Trevor Waters, a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, recently competed in the All-Indian Junior Rodeo on February 4, which was part of the 73rd Annual Tohono O’odham Nation Rodeo and Fair in Sells. Waters competed in the Senior Division, for 14- to 17-year-olds. “I participate in that rodeo all the time,” said Waters, 16.
Waters and his partner, Kyon Jensen, who is from Winslow, entered the team roping event, and they took the championship buckle in their division. Water and Jensen met through the rodeo circuit. Waters can add this new buckle to the eight other rodeo championship buckles he has won in the past, along with a saddle and cash winnings.
Waters explained that in team roping, the team is composed of a header and a heeler. The header has to catch the animal’s head and the heeler has to catch the two hind legs. There are three legal head catches: half head, full head or around the horns. If the heeler catches only one hind leg, the team gets a five-second penalty. The team that ropes the animal in the fastest time wins.
“I’ve been swinging a rope since I was little. When I noticed I was getting better at it, I started to take it serious and participate in different events,” said Waters.
The 16-year-old follows the rodeo circuit. There are a lot of rodeo events around the Valley, he said, and he is competing in a rodeo almost every weekend.
He practices every day, from the time he gets out of school until the evening. Not only that, whenever he is just walking around he always has his rope with him, and he’s constantly roping something.
Waters also played baseball and football at Salt River High School and the recreation leagues in the Community.
He participates in rodeos around Arizona and has not been to out-of-state rodeos yet. “I want to start bull-dogging (which is to throw a steer down by seizing the horns and twisting the neck) and I want to calf-rope too,” said Waters about his future plans.
“It’s neat watching him grow up, because he started off sheep riding, then steer riding and junior bulls, and because of his growth he then started riding horses instead of the bulls,” said Waters’ mother, Selena Espinoza. “He has had a lot of great mentors, like his family members and his grandmother Ramona Loring, [who attend] all the rodeos.”
“I want to thank my mother for all that she is doing too,” said Waters.