On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Pete Fredericks, a tribal member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Akira Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes) was inducted into the first Indian National Finals Rodeo Hall of Fame. This happened during the 36th annual Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The INFR had announced earlier this year that they had established the Hall of Fame and that the first inductees would be featured and inaugurated at the finals.
Fredericks was one of the six original founders and commissioners of the Indian National Finals Rodeo, along with Mel Sampson, White Swan, Washington and Fred Gladstone, Bob Arrington, Dean Jackson and Jay Harwood. Only Fredericks and Mel Sampson are still alive.
This is not Frederick’s first induction into a rodeo Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was also inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in the rodeo division. “The Rodeo Division honors individuals who, through their participation in America’s only original sport have distinguished and brought to themselves and the sport of rodeo,” a tribal press release stated.
“We put all major events in that first rodeo; calf roping, break-a-way, barrel racing, bare bronc-riding, saddle-bronc, bull-dogging and bull riding with fifteen in each event,” said Fredericks.
Today’s INFR events are bareback riding, steer wrestling, ladies break away, saddle bronc, tie down roping, team roping, barrel racing, bull riding, men’s all around and women’s all around.
Today, the INFR is much, much larger, attracting large crowds and 30 contestants in each of the major events. Now contestants travel thousands of miles to attend tour rodeos so they can muster enough points to qualify for the INFR.
The INFR currently has 11 Regions within the United States and Canada, incorporating 59 tribes and riders whose ages range from 10 to 80, according to their website. The induction ceremony will be formalized by next year, with guidelines, and nomination forms. They will also contact inductees and their families to have photos, videos, and information on those selected.
“They told me [I was inducted], but I wasn’t sure they would actually go ahead, so I didn’t tell anyone,” Fredericks said. “So I was the only one there, but the others had families there. I didn’t want my family to go and not have anything happen.”