PHOENIX, Ariz. – Daniel Tramper, an EBCI tribal member, took 2nd place in the Senior Division at the 21st Annual Heard Museum Hoop Dance Championship Contest on Feb. 6. He was the Senior Division World Champion in 2007 and 2009 and the Adult Division World Champion in 2004. The adult division championship carries with it the title of “World Champion”.
“I was really happy that I got what I got,” said Tramper. “It always feels good to dance. There is nothing like it and I am always glad to represent Cherokee.”
Four-time teen champion Tony Duncan (Apache/Hidatsa/Arikara/Mandan) of Mesa, Arizona, captured his first adult title at this year’s contest. In fact, four brothers from the Duncan family won or placed during the world championship. An estimated audience of 10,000 came to cheer on one or more of their favorites from a roster of 43 hoop dancers from the U.S. and Canada. The Jay Kahn Memorial Fund sponsors the youth competition prizes and the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a supporter of the contest.
Duncan scored 244 points to win the world championship, along with a cash prize of $3,500.
Finishing in second place was Lane Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa) of Dilkon, Arizona, with a score of 234. Third place went to 2008 World Champion Charles Denny (Chippewa/Cree/Northern Ute) from Fort Duchesne, Utah, with a score of 231 points. Fourth place honors went to Jasmine Rae Pickner (Crow Creek Sioux), of Mission, South Dakota. Pickner scored 226 points. Kevin Duncan, a younger brother of Tony Duncan, took fifth place with 230 points, while Lowery Begay (Dineh), of Jonesboro, Tennessee, took home a sixth place prize with 228 points (fifth and sixth places were decided via a tie-breaker dance, one of four tiebreakers during the event).
Hoop dancing incorporates speed and agility as dancers maneuver their bodies through one to more than 50 hoops. Dancers also integrate creative designs and difficult manipulations of the hoops to present a unique variation of the dance. In recent years, as hoop dancers continue to refine and grow their routines, the points scored have climbed, and the point spreads for the adult division continue to grow smaller.
2009 World Champion Brian Hammill (Ho Chunk), of New River, Arizona, brought home his first Senior Division championship with 231 points. Tramper scored 224 points for a second place trophy. Longtime hoop dancer Tommy Draper (Navajo) who calls Kirkland, New Mexico, home took third place with 218 points.
In the Teen Division, Christian Hazell (Metis Nation of Alberta) from Calgary, Alberta, took the world championship home for a second time with 231 points. Sky Duncan, another of the Duncan brothers, placed second with 219 points and Chantika Hazell, younger sister of Christian, won third place with a score of 217 points.
Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa) of Dilkon, Arizona, packed a lot of punch into his pint-sized frame to capture his second Youth Championship title in a row with 239 points. The youngest Duncan to place, Talon, came in second with 231 points, while Qootsvenma Denipah-Cook (Tewa) of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico, scored 209 points to win third place.
The judges included: Jocy Bird (Sioux/Mandan/Hidatsa), of Brookings, South Dakota; Victor Bob (Navajo), from Gallup, New Mexico; Kevin Connywerdy, Comanche, Norman, Oklahoma; Bruce LeClaire (Rosebud Sioux) from Durango, Colorado; and James Pheasant (Eastern Band of Cherokee) from Cherokee.
Bad Medicine, of Carnegie, Oklahoma, led by head singer Joe Fish Dupoint (Kiowa), served as host Southern Drum. The Mandaree Singers from New Town, North Dakota, led by Sidrick Baker (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara), served as host Northern Drum.
The 22nd Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest will be held on Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 4-5, 2012.
– Heard Museum and One Feather staff reports