The First Annual Bulls, Broncs, and Honky Tonks, will be this Saturday, July 31 at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds. Although the cowboys will be competing Saturday evening at 6pm, there is a full slate of events during the day for cowgirls as well. And, to top off the evening, a dance!
The event will begin about 9am Saturday morning with a barrel race. This is the third in the summer series sponsored by the Rockin’ RC Rodeo committee. Barrel racers from throughout Western Montana are competing for money and a chance to compete at the Ravalli County Fair for a saddle. The top 10 fastest times of racers who have been at three of the series races will compete on September 4, for the saddle. Spectators are welcome to come and watch the barrel racing but will have to pay for the rest of the day’s events.
After the barrel race, the main event of the afternoon will begin. The Iron Cowgirl competition is a relatively new event around the region. It is composed of three parts: breakaway roping, barrel racing, and finishing with goat tying. All of these events are done in high school rodeo and college rodeo. Breakaway roping is now a standard event at all Northern Rodeo Association events and is an up and coming event in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and many PRCA rodeos.
Among those who will be competing in the Iron Cowgirl event is Ryanne Tracy of Victor. She was a Montana State Champion in break away and goat tying in high school. At Montana State University, she earned Big Sky Region titles in breakaway and goat tying as well and all-around. Ashley Anderson is helping produce the Iron Cowgirl and is competing in some PRCA breakaway ropings this year. The champion will receive not only some money but also a nice set of trophy spurs sponsored by Jean Schurman and The Ranch Radio.
At 6pm, the premier event of the day will begin. The Bulls & Broncs will feature many of the top rough stock riders in the state competing. They will match their skill against the best saddle broncs, bulls and bareback horses that Red Eye Rodeo of Deer Lodge has. Red Eye has a strong breeding program for both bulls and horses and will be bring some tough animals. Kaehl Berg, owner of Red Eye Rodeo, said he has heard that recently crowned national high school rodeo all around champion, Sam Peterson of Helena may be entering along with Will and Kaleb Norstrom of East Helena and Spur Owens, also of Helena, are planning on entering the bareback riding.
Speaking of high school cowboys, Darby’s own Devon Hundley, who finished fourth in the bull riding at the state high school finals, will be riding. He will be a sophomore this fall. Another Western Montana high school bull rider, Caden Fitzpatrick of Polson, will also be riding. He is currently ranked 8th in the Northern Rodeo Association.
Saddle bronc rider and 2021 Corvallis graduate Cole Trexler is slated to ride in that event. Trexler is just back from the National High School Finals in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tyler Friend of Arlee is another well known saddle bronc rider that will be here. Not only is there bragging rights up for grabs but also money. The purse for the evening and afternoon is over $6,500.
After the rodeo, dance the night away to the foot stomping music of shoDown in the First Interstate Center. Stop by after the rodeo, or after any of the many other events in Hamilton on Saturday and finish with gusto on the dance floor.
Tickets for the Iron Cowgirl and Bulls and Broncs are $20 each with and $15 for veterans and first responders. Show your wristband at the door for the dance and pay $10, otherwise it is $15 at the door. The 406 Saloon will have their bar there. If it’s too hot for you in the afternoon, stop by the bar and enjoy a cold beer. (Just remember the beer has to stay in the building.) There will be food trucks and vendors around the fairgrounds all day. For more information, contact the Ravalli County Fairgrounds at 363-3411.