Miss Indian Rodeo 2021 is Tigh Livermont of Wanblee, South Dakota. She was crowned during the Indian National Finals Rodeo at the South Point in Las Vegas Oct. 19-23, 2021.
Livermont has been involved with rodeo her whole life, following in her family’s footsteps. Her desire to be a rodeo queen was sparked after meeting an inspiring woman. “When I was six years old, my parents took me to the Black Hills Stock Show, and that’s where I met Selena Ulch Pope [Miss Rodeo America 2005]. The warmth and kindness that she showed to me–I thought ‘That’s what I want to embody. That’s the person I want to be,’” Livermont says.
What Livermont is most looking forward to is traveling and representing her title across the nation this year. She is excited to attend the Calgary Stampede, visit southwestern states, and especially rodeos closer to home in the Great Plains and Northern Badlands Region. Due to Covid uncertainties, many INFR tour rodeos are not scheduled at this point.
Yet, Livermont would like to represent her title in whatever capacity she is able. Following the lead of Miss Rodeo America, Jordan Tierney–also from South Dakota–she would like to host online classes to teach the basic tenets of becoming a rodeo queen, if she cannot host them in person. “I thought that was a really neat idea: reaching people regardless of her circumstances, and that’s what I want to do, too. Even though I can’t necessarily be there, I still want to help other people,” she says. “I wanted to host clinics for young girls to help get their foot in the door for queening. I hope to start an online queening program that is free to all ages for moms and aspiring rodeo queens, showcasing the basics of it all. I do want to travel a lot, but due to Covid restrictions that may or may not be a possibility, but I will do so to the best of my ability,” she says.
Livermont is steeped in the ranching lifestyle. Having been raised on a ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, she recognizes the values she grew up with. “The ranching and rodeo lifestyle is: helping each other out, learning about hard work, and learning that you have to build your way up and be humble the entire time, and always being grateful for what you are given,” she says.
According to Livermont, the horse she competed on in Vegas during the ambassador competition was named “Núŋpa—which is the Lakota word for ‘two’. He was named this because my brother Henry had two full brother red dun horses—so he named them Waŋží (one) and Núŋpa. Me and Henry traded horses and I’ve had Núŋpa for about 6 or 7 years now,” she says.
Núŋpa started out as a ranch horse but transitioned nicely into the life of a rodeo queen’s horse and helped her to clinch the horsemanship award, as well as her title. The largest and most fun category for Livermont was the horsemanship section. She also won the categories of traditional presentation–where the ladies dressed in traditional regalia and explained the significance of each part–and Miss Congeniality.
Livermont has a passion for serving others. Humility and consideration of others are key values for everyday life, and have translated to success in queening. “I’m proud of… having those virtues of helping others. In our culture, it’s “Wólakȟota”, which is being very peaceful, and “Mitákuye oyásiŋ” is looking out for your other relatives, because we are all related and we all have to help each other. It represents respecting your oyáte (tribe/nation) and a reminder to us that we are all connected and to take care of all of your relatives (two-legged, four-legged, and Mother Earth),” she says.
In 2017, Livermont was Miss Oglala Lakota Nation. She also competed for the titles of Miss Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo and Miss Black Hills Roundup in the past. “Those were very good learning experiences. I learned what I need to do to tune myself on in order to be a better rodeo queen and shape myself,” she says.
“The number one message I want to spread to people is to be the best version of yourself. The only person you are competing with, not only in the rodeo queen setting but in life, is yourself. Working on your skills, learning how to be the best version of yourself is what I want to spread to others, whether it be in or out of the rodeo arena,” Livermont says.
Preparing to win this title has been a balancing act. Livermont is not only a full-time teller at Security First Bank in Rapid City, but she is also a part-time student at Casper College. After obtaining her Associate’s Degree of Agricultural Business and Sciences, she plans to transfer to Oglala Lakota College to obtain her Bachelors in Business Management. “Having the experience in the banking industry, I hope to be a loan officer for the agricultural community one day, and be an advocate for them,” she says.
South Dakota and surrounding states were well represented at the INFR. “All athletes—both two and four legged—really proved how strong rodeo in Indian Country really is. It was awesome to witness multiple South Dakota cowboys and cowgirls work the arena and even have a few walk away with world titles,” Livermont says.
INFR Tour Rodeo champions from the Tri-State Livestock News area include:
Bull Riding: Preston Louis of Browning, Montana,
Bareback Riding: Steven DeWolfe of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota
Steer Wrestling: Tyler Byrne of Martin, South Dakota
Tie-Down Roping: Marty Watson of Box Elder, Montana
Junior Barrels: Kashlin Bettelyoun of Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Senior Team Roping: Don Bettelyoun of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Area World Champions include:
Saddle Bronc Riding: Cole Elshere of Faith, South Dakota
Barrel Racing: Tatum Ward of Whitehorse, South Dakota
Steer Wrestling: Nolan Conway of Cut Bank, Montana
Source: Tri-State Livestock News