PHOENIX, AZ – Cody Boettner (Creek) of South Daytona, Florida, captured his first adult title at the 29th Annual Heard Museum Hoop Dance Championship contest on Feb. 9 and 10. Boettner earned a spot in the finals after two preliminary rounds of competitions and took home the grand title and cash prize of $3,500. Boettner faced 21 of the best hoop dancers in the highly competitive Adult Division including past champions Nakotah LaRance (Hopi, Tewa, Assiniboine), Tyrese Jensen (Diné, Pima-Maricopa) and Tony Duncan (San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Hidasta).
Boettner has been part of the top ten hoop dancers for the past three years and came back this year prepared to win it all. With 234 points out of a possible 250, he secured his first title. The 27-year-old master of hoop dancing outshined the other contestants in precision, timing, rhythm, showmanship, creativeness and speed.
Tyrese Jensen, the 2017 champion, placed second in the Adult Division with 225 points and Sampson Sixkiller-Sinquah (Hopi, Pima, Cherokee) finished in 3rd place with 217 points.
For the 28th consecutive year the Heard Museum has hosted the World Championship Hoop Dance contest, a competition that grows every year as dancers continue to refine and grow their routines integrating difficult manipulations of the hoops. This year, over 4,000 people came to support a roster of 81 hoop dancers from the U.S. and Canada that competed in this two-day event.
“The Heard Museum is honoured to welcome dancers and families from across North America to be part of such an extraordinary community and family-oriented event,” said David M. Roche, Heard Museum director and CEO. “This annual competition is a true reunion for members of the hoop dancing community and we are honoured to be its host.”
The Teen Division was won by Nanabah Kadenehii (Diné) from Big Mountain, AZ. This was the third time that Ms. Kadenehii took the Teen Division title. The Senior Division title was taken by Lane Jensen (Diné, Maricopa) from Mesa, AZ.
There were a record number of Youth competitors this year – 27 dancers in total. First place went to two-time Youth Division champion, Kailayne Jensen, (Diné, Maricopa), from Mesa, AZ. Jensen is the daughter of Senior Division Champion Lane Jensen and the sister of second place Adult Division winner, Tyrese Jensen.
Female and male contestants compete against one another in each age division. Two division categories were won by female contestants (Teen and Youth), and two of the five judges were female, including the first-ever female Adult Division Champion, Lisa Odjig (Ojibwe). Nearly half of all competitors were female.
The museum had 14 participants in the Tiny Tots division (age 0 to 6 years), which included a shared cash prize of $500 sponsored by Lightning Boy Foundation and the Duncan Family. The World Championship is split into five divisions — tiny tots (5 and younger), youth (6 to 12 years old), teen (13 to 17), adult (18 to 39) and senior (40 and up). Contestants are judged by a panel of five whose scores are based on speed, timing/rhythm, precision, showmanship and creativity. The contest was emceed for the 28th year by beloved Pow Wow and Hoop Dance legend, Dennis Bowen Sr., (Seneca), with support from Arena Director Eric Manuelito Jr., (Diné). Dancers performed to live singing by two drum groups representing Northern and Southern styles, led by lead singers Kenneth Cozad Jr. (Kiowa, Comanche) and Sidrick Baker Sr. (Mandan, Hidasta, Arikara Nations).
The 29th World Championship hoop dance competition was live-streamed on Facebook and was viewed by people around the world.
Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.
29th Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest Final Results:
Adult Division (18-39)
World Adult Champion — Cody Boettner (Creek), 234 pts.
2nd Place — Tyrese Jensen, (Diné / Pima / Maricopa), 225 pts.
3rd Place — Sampson Sixkiller-Sinquah, (Hopi / Pima / Cherokee), 217 pts.
4th Place — Scott Sinquah, (Hopi / Pima / Cherokee), 209 pts.
5th Place — Patrick Willie, (Diné), 223 pts.
6th Place — Tony Duncan, (San Carlos Apache / Arikara / Hidasta), 213 pts.
World Senior Champion — Lane Jensen (Diné / Maricopa), 214 pts.
2nd Place — Terry Goedel (Yakima), 207 pts.
3rd Place — Moontee Sinquah (Hopi / Tewa / Choctaw), 197 pts.
World Teen Champion — Nanabah Kadenehii (Diné), 212 pts.
2nd Place — Josiah Enriquez (Pueblo of Pojoaque), 190 pts. 3rd Place — Nedallas Hammill (Diné / HoChunk), 190 pts.
World Youth Champion — Kailayne Jensen (Diné, Maricopa), 229 pts.
2nd Place — Rito Lopez Jr., (Pima, Apache, Mandan, Arikara, Hidatsa), 201 pts.
3rd Place — JaiP’o Harvier, (Pueblo of Pojoaque / Santa Clara Pueblo), 176 pts