Window Rock, AZ This was not what they expected.
However, for the 'Highway 160' team of Don Hunter, Ryan Smith,
and Herb Smith, the type of horse they drew came as a complete surprise.
Unlike their previous runs, the trio may have picked the best
equine in the finals of the Wild Horse Race at the Navajo Nation
Fair on Sunday.
"We drew a nice white horse," Hunter said, the team's mugger.
Their draw was perhaps the most cooperative horse, as Hunter
and Ryan Smith had little to no trouble in taming the unbroken horse.
"We got her cleared from the chute and I mugged her real fast,"
"This one was more solid but for some reason she kind of stayed
there," Ryan Smith added. "It worked out perfectly but it was the
luck of the draw."
With an accommodating horse the two competitors helped rider Herb
Smith get their horse saddled with the latter riding around the barrel
for a first place finish.
The win on Sunday earned the team bragging rights to a second
consecutive Navajo Nation Fair title.
"It makes it that much sweeter," Hunter said of repeating as
They finished ahead of Team Travis Allen and Team BGB.
"I'm feeling real good right now," Ryan Smith said. "As long
as I have been racing I have never heard of anyone winning it back-to-back.
That is pretty special, especially here at the Navajo Nation Fair."
Ryan Smith said they had a much tougher draw during Friday night's
qualifying round as they placed second to make Sunday's finals.
"We talked about what we did wrong," Ryan Smith said. "We put
it all together and the end result was another championship win."
"I am so proud of my team," Herb Smith said. "I want to thank
my family and Ivan Brown for making our saddle."
On opening night, Herb Smith rode with a different team that
featured shank man Kanasta Stewart, the only female participant.
"We placed second but we got disqualified," Herb Smith said.
The Oak Springs rider competed in three rounds at the Navajo
Nation Fair and in two of those rounds he was fitted with a camera
to record the chaotic event.