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Flathead River Rodeo packs the grandstands

POLSON — Team ropers Kelsey Phillips and Kevin Yazzie won the average at the Flathead River Rodeo, an Indian National Finals Tour Rodeo, with a time of 11.8 on two steers. Even though it was dusk, the ropers had many miles to go before they slept. Loading their horses in the trailer, they headed back to Rosebud, S.D. to the Rosebud Fair and Rodeo, also an INFR tour rodeo. The Rand McNally mileage calculator online lists the trip as a cool 968.4 miles or about 14 hours and 11 minutes, but the cowboys were trying to win as much money and garner as many points for the finals as possible. 

The Flathead River Rodeo began Aug. 22 and ran through Aug. 24, with slack performances and junior and senior events at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. 

The weather was beautiful, the grandstands were full and a jumbotron mounted on the arena wall provided instant replays and close up shots of contestants. Cowboys and cowgirls gathered from Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and as far away as Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Alberta to participate.

Pistol Creek Rodeo provided the stock, subcontracting out to other Indian stock contractors for the best of the best. A juicy string of bucking horses, tough bulls, fast roping calves and ornery wrestling steers made for good watching. 

Local contestants competing, according to Pete White, rodeo general manager, were: McK’La Gonzales, Becky Jo Dumont, Yvette Vega, Nick Clairmont, Terry Pitts, Zanen Pitts, and Pete and Shanna White.

Adults from out of town polled about the event named music after the rodeo or the jumbotron as their favorite part, but almost all the kids, mostly contestants' children, were most excited about swimming in Flathead Lake.      

 

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