Las Vegas, NV – April 19, 2018 – The annual Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention officially kicked off Tuesday night, April 17th with the Chairman’s Welcome Reception hosted by NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.
The reception held poolside at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and brought together tribal leadership, gaming professionals and industry leaders to network and recognize dignitaries and special guests.
NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., welcomed attendees, “It is exciting to see our Indian gaming industry converge upon the city of Las Vegas. Tonight, we officially kick-off Indian Gaming 2018. We look forward to presenting you with the great events we have planned that will celebrate the hard work of our tribal government gaming success.”
Native Stand-up Comedian Tatanka Means was presented with the NIGA “Entertainer of the Year” award by the gaming association board. Means is an award-winning actor, stand-up comedian and motivational speaker. He headlined the event and took to the stage to bring laughs and entertainment to the audience.
NIGA also recognized the 7G Youth Ambassadors, who were selected by the National Football League (NFL) to represent the newly established Native American Youth Football Ambassador program. Chairman Stevens presented those ambassadors in attendance with a ceremonial eagle feather to acknowledge their accomplishments.
Stevens said, “These young, energetic ambassadors for Indian Country sports are some examples of success. They are some of today’s Indian country Warriors leading us into the future.”
The final recognition of the evening by the NIGA board went to the 2017 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Team Roping Champion from the Navajo Nation Erich Rogers. Rogers and his partner, team roping legend Cory Petska were crowned the 2017 PRCA World Champion Team Ropers when the dust settled after ten rodeo go-round performances at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in December in Las Vegas, Nevada.