Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit hosts the inaugural Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge
The Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit and the Montana High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) have joined to organize the first ever High School Rough Stock Challenge at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals (MPRF) 12, 13, 14 of January 2018. The brainchild of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Board, the Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge will be the very first event of its kind at any PRCA rodeo in the nation and intends to engage youth and encourage them to participate in the sport of pro rodeo. The program will expose youth to a larger audience and help them get a start in rodeo. Jim Croff president of the Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit Board, “This is a Montana Pro Rodeo program to help increase youth involvement in the sport of rodeo and we are excited to be the first and only Professional Rodeo Circuit to come up with such a program involving youth and will be implementing it into the 36th annual MPRF,” said Croff. The top six high school contestants in the bareback and saddle bronc riding will compete throughout the 3 days of the MPRF. Three bareback riders and three saddle bronc riders will compete for each of the first two nights of the rodeo and the top three in each event will come back to compete on Sunday during the final round. The goal of the rough stock challenge event is to give youth that are interested in rough stock rodeo events an opportunity to get out there and ride with the pros.
Sparking the rodeo interest in youth is also on the minds of several of this year’s contestants. “I think it’s a good deal because it’s going to show a lot of kids what they can look forward to,” said Tucker Harmon, a senior from Broadus. Harmon will compete in the saddle bronc riding and continued, “To be a role model to those kids is a good deal.” Shawn Perkins currently sits atop the bareback standings in the MHSRA. “It will bring a new level of competition for the fall season in high school rodeo for kids trying to get through to the circuit challenge. It’s also a great experience to go compete in front of that size of audience,” said Perkins. Lane Grove, Tyler Davey and Troy Kirkpatrick, also competing in the bareback riding, share in this and look forward to the opportunity. Joseph St. Goddard will also compete in the bareback riding.
Trevar McAllister, a senior from Ronan, has plans of riding bareback horses as long as he can and looks forward to riding at the MPRF. “I think it’s going to be great for all of us, a great experience, and we’ll all try to ride our best,” said McAllister. Competing at a major event is an opportunity these constants otherwise may not have and for those with plans of college rodeoing, the MPRF may be a place for college coaches to see these high school competitors ride and meet the challenge of competing in front of professional judges. Houston Brown will compete in the saddle bronc riding. “You get to meet all the top guys and see what it’s like at the bigger rodeos,” said the sophomore from Broadus. Sage Newman, Jimmy Heptner and Trevor Clark, also competitors in the saddle bronc riding, look forward to riding in front of a large audience and the new experience as well. Trevor Clark currently sits atop the saddle bronc standings in the MHSRA and also quoted that he, “wants to thank all the people who made the High School Rough Stock Challenge possible at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals.”
The rough stock for the event has been chosen to fit the competitors and they will also get to spend one-on-one time with the pro judges. Lane Yeager and Mark Salmond, the MHSRA directors in charge of the event, emphasizes the importance of providing young people in rodeo with opportunities that will help them succeed. This event intends to provide this year’s contestants with new opportunities as well as raise interest in those who may want to be bareback or saddle bronc riders in the future. As the first program of its kind, the Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge provides a new way to provide these opportunities for Montana’s rodeo youth. The Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Board piloted the idea and hopes to get young bareback and saddle bronc riders in front of a broader audience as well as encourage those who may be the future of pro rodeo to become involved. The rough stock challenge helps complete the big circle that keeps pro rodeo alive as the older generation hands down opportunities to young competitors and help secure the future of PRCA rodeo.
The Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge was made possible through a youth educational and outreach grant from the Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit and it’s Board of Directors to engage youth of Montana in the sport of rodeo.
The high school competitors will each receive trophy vests complements of Courtney Higgins of Rodeo Rigs, LLC, and Justin gear bags compliments of Hoglund’s Western Wear of Great Falls. The top riders in saddle bronc and bareback events will each receive a trophy buckle awarded by the Cascade PRCA Rodeo Committee who host the annual Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Fall Finale the first part of August. The host hotel for the Challenge is the Town House Inns of Great Falls. The Town House Inns will be hosting nightly youth events following the Finals.