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Meet the Member Tashina Red Hawk
story by Lily Landreth
As the 2019 South Dakota High School Rodeo Queen, Tashina Red Hawk represents the next generation of rodeo. It is a tradition which goes back in her own family to her grandpa, a team roping heeler named Sidney Reddest. The 16-year-old of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in Rosebud, South Dakota, has held all of the Miss Rosebud Rodeo titles—part of the tribal fair that is 143 years strong—since she was a young girl. Running for SDHSRA Queen was the next step. Tashina, who also competes in the association in barrel racing and pole bending, was crowned in June of 2019. “I love to travel, to represent my family and my people, and make new friends,” says Tashina. “I started barrel racing when I was 4 with the help of my uncles and some friends of ours. Horses are a large part of our lives, and on the cultural side, they are sacred and special to us. I love being that role model for other kids, and it inspires me to be a positive leader.” Tashina believes that leading and serving go hand in hand, and she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House this year for her work with the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots. Over the past seven years, she’s helped pass out presents to more than 15,000 youth on and around her reservation.
Rodeo is just the beginning of the family traditions Tashina has been raised in, including traditional dancing and beading, and she is the first of her family to represent rodeo as a queen. Her representation of the SDHSRA is a blend of native and non-native, from events with the National Congress of American Indians, to assisting the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo Committee and Sutton Rodeo Company. In late October, she also participated in activities in conjunction with the Miss South Dakota Rodeo Queen Pageant and PRCA rodeo in Brookings. Prior to winning Miss SDHSRA, Tashina and her family traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April to the Gathering of the Nations Horse and Rider Parade Contest. Tashina and her horse Tokala took first place in the women’s division and won the best of show award in the traditional regalia that she and her family created. Her dad, Shane Red Hawk, took first place in the men’s category.
“My mom (Noella Red Hawk) is my manager, seamstress, and beads most of my earrings, and my dad is my ground crew, so we’re all in it together,” Tashina adds. “My sister, Whitney Reasoner, was my hair and makeup artist at the NHSFR in Rock Springs, Wyoming. My niece, Mickayla, is following in my footsteps and she’s barrel racing and pole bending.” Tashina has a number of role models herself. Among them are her grandpa Sidney, and Jodie O’Brien, who is an inductee in the South Dakota Rodeo Hall of Fame. Tashina met Jodie while competing in an NBHA event, and was mentored by her while training her horses, TM Frenchman’s Lady “Frenchie” and Jazz My Flashlight “Flashy.” “Right now I’m training a pony for my niece, and our 2-year-old stud, He’s a Perkin Miracle. I’m hoping to run him someday in barrels and poles, and possibly breakaway,” says Tashina. “I’m also starting a breeding program, so I’m building a base for that with our stud.” She has learned much of her horse training from her dad. Tashina does ground work with her mom and jockeys horses for her dad.
Also an avid learner in academics, Tashina is a 4.0 GPA student at White River High School. The sophomore plays 12 different instruments between band and choir, and plans to minor in music and attend veterinary school. She is her Student Council’s president, and is working on her prerequisite classes and the Regents Scholarship so she can attend South Dakota State University. Additionally, Tashina is the president of the Mellette County 4-H club, and her next leadership goals are on the rodeo queen trail. “In the near future, I want to run for Miss Teen South Dakota and eventually Miss Rodeo South Dakota, which will lead to Miss Rodeo America.”