Story by: Mariah Rys-Sikora, Miss Rodeo Montana
A mile long string of cars and pickups stretched out on Hwy 288, all going from Belt to Great Falls. All going home from yet another amazing Belt Rodeo. The truck behind me was anxious to pass me but, when he pulled into the other lane and saw how many cars were ahead of us, decided to be content behind my blue Dodge.
All these people had just witnessed one of Montana’s finest rodeos. Finest meaning it truly was Montana. A little rodeo arena nestled next to the bluffs with grandstands every place there wasn’t a roping box, bucking chutes, or a gate. The ground was full of little rocks but that did not stop the barrel racers from turning in sub 18 second runs. Small town jokes were made and I made my first appearance at Montana Professional Rodeo as Miss Rodeo Montana.
I could have not been more proud of my state at that rodeo. Little, Belt, Montana had managed to attract some the big names of Professional Rodeo . People who had been to the Wrangler National Finals and who had taken home the world title. People like Ciff Cooper, Wade Sundell, Stran Smith, and Montana’s own Jesse Kruse all showed their faces and tipped their hats to the many rodeo fans who came to watch.
Even though there were big names and world champions competing, many Montana locals took home first place checks. Dakota Lewis and Gerald Eash both turned in 80 point rides in the bull riding and Brant Davis and Sam Levine roped horns and heels in 6 seconds for the win. Even with hard ground on the third barrel, Lindsay Karp of Missoula ran a time of 17.43 which was a comfortable three tenths faster than second place.
This Father’s Day weekend rodeo had record breaking crowds Saturday night and gave away a pair of tickets to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Sunday afternoon. The winds were strong but the sun was shining and, really, what more could you ask of a Montana rodeo in early June.