Nakota LaRance wins title of World Champion at the 28th Hoop Dance Contest.
On Feb. 11, 2018, LaRance (Hopi-Tewa, Assiniboine) of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, two-time champion in 2015 and 2016 reclaimed his title against a highly competitive field, earning 233 points of a possible 250 to win the adult world hoop dance title at the 28th-Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.
Nakota won a $3,500 cash prize in a performance that displayed strength, skill and innovative moves. Scott Sinquah (Hopi, Gila River Pima, Cherokee) of Hopi, AZ topped former champion Tyrese Jensen (Diné, Maricopa), of Mesa who finished in 3rd place.
Seventy-five contestants from the United States and Canada competed Feb. 10 and 11 in the museum’s Libby Amphitheater in youth, teen, adult and senior divisions. The museum was honored to have 21 participants in the Tiny Tots division (age 0 to 6 years), which included a shared cash prize of $500 sponsored by Lightning Boy Foundation.
Nearly 5,000 people watched the two-day event; the Facebook live stream reached more than 1.2 million people all over the world.
Dancers were judged on their precision, timing and rhythm, showmanship, creativeness, and speed.
The museum welcomed the first Hoop Dance Champion, Eddie Swimmer (Eastern Band of Cherokee), as a judge and for a special exhibition performance on Sunday. Eddie won the first championship in 1991.
World Adult Champion — Nakota LaRance (Hopi-Tewa, Assiniboine), 233 pts.
2nd Place — Scott Sinquah (Hopi, Gila River Pima, Cherokee), 224 pts.
3rd Place — Tyrese Jensen (Diné, Maricopa), 223 pts.
4th Place — Tony Duncan (San Carlos Apache, Mandan, Arikara, Hidatsa), 221 pts.
5th Place — Michael Goedel (Yakima, Tulalip, Lumbee), 218 pts.
6th Place — James Jones (Plains Cree), 217 pts.
World Senior Champion — Lane Jensen (Diné/Maricopa), 228 pts.
2nd Place — Moontee Sinquah (Hopi, Tewa, Choctaw), 220 pts.
3rd Place — Terry Goedel (Yakima), 227 pts. (Based on a tiebreaker with Brian Hammill)
World Teen Champion — Ascension Harjo (Mohawk, Kickapoo, Seminole), 232 pts.
2nd Place — Jaron Yazzie (Diné), 224 pts.
3rd Place — Josiah Enriquez (Pueblo of Pojoaque), 191 pts.
World Youth Champion — Kailayne Jensen (Diné, Maricopa), 230 pts. (Based on a tiebreaker for 1st and 2nd place)
2nd Place — Rito Lopez Jr. (Pima, Apache, Mandan, Arikara, Hidatsa), 213 pts.
3rd Place — Jerry Hunt (Diné), 192 pts
The Heard congratulates all the winners and all competitors for an incredible event.