miss navajo nation contestant

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“Within 45 minutes Miss Navajo Nation contestants Darienne Nez and Devon Gorman were the first team to successfully butcher their sheep.

Maybe it was the idea of winning an $800 pair of new Sysco knives that gave Nez and Gorman the extra oomph they needed to speed through the butchering category.

Not too far behind them were Summer Jake and Ravonelle Yazzie; a bit further were Crystal Littleben and Kayla Martinez.

But although the large crowd attending the sheep butchering and food preparation kickoff to the Miss Navajo Nation Competition Wednesday encouraged them with shouts of “Yéígo!,” Niagra Rockbridge and Kaylee Begay weren’t able to complete the task.

“This is the only pageant where you have to butcher a sheep,” said Master of Ceremonies Pax Harvey.

Then he asked 2004-2005 Miss Navajo Jannalee Atcitty, mistress of ceremonies, if the butchering competition really is that difficult.

“How many of you butcher a sheep?” Atcitty asked the boisterous crowd who yelled back that they do butcher.

“Well, how many have done it with hundreds of people watching you?” asked Atcitty, emphasizing the intimidation and stress she felt when she competed in the butchering contest.”

Navajo Times photos – Donovan Quintero