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Indian National Finals Rodeo gears up for big crowds in Las Vegas






The Indian National Finals Rodeo takes place November 8-12, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Jamie Arviso / Jamie Arviso Snapshots

One of Indian Country's biggest events is quickly approaching.

The 41st annual Indian National Finals Rodeo takes place November 8-12. More than 400 riders and ropers are expected at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete for cash prizes and other awards.

"Once again, this year will be even better than last year with an additional increase in prize dollars --- $350,000 in cash along with saddles, gold buckles, coats, horse trailers, and other product prizes ---increasing the total value of the winnings to over $800,000," general manager Donna Hoyt said in press release.

“As the payouts continue to increase, the popularity of the event continues to grow, and as more people hear about us, we’re hopeful of setting new record numbers of fans this year as well," Hoyt added.

In addition to contests like calf roping and barrel racing, the event includes the Miss Indian Rodeo pageant. The current title holder -- Eugenia Shannon-Kirk, a member of the Navajo Nation -- will be handing the reins to a new winner on November 11.

The Indian National Finals Powwow and a hand game tournament also return this year.

"Historically, Indian rodeos used to include a powwow and we’re glad to see that return of tradition," said INFR Commissioner Frank Whitecalfe, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.