Code Talkers Being Honored at the Side of 3 World Champions in Rio Rancho

Championship Bull Riding announced today that Veterans of World War II nicknamed Code Talkers, who were depicted in the 2002 film Windtalkers, will be honored on Saturday night at the Santa Ana Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico at the fourth annual Bucking on the Rio Grande presented by Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.

“Each and every performance of the CBR is dedicated to the United States Armed Services and and this week we are honored to join our presenting sponsor Navajo Parks and Recreation Department in presenting a plaque to two of the 14 living Navajo Code Talkers, Thomas Begay and David Patterson who live in the Albuquerque area,” announced CBR Chief Executive Officer, Benny Cude.

Joining Tuff Hedeman and the rock stars of rodeo on the dirt inside the Santa Ana Star Center will be two of the Navajo Code Talkers, the elite group of Marine recruits whose native language was used to create a code that proved to be unbreakable by the Japanese during World War II.

Because the military didn’t declassify documents acknowledging the Code Talkers’ role in the war until 1968, their accomplishments were unheralded for decades.

The original 29 Navajo Code Talkers, who developed the code, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001. Their compatriots, which numbered about 500, were awarded Congressional Silver Medals.

Up on the chutes and in the news is eighteen year old Navajo champion bull rider, Cody Jesus from Sawmill, Arizona, who will take on Sage Kimzey, the five time World Champion and reigning CBR and PRCA World Champion, last year’s champion Jacob O’Mara, ERA World Champion Chandler Bownds, IPRA World Champion Corey Bailey, and many National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and elite athletes brought to Rio Rancho by Tuff Hedeman and Championship Bull Riding.

Hedeman issued the special invitation this week to Jesus based on the young bull rider’s accomplishments. Jesus is the Championship Roughstock Challenge 2016 Champion, 2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo Champion, and 2016 Northern Navajo Nation Fair Bull Bash Champion, 2016 Champion for the Navajo Nation Rodeo Cowboys Association, and the Southwest Indian Rodeo Association Champion. Jesus will be signing autographs in the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation booth on the concourse of the Santa Ana Star Center from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. before the event.

Kimzey, the reigning CBR World Champion Bull Rider, rode six of his ten bulls at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to win his third Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association gold buckle and recently surpassed the million-dollar mark in career earnings with $1,003,819 to become the PRCA’s youngest millionaire.

“Any time you get to rewrite the record books it’s always pretty special,” Kimzey said.

 “I think my motivation and dedication to the sport have been the keys to my success,” continued Kimzey.

Joining Jesus and Kimzey on the dirt will be several highly decorated champions and multiple National Finals Rodeo qualifiers including Cody Rostockyj, ERA World Champion Chandler Bownds, IPRA World Champion Corey Bailey, Rorey Maier and two-time CBR event winner Jeff Askey.

New Mexico’s Travis Briscoe is on the roster and as well as 18 year old Boudreaux Campbell who was last week’s winner in Hobbs. Campbell, a high school senior is challenging the CBR World Standings as a rookie rider sitting in third place, just five points behind second place Eli Vastbinder.

The funny man in and outside the barrel will be Justin Rumford, the 2014 NFR Barrel Man and five time PRCA Clown of the Year. Stepping in at every turn and keeping the bull riders out of harm’s way will the Get Famous Energy bullfighters.

The Bucking on the Rio Grande, presented by Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation along with Ram Rodeo is a premier event on the CBR’s Road to Cheyenne tour features a three round tournament style event ending in a final four Shootout Round awarding $30,000 to the bull riders.

LOCATION: Santa Ana Star Center – 3001 Civic Center Circle – 505-891-7300

DATE: Saturday, January 28, 2017

6:30 pm                Doors Open Santa Ana Star Center

7:00 pm                Autograph Sessions, Cody Jesus - Navajo Parks Recreation Booth located on concourse

                            CBR Famous Energy Bullfighters - CBR Merchandise Booth at entrance

8:00 pm                Bucking on the Rio Grande Bull Riding

10:00 pm              Tuff Hedeman and riders sign autographs on floor of the arena 

TICKETS: 888.694.4849, or in person at Don Chalmers Ford Box Office at the Santa Ana Star Center.

For interviews, press credentials and more information please contact Leigh Ann Schroeder 940.902.1112 or,

Navajo Code Talkers - The Navajo Code Talker statue at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, located in front of the Arizona state capitol, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona in June 2013. The bronze sculpture is by Oreland Joe, a Dine’ and Ute artist, and a member of the Cowboy Artists of America. An identical version of this Navajo Code Talker memorial design is located on the Dine’ Reservation. The principal of the high school that the artist attended was a former member of the Navajo Code Talker unit and that he had personally inspired him to study art, leading to this authentically researched design. Navajo Nation school students held penny drives to officially commission the first Code Talker memorial design. The sculptures incorporate the names of the Navajo Code Talkers program, including each of the “Original 29” code talkers who went on to form the 382nd Platoon, United States Marine Corps, famous for developing the secret Navajo language military code. This sculpture location was commemorated on February 28, 2008.