Derrick Begay, a 38-year-old team-roping cowboy from Arizona, is the epitome of the American cowboy. Begay is from a small community on the Navajo Reservation, called Seba Delkai, located 50 miles north from Winslow, Arizona. He is 99.9% Navajo and proud of it. He is a high school graduate from Winslow High School and also has his Associates Degree in Industrial Arts from Northland Pioneer College. Derrick Begay is a champion team roping header who has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo eight times.
2014 was a rough year for Derrick Begay and also the first year he did not qualify for the Wrangler National Finals. That year, Begay watched the finals from the stands, seeing friends like Aaron Tsinigine, Erich Rogers, and Dustin Bird show the crowd how it’s done. At first, Begay was not so bothered by his missed chance to participate in the finals, but after watching from the sidelines and gaining a new perspective, he discovered a new type of motivation and inspiration for the sport. Consequently, Begay turned everything back around in 2015 with his new heeling partner, the famous Clay O’ Brien Cooper. Roping with Cooper had always been a dream for Begay.
It isn’t uncommon to see Derrick on the back of his trusty steed working as a pickup man for the PBR as well. Being local to Arizona, it is always a huge treat to his name entered in a local rodeo such as Roots N Boots Rodeo in Queen Creek, Parada del sol Rodeo in Scottsdale or even some of the lesser-known ones. I can vividly remember a time I was personally working an Indian rodeo in San Carlos, Arizona and Derrick was entered in the Team Roping. I was loading cattle in the front and I caught him in the alley talking to a young cowboy. The moment caught me by surprise but the quiet moment has stuck with me. He is one of the most upstanding, humble, and caring cowboys on the circuit today.
On a more personal level, Derrick Begay is fond of hunting, fishing, cooking, relaxing and visiting with friends and family, and of course, cowboying. Among his favorite grub is his mom’s cooking, Cracker Barrel, Texas Road House, Outback, Waffle House, and What A Burger to name a few.
Derrick has a pet dog named Emma, and his horse’s name is Swagger. He does not appreciate rude people and realizes that the most influential people to whom he is most grateful in his life are his parents. Mr. Begay’s favorite athletes that we are all familiar with include Kaycee Field, Trevor Knowles, Cody Wright, Sherry Cervi, JB Mauney, JW Harris, Clay O’ Brien Cooper, and Kobe Bryant.
Derrick Begay is one that will go down in the rodeo history books. He is memorable for several reasons and it seems that everyone remembers him for different things that he has achieved over his rodeo career. At the end of the day, Derrick is a cowboy, an American cowboy who stands for all the right things. He remains a favorite of mine and many others. If you have the chance to watch him rope, you won’t regret it, at least you will be able to say that you have seen a legend. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to watch this short film on Derrick that was put together by YETI and Vice Sports. It is phenomenal! I hope you enjoyed this spotlight on the one and only, Derrick Begay.
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