mom in an accident and my family took me in and I grew up on a horse after that, about 12 years old.

Q. What does rodeo mean to you?

A. It’s hard to explain, it’s more of a feeling. The crowd, the action, the friends, the family, travelling those long dark roads with those goods friends. That’s what rodeo means.

Q. How important is rodeo to your community?

A. When someone shines, everyone is there to support for 110%.

Q. What accomplishments in rodeo are you most proud of?

A. Good rides that I can look back on and remember. Also, winning the world in the Indian Finals. I was the only man in the INFR for the last two years that’s made it in all three rough stocks.

Q. How difficult is it to get on three rough stock events, bull-riding, saddle bronc, and bareback all in one rodeo?

A. It’s difficult to ride all three. I’d have to say what’s really difficult is your mind. Having to be able to transition your mind and your mental aspect of it. One minute you’re thinking about how to stay on this horse and riding this style, and then you have to go to another event and change that style of riding with different gear.

Q. What would you like to see done to encourage Native American youth to participate in rodeo?

A. Getting them more involved with it. Getting it to where the kids like it instead of where they have to do it. Its hard in the time now because most kids haven’t grown up to be able to ride rodeo…You can teach Native American kids to like the sport, enjoy the sport…we can become role models.

Q. What does it mean to be part of Team Rodeo Redskins?

A. It’s a good opportunity… I get to showcase them and how much they put into me and how much I like to show them off as they’re helping me. It’s a good backbone to have.

Q. What has the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation done to benefit Indian rodeo?

A. What the Washington Redskins do to benefit us Native Americans…they found us and we found them at the same time. They are just helping us and they spot our talent that has never been recognized. They are on it. We are going to give them 110 (%) and we’d sure love them to give us 110 (%) all the way.

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