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Ronan Pioneer Days traditions continue to blaze trails of family fun

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The poor pig didn’t know what hit it. After spending the day in a trailer, it was released into the rodeo arena in Ronan, and rooted around in the dirt nonchalantly as hundreds of people watched. A menacing horde of middle school children loomed in the background. 

At the sound of the announcer’s “OK,” they thundered toward the little squealer who realized, wide-eyed that all was not right. 

In a dogpile, the announcer sorted out the winner, and pulled the children off one by one, and the kiddos made their way out of the arena, except one 3-year-old who thought it would be fun to continue chasing the pig. 

After about five seconds the swine decided he was going to skip town before being auctioned off. One clever drop of the hind legs, and the creature had left the arena, causing the crowd to gasp as people jumped to retrieve the pig. 

He was caught within a minute, but not after the audience had a good hard laugh. 

It was one of many happy moments at this year’s Pioneer Days, an annual event that celebrates the town of Ronan. 

Catching the pig was one of several events held in the Kiddie/City Slicker Rodeo, where youth try to complete a number of ridiculous tasks for small cash prizes. The tasks include slipping pants onto sheep and calves and snatching dollar bills from the ears of cattle. 

Eden Mitchell, 3, enjoyed the chicken scramble. She stared reverently at a bird that someone caught and gave to her. An older relative explained the Eden loves chickens. Her admiring gaze was the same one that she had fixed on another bird a day earlier at the Lake County Fair small fry stock show. 

Three rodeos rounded out the weekend, featuring local adult and young horse-handling skills, as well as crazy endings involving macho men running from bulls and, joined by one brave woman, riding bareback on bison.

The weekend was a passel of fun with street dances, sporting events and a parade showering tons of candy and popsicles before a cooling spout of the firetruck’s hose doused the crowd gathered in the 90-degree heat of Montana’s brief summer.


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