Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alamo Man, 91, Celebrates His Birthday In Style

By Nathalie Nance

ALAMO NAVAJO Reservation -- William J. Apachito celebrated his 91st birthday with a jackpot roping party at the Alamo UFO roping arena two weeks ago.
Not only did most of his 12 children and numerous grandchildren show up to celebrate with him, but also several roping-minded friends and their families. The Apachitos provided a big cookout, after which the roping started.
Chris Apachito was the main coordinator for the jackpot roping contest and participated in it himself as well. He also judged the kids’ dummy roping, which proved that there will be no shortage of good ropers in years to come. Augustine Apachito provided the roping steers, but couldn’t rope himself that day, because of a recent injury.
Though there was competition for the prize buckles, saddle blankets and jackets, the ropers switched horses with each other and changed the teams constantly as the event was mainly about having fun with friends and family.
“My grandfather started to put together roping here, then my father and now we do it,” said Augustine Apachito. “Besides dummy roping, we often do goat roping for the kids, too.”
The birthday boy, William Apachito, has been as a cowboy all his life, but now only rides occasionally. He has worked on the Alamo, where he was born, as well as in the Mountainair and Carrizozo areas. Once, he fell from a windmill, broke some bones and had to stay at home for a month, but other than that he seems to have been in the saddle. He often went to rodeos to rope and to ride bulls. He used to train and sell horses. He also taught his children to ride and rope, of course.
“At first he would put you on a little calf, and then they gradually got bigger and bigger,” said Augustine Apachito.
“He taught us grandchildren a lot of things, too, like how to treat animals right” said granddaughter Tia Tenorio. “I love my grandfather.”
“Yes, we want him to go on to at least 110 or 120,” said Augustine Apachito.
Roping results:
Head: 1. Brian Ganadonegro, 2. Arnold Apachito, 3. Gerald Ganadonegro, 4. Roland Mexicano. Heel: 1. Lucas Ganadonegro, 2. Pedro Apache, 3. Lester Hudson

Pictured: William J. Apachito

Photo by Nathalie Nance

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