Shiprock sits in the northwest corner of New Mexico and is in the heart of the Navajo Indian Nation.
The Navajo Nation Fair is held every year in Shiprock and is the largest Indian fair and rodeo in the United States, with about 60,000 Navajo fair visitors each year. There are a total of twenty-six events that span over a week during the Navajo Nation Fair and Rodeo.
Navajo Nation Fair History
The Navajo Nation Fair Office manages the production of two events, the 4th of July Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Rodeo and Youth Celebration and the Annual Navajo Nation Fair in September.
There are two events that take place simultaneously during the 4th of July PRCA Rodeo and Youth Fair Celebration. Visitors to the event consist of mainly the Navajo people, with attendance at about 15,000 every year. The Navajo Nation Fair Office is developing an aggressive marketing program into the regional, national and international tourism markets.
Local Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association committee members coordinate the Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo each year. The Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo is an event that caters to the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association members and its fans. The event has come to be a favorite stop along the route for professional cowboys. Its popularity is due to the route of the rodeo schedule and rodeo fans that the Navajo Nation has to offer.
Known today most commonly by the name Shiprock, the 1700-foot eroded
volcanic plume is sacred to the Navajos as Tse Bi dahi, or the Rock
with Wings. This name comes from an ancient folk myth that tells how
the rock was once a great bird that transported the ancestral people
of the Navajos to their lands in what is now northwestern New
Mexico. The Navajo ancestors had crossed a narrow sea far to the
northwest (the Berring Strait?) and were fleeing from a warlike tribe.
Tribal shamans prayed to the great spirit for help. Suddenly the ground
rose from beneath their feet to become an enormous bird. For an entire
day and night the bird flew south, finally settling at sundown where
Shiprock now stands. Geologists tell us the rock was formed 12 million
years ago during the Pliocene. The legend of the rock seems more likely
to be a metaphor hinting of the site's magical power to lift the human
soul above the problems of daily existence into an awareness of the
great spirit. From ancient times to the more recent past, Tse Bi dahi
was indeed a pilgrimage place of major importance, the destination
of young men engaged in the rigors of solitary vision quests. The
rock was climbed in 1939. Since 1970, Shiprock has been off limits
to climbers, accorded once again the respect due a Navajo sacred place.