C.M. Russell Stampede is coming soon
Blade Elliott rode Straight Jacket for a 78 score. Unfortunately, there were three cowboys with higher scores than his. Photo by Vicky McCray
Rodeo enthusiasts can look forward to another great PRCA rodeo this year, as the Stampede Club sponsors the 52nd annual C.M. Russell Stampede on Sunday, July 17, at 1:30 p.m.
The Stampede promises great rodeo action in seven premier events: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, ladies’ barrel racing and bull riding. Entries open Tuesday, July 7, at 1 p.m. and close Wednesday, July 8. The Press should have an idea of the number of participants in each event by next week. We should also know who the local cowboys and cowgirls are.
J Bar J, owned and operated by Sparky and Marlene Dreesen of Circle, will again provide the stock for the rodeo. Sparky always makes sure the Stampede is equipped with some National Finals Rodeo (NFR) horses. Stampede Club has always been happy with the animals he has provided, and this year will be no exception. There is a reason the Dreesens hold the Remuda Award for 2010 and 2014: they provide the best, most consistent pen of bucking horses in the PRCA. Check out next week’s Press for the names of a few of the horse athletes.
Along with the stock, J Bar J provides the rodeo announcer, timers, pickup men, bullfighters and clown.
Barney Sheridan of Arlee is back at the Stanford arena for his ninth engagement this year. He is a sponsor’s dream, as he keeps the many chute, event and arena sponsors “out there” for the rodeo crowd to appreciate. He adds a heavy dose of patriotism to the sport of rodeo and speaks respectfully of the athletes, both human and animal. Sheridan, a wealth of rodeo information and well informed on the stock, also shares bits of sport history and animal ancestry throughout the afternoon. His commentary is well worth listening to.
Bert Davis, better known as the Coppertown Clown, makes his first appearance (at least since this reporter has been on the job – 10 years now) at the Stampede this year. He has been a member of the PRCA for 42 years and as recently as 2013 was the Runner-up PRCA Comedy Act of the Year.
Davis does not work alone; he is the clown with all the dogs; in fact, he and his dog Kelsey were the first comedy act to perform at the NFR. He has several specialty acts, but which one – or ones – he brings to Stanford are all part of his surprise. Whatever he brings, folks can look forward to a “roller coaster of laughter”; this clown is known as a real crowd pleaser.
Davis will also serve as the barrel man, his antics the best of any seen at PRCA rodeos.
Basin Therapy – Amanda Grove and Sherry Berg – will be available close to the bucking chutes to lend a hand to rodeo participants who need a little help after a rough ride. Of course, the ambulance crews will also be on the south end of the arena for more serious situations. Let’s keep our fingers crossed the ambulances stay put.
The 52nd Stampede will be a Tough Enough To Wear Pink event. The Central Montana Chapter of TETWP, based in Lewistown, will be on hand for the events on Saturday as well as for the rodeo. They will bring their own Dodge pickup, provided by Snowy Mountain Motors of Lewistown, and will gather local cancer survivors from the rodeo crowd for recognition of the work done through the Montana Cancer Screening Program.
Snowy Mountain Motors will also provide a Dodge pickup to aid the Stampede Club with arena work during the rodeo.
Chute sponsors for the 52nd Stampede are Stockman Bank, Woodhall Distributing, Waterhole Saloon, Hankins Construction, Heartland Seed and the Sundown Motel.
Ryan Blank, owner of the Sundown, has agreed to provide the spurs for the champion bareback rider and champion saddle bronc rider again this year.
A couple of changes have been made in the event sponsors since last year. RPM AG and MP Leasing have taken sponsorship for the bareback riding from Geyser Mercantile and Abby Skelton and James Cole have changed their sponsorship name for the saddle bronc riding to Skelton Ranch. Otherwise, the event sponsors are the same: Judith Basin Vet, steer wrestling; Basin Electric, tie-down roping; Joyce Fuel & Feed, team roping; Waterhole Saloon, ladies’ barrel racing; and Steel Etc., bull riding.
Arena sponsors are Moore Farmer’s Oil, Bos Terra, Basin Seed and Sandy Arrow Ranch of Geraldine.
Lewistown Rental provides $100 for the Lucky Cowboy in each of the three rough stock events. Should the chosen Lucky Cowboy, determined earlier by the entry number, not make his ride, the Stampede Club keeps the cash and gives it away to an organization in need. Club member Dusty Solomon said he thought last year’s un-won Lucky Cowboy money, $100, was part of a donation that went to the Stanford pool. The saddle bronc event did not have a Lucky Cowboy with qualifying ride.
Intermission entertainment will again be provided by entrants in the Kids’ Calf Scramble. Hubble Law Firm and NAPA sponsor this event for the two age groups, 5-8 and 9-12. Youngsters are urged to get signed up for this contest under the pavilion at the south end of the fairgrounds. Kim Holzer will lend a hand with the process; parents of participants must sign a waiver before a child is allowed to be part of this fun. At registration the kids will be given a TETWP t-shirt, provided by John McCray of Central Montana Equipment, Geyser. The winner of each group will take home a Stampede belt buckle.
Miss Rodeo Montana Lindsay Garpestad of Simms and Miss Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup Brooklynn Merja of Sun River will be on hand to welcome rodeo-goers. They can also be seen on Saturday during the pre-rodeo events at the fairgrounds. These ladies will be in charge of the Kids’ Stickhorse Rodeo scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. This is a premier event among young cowboys and cowgirls.
Garpestad is an honor graduate of Carroll College, earning bachelor degrees in both political science and business administration with an emphasis on marketing. She competed for Carroll’s IHSA equestrian team in Reining, Open Western and English. Other titles in her resume are Miss Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup 2014 and Miss Dillon Jaycee 2015.
A veteran 4-H’er, she served as a 4-H leader from 2013-15. Photography was one of her 4-H projects and proved valuable to her. She earned Best in Show in two divisions in the Great Falls Tribune photo contest and started her own photography business in 2011.
In her future Garpestad looks forward to attending law school at the University of Montana, moving back to her family ranch and practicing law in the surrounding Great Falls community. For now, however, she is eager to promote the western lifestyle, rodeo and the state of Montana through positive, educational, and professional interactions with everyone she meets.
Readers can look for biographical information on Miss Big Sky ProRodeo Roundup in next week’s Press.
Advance tickets for the rodeo can be purchased at a $2 discount at the following Stanford businesses: K’s Supermarket, Waterhole Saloon, NAPA Stanford Auto Parts, Stockman Bank and By Way Service.