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EIRA hosts end-of-the-year awards banquet

EIRA Banquet04By Andrea Holata

BRIGHTON — In its 18th year, the Eastern Indian Rodeo Association (EIRA) honored more than 55 of its members Oct. 19 during a banquet held at the Brighton Veteran’s Building.

Leanna Billie and Josh Jumper were awarded the all-around champions for men and women, respectively.

Members competed in rodeo events throughout the year to gain enough points to become all-around champions, reserve champions and qualifiers for the Indian National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Following the blessing of the food by EIRA president Alfonso Tigertail, family, friends and members enjoyed a catered dinner while watching a video of past rodeo competitions. The auditorium was decorated in rodeo fashion with bandanas adorning the chairs and ropes as centerpieces. On stage, tables adorned awards designed for rodeo competitors, including belt buckles, saddles and engraved bags.

“This is a culmination of our year-end rodeos that we had throughout the season,” said Moses Jumper Jr., emcee of the night. “We have a very proud heritage of that.”
Tigertail spoke about the importance of supporting EIRA.

“As EIRA, we look at it as a whole; it’s us. We all have one thing in common and that is we enjoy the sport of rodeo,” Tigertail said. “If it wasn’t for us, we wouldn’t have finished this year…it takes all of us as an effort to make it happen, so I would like to thank each one of ya’ll for your support of the EIRA.”

An audience favorite of the night was the rodeo bloopers, or “Bigg’s Bloopers.” Some watched intently and others laughed out loud.
Awards were presented by Tigertail, junior rodeo queen Aiyana Tommie, senior rodeo queen Breanna Billie and EIRA vice president Mackenzie Bowers.