PHOENIX – The world’s best hoop dancers traveled to Phoenix, Ariz. for the 25th Annual World Hoop Dance Contest at the Heard Museum on Feb. 7-8. Over 70 contestants competed in five categories including: Tiny Tots, Youth, Teen, Adult and Senior.
Richard Bird, an EBCI tribal member, served as one of the judges for the event. “It was an awesome experience, and I look forward to serving as one of the five judges for the next four years. Thanks to Dennis Bowen Sr. (Seneca) for an excellent job as Master of Ceremonies. Also, thank you to Eric Manuelito (Navajo), from Tohatchi, New Mexico, for an excellent job as Arena Director. Special thanks to the singers including the northern drum, Mandaree Singers, and the southern drum, Southern Outlaws. A very special thank you goes out to Darian Begay and staff for an excellent hoop dance contest.”
Nakotah LaRance (Hopi/Tewa/Assiniboine), from Ohkay Owingeh, NM, won the adult division and the title of World Champion with a total of 241 points. He edged former world champion Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw), from Old Oraibi, Ariz. with 235 points.
Terry Goedel (Yakima/Tulalip), from Racho Cucamonga, Calif., won the senior division with 231 points followed by Lowery Begay (Navajo), from Jonesborough, Tenn., with 227 points.
Tyrese Jensen (Navajo/Pima/Maricopa), from Mesa, Ariz., won the teen division with 239 points and Jaron Yazzie (Navajo), from Farmington, NM, won the youth division with 234 points.
Bird added, “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has been well-known for their hoop dance abilities; however, no EBCI tribal members attended the 2015 Hoop Dance Contest. It is important to note that Eddie Swimmer was the first World Hoop Dance Champion, and he is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Daniel Tramper, also an EBCI tribal member, is the only hoop dancer in history to win both the senior and the adult divisions.”
– Richard Bird