Pioneer Days brings rodeo to Ronan fairgrounds
RONAN — The town of Ronan capped its Pioneer Days celebrations on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with rodeo events at the Ronan Fairgrounds. Pete White, rodeo official, said the three-day rodeo was a success. “(On Friday) people first started showing up at 5:30 p.m. (two hours before the rodeo was scheduled to start). At first, we worried we were running late, then we wondered if there would be enough seating.” Saturday is typically the busiest night, but all three nights had good size crowds this year.
Pistol Creek Rodeo Company hosted the family-friendly rodeo, which featured traditional events such as saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, mutton busting and the fans’ favorite, bull and buffalo riding.
The stock for the weekend was provided by Pistol Creek Rodeo, M5 Bucking Bulls and Kittson Rodeo. All three are area stock raisers known to provide quality stock. Some of the stock have even seen the lights of the Nationals in Las Vegas.
Cowboys and cowgirls from across western Montana showed up to test their skills before a hometown crowd and riding was tough this year. Many riders walked away with a no score after Friday’s bulls and broncs riding.
Octavius Christianson took first in Friday’s mini bull riding event while Wyatt Wilks took first in bull riding.
During Saturday’s evening event, Doug Fitzgerald of Babb took first place in saddle bronc. There were no other qualified rides in the event.
Tyler Houle of Ronan took first place in steer wrestling.
Ben Powell of Babb took first place in the tie-down roping event. Second place went to Webb O’Neill of Charlo, third to Wyatt O’Neill of Charlo and fourth to Zanen Pitts of Arlee.
In the team roping event, Shorty and Shawn Matt won first place. Ben Powell and RJ Goss took second place.
Chyana Johnson took first in the ladies’ breakaway event, with the calf eluding the rest of the competitors who participated.
Carissa Stoner of Columbia Falls took first place in the ladies’ barrel racing event. Second place went to Cherrish Olson of Polson, third to Nichole Lake of Polson and fourth to Bobbie Reeves of St. Ignatius.
Zach Griffin of Kalispell took first place in the popular bull riding event that attracted about a dozen riders.
This year’s highlighted events were the unique Ring of Fire on Saturday evening and the wild buffalo ride on Sunday afternoon.
During the Ring of Fire six participants from the crowd had to dodge and grab a yellow ribbon off the tail of a Mexican fighting bull named Chee Chee. AJ Wiggin was able to claim the ribbon and the $500 purse prize.
Although riding rough stock is quite dangerous, that didn’t stop six very daring members of the crowd from volunteering to ride a wild buffalo as the closing piece of entertainment for Sunday’s rodeo. Riley Augare was the sole competitor to stay on the buffalo for a full 8 seconds, and was awarded 69 points from the judges for his efforts.
Scores for Sunday’s rodeo were not available as of press time Monday.
White explained, the most important parts of the rodeo are the crowd and the sponsors.
“We like to try and keep the crowd entertained, without them none of this would be possible.” With sitting and standing areas all packed full of screaming guests, this rodeo met their goal.