Tom Riggenbach has over 30 years’ experience in the backcountry of the Navajo Nation, having led over 300 youth/family wilderness outings, including backpacking, mountain biking and hiking adventures throughout the region. A Wilderness First Responder, Tom is also co-race director for the Navajo Parks Race Series and Tour de Rez Cup series. He has a passion for running and has completed four Bostons and a marathon in all 50 states and on all seven continents.
Rygie Bekay of K’aabizhii nahastl’ah is the Co-Race Director of the Navajo Parks Race Series and the Tour de Rez Cup Series events across the Nation. He is also a backcountry trip leader and a member of our year-round trail crew. Rygie is Wilderness First Aid-certified, and is also an avid hiker, backpacker and runner.
Chase B. Yazzie
BOARD MEMBER || PROGRAM VOLUNTEER
Chase experienced the great outdoors with NavajoYES as a child backpacking to Rainbow Bridge; the passion for the outdoors and fitness has stayed with him. After returning from a stint with the United States Marine Corps, Chase returned to Kayenta and is now a board member and very active volunteer with NavajoYES. He is an all-around athlete, with a special interest in weights, running and Spartan races.
BOARD MEMBER || PROGRAM VOLUNTEER
A nurse and EMT with the Utah Navajo Health System, Bernadine is based in Monument Valley, Utah. She is a board member of NavajoYES, and is a very active volunteer with the Navajo Parks Race Series and other events. She takes part in races and events around the Nation, and won back-to-back Tour de Rez Cup titles in 2019 and 2020. Bern is an dedicated cyclist and runner.
BOARD MEMBER || GRAPHICS & NPRS VOLUNTEER
Nealsa oversees all in-house graphics work. She is an avid runner and has taken part in all of the Navajo Parks Races Series events, as well as trail races across the Southwest. She is a member of the NavajoYES board, where she shares her passion for trails and fitness, and is dedicated volunteer. Originally from Tonalea, she resides with her four children in Page, Arizona.
Klara Kelley, PhD
BOARD VICE PRESIDENT || CULTURAL RESOURCE CONSULTANT & TRAIL ADVISOR
Klara is an archaeologist who serves as a board member and cultural resource consultant for trail projects across the Navajo Nation. She and her husband David are regular volunteers at NavajoYES events, and have a strong love of the outdoors, climbing and backpacking.
BOARD PRESIDENT || PROGRAM VOLUNTEER
Betty (in lime jacket above, with family, as always), hails from White Mesa, near Chilchinbeto. She has been an active NavajoYES volunteer and board member since the 1990’s. She and her kids – and now grandkids – have grown up with the organization over the past two decades. In recent years, she has assumed a large role with the Navajo Parks Race Series and Tour de Rez Cup Series.
BOARD SECRETARY/TREASURE || PROGRAM VOLUNTEER
Irene has been a supporter of the Tour de Rez since her first children were part of the Tour experience in 1995. She and her daughters and granddaughters are part of the food team at many NavajoYES events. She lives in the Shonto community near Black Mesa, where she oversees her family’s ranch.
Rue Nelson, RN, FNP worked in Navajo Nation healthcare for eight years at Inscription House, Dennehotso and Chilchinbeto. Ms. Nelson has helped to bring significant growth to NavajoYES during her time at the helm and continues to provide major leadership in program development. Rue currently lives in Duluth, Minnesota, where cold is the new cool.
Troy became familiar with NavajoYES and the Navajo Parks Race Series by taking part in the series, through which he has experienced all the tribal parks. (If you push him, he will admit that Naatsisaan is his favorite!) As an avid runner, Troy appreciates the beauty of Dine’ Bikeyah and offers legal insight and advise for the organization. He is the president of the Navajo Bar Association and is a partner with Greenberg, Traurig, LLP.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
The former Navajo Nation First Lady has worked with Dine’ College for many years and has served as a board member of NavajoYES since 2010. Phefelia brings a unique perspective to the organization. As the mother of two and wife of President Jonathan Nez, she brings her organizational and grant-writing acumen to the organization. The First Lady also bring a passion for trails and outdoor family recreation. She and her family live in Window Rock.
BOARD MEMBER || NPRS REGISTRAR
Jim has been an active participant in NavajoYES programs for over a decade. His first encounter with the organization was through NavajoYES backpacking treks with his students in Grand Canyon. He currently assists the organization with registration and technical support for NPRS and Tour de Rez Cup events.
BECLABITO CERT || DINE’ BIKE PROJECT VOLUNTEER
George is the head of Beclabtio CERT. He and his team are an integral part of the Dine’ Bike Project and the Navajo Parks Race Series, to which they donate hundreds of manhours each year. Beclabito Baptist Church serves as the base of the Dine’ Bike Project, which aids in the distribution of hundreds of bikes across the Nation each year.
As the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, Bidtah was instrumental in the creation of the Navajo Parks Race Series, the year-round series that highlights the Navajo tribal parks. Bidtah now serves as Legal Counsel for the Navajo Nation.
TRIP LEADER || NPRS VOLUNTEER
Since 2005, Kimberly Keith of Shonto has been involved in outings and projects of NavajoYES. She currently is a trip leader on Grand Canyon and Rainbow Bridge treks, serves as an aid station volunteer on NPRS events, works on the summer trail team and provides medical/first aid support at events. Kim is Wilderness First Aid-certified and brings to the organization an awesome personality, music skills and passion for Dine’ Bikeyah.
Dr. Jesse Crane served as a physician at Grand Canyon and his practice is currently in family and emergency medicine. He is medical adviser of NavajoYES and helps to insure that NavajoYES staff and volunteers are current in their medical knowledge and practice in the field. Jesse has been involved with the programs of NavajoYES for over a decade and is an avid trail runner, mountain biker and winter sports enthusiast.