Rodeo fans enjoy homesteader tradition
HOT SPRINGS – Every second weekend in June for the past 70 years, the town of Hot Springs has hosted a celebration in honor of the original homesteaders who first started plowing up the dirt in the area back in the late 1890s.
The tradition continued this year, although the festivities looked a bit different. Many activities were curtailed as part of the COVID-19 safety measures. The normal three-day event usually attracts locals and thousands of tourists with food, music, activities, and a rodeo. According to event officials, organizers made the tough decision to scale back the community celebration to just two days, canceling all other events except for the street dance and rodeo.
Brash Rodeo, based in Columbia Falls, hosted the two-day rodeo, which started on Saturday evening and ran all day Sunday. “We had a great turnout. Everyone was really respective of each other’s distance,” said Brash Rodeo secretary Kristie Turner. “Saturday’s crowd was bigger than both days last year. People just wanted to get outside and do a little something.”
Homesteader Days rodeo fans enjoyed traditional rodeo events like saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, steer riding, team roping, barrel racing, mini-bull riding, breakaway roping, chute dogging and bull riding. Fans were entertained by the crazy antics of wild cow milking on Saturday and a calf bloomer race on Sunday.
Fans enjoyed getting out and enjoying a little rodeo action and so did the cowboys and cowgirls who competed in Saturday and Sunday’s events. “Feels good to be back out rodeoing again,” said Jenn Brander of St. Ignatius, who spent all day Sunday with her family Jeff, Sydney and Afton.
Lane Schall, Arlee bulldogger and team roper, climbed atop his first-ever bronc during Saturday evening’s event. “Just get on and don’t be a wimp,” said Schall of his thoughts before getting on. Schall scored 68 points, which narrowly missing a winning paycheck. On Sunday, Schall took another chance and grabbed first-place money with a 73-point ride atop of a rank bronc that almost put him through the chute fence. “I don’t know what I am doing out there, but it feels pretty good,” said Schall, chuckling.
Official Homesteader Days rodeo scores and times can be found at www.glaciercountryrodeo.com, which is the official website of Brash Rodeo.