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News Release

Heard Museum

Tony Duncan, San Carlos Apache / MHA Nations, earned 135 points out of a possible 150 to win the first ever Heard Museum Virtual Hoop Dance Contest. Duncan, a resident of Mesa, Arizona and is well known to local and social media audiences, was the 2011 World Champion, and claimed the top prize of this year’s virtual contest competing in a field of 23 Adult Division contestants. Duncan’s win earns him the top cash prize of $2,500.

Scott Sixkiller-Sinquah, Gila River Pima / Hopi, the 2020 World Champion, took the second-place cash prize of $1,500 with a score of 134 points. The third-place prize of $1,000 went to Tyrese Jensen, the 2017 World Champion, who scored 127 points. The top three prizes were awarded in a highly competitive group of Adult Division dancers, which included Derrick Suwaima Davis, Hopi / Choctaw, a seven-time World Champion.

Top three winners were announced in all four competitive divisions: Youth (age 6-12), Teen (13-17), Adult (18-39), and Senior (40+). The Tiny Tots Division (5 and under) – a crowd favorite, and a non-competitive age division – was also featured in the program. In all, 80 dancers took place in the virtual contest.

The top prize in the Senior Division was awarded to Terry Goedel, Yakama, from Saratoga Springs, Utah. Kailayne Jensen, Diné, also from Mesa, Arizona, took the top prize in the Teen Division. Jensen won the Youth Division in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and took the Teen title in her first year competing in that age division. Both Goedel and Jensen scored the highest overall point count in the contest, each with 138 points.

The event included public voting for its first-ever “Viewer’s Choice” awards. Dancers in each age division whose contest videos received the most “likes” on YouTube will each receive a $250 cash prize.

Since 1992 the Heard Museum has been home to the World Championship Hoop Dance contest, a competition that intensifies every year as dancers continue to add increasingly difficult movements to their routines integrating difficult manipulations of the hoops. Dancers’ scores are based on five judging categories: precision, timing, rhythm, showmanship, creativity and speed. This year online viewers watched a roster of 80 hoop dancers, representing 40 Tribes from the U.S. and Canada, making it one of the biggest competitions in the event’s history.

“The Heard Museum has been honored to host this contest for 30 years, and although this year’s event was virtual, it was just as riveting as ever” said David M. Roche, Heard Museum Dickey Family Director and CEO. The Heard Museum determined to shift the event – which typically draws up to 5,000 spectators – to an online format in response to the pandemic.

The online program was emceed by Dennis Bowen, Sr. who has hosted the contest from its first year at the Heard Museum in 1992. The online program was produced and directed by Eric Hernandez, Lumbee. Hernandez, a performer and past competitor, is a veteran of Cirque du Soleil and founder of the popular social media group CirqueLife.

2021 Heard Museum Virtual Hoop Dance Contest Final Results:

Adult Division (18-39)

1st Place: Tony Duncan, San Carlos Apache / MHA Nations – 135 Points - $2,500 prize

2nd Place: Scott Sixkiller-Sinquah, Gila River Pima / Hopi – 134 Points - $1,500 prize

3rd Place: Tyrese Jensen, Diné / Pima Maricopa – 127 Points - $1,000 prize

Viewers Choice: Josiah Enriquez, Pueblo of Pojoaque - $250 prize

Senior Division Winners

1st Place: Terry Goedel, Yakama / Tulalip – 138 Points - $1,500 prize

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2nd Place: Moontee Sinquah, Hopi / Tewa / Choctaw – 128 Points - $1,000 prize

3rd Place: Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Ojibway – 117 Points - $500 prize

Viewer’s Choice: Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Ojibway – $250 prize

Teen Division

1st Place: Kailayne Jensen, Diné – 138 Points - $750 prize

2nd Place: Rito “RJ” Lopez, Akiemel O’odham / San Carlos Apache / Arkara / Hidasta / Mandan – 126 Points - $500 prize

3rd Place: Mitchell Shonkwaiataroroks Gray, Mohawk – 125 Points - $350 prize

Viewers Choice: Joseph Romero, Pueblo of Pojoaque - $250 prize

Youth Division Winners

1st Place: Mateo Ulibarri, Pueblo of Pojoaque – 134 Points - $350 prize

2nd Place: Jai’Po Harvier, Pueblo of Pojoaque – 133 Points - $200 prize

3rd Place: Isiah George, Santa Clara Pueblo – 123 Points - $150 prize

Viewers Choice: Keeli King, Eastern Shoshone - $250 prize

The full video can be viewed on YouTube below.

About the Heard

Since 1929, the Heard Museum, a private non-profit organization, has enchanted visitors from around the world with the art, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas. With more than 40,000 fine artworks and cultural artifacts in its permanent collection, 12 long-term and changing exhibition galleries, an education center, an award-winning Shop, the Books & More boutique bookstore, Coffee Cantina and Courtyard Café, the Heard Museum is a place of learning, discovery and unforgettable experiences.

Exhibition, event and program funding are supported, in part, by the generosity of Heard Museum members and donors, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In association with the Smithsonian, the Heard Museum is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation.

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