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Locals show their stuff at Mission Mountain Rodeo

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By Rob Zolman              Valley Journal

POLSON – The Mission Mountain Rodeo wrapped up 79 years of high-energy action Saturday evening, drawing in cowboy and cowgirl competitors from as far away as Canada, Idaho and Wyoming.

The National Rodeo Association sanctioned event began Friday evening at the Polson Fairgrounds Less Baldwin Arena with rough stock provided by Big Circle Rodeo.

On Friday evening, rodeo fans danced the night away to the music of Miller Campbell as she performed her new song titled “Sweet Whiskey.”

Junior breakaway competitor Ryle Lytle of Ronan wowed the crowd with an impressive 2.9-second roping of his calf for the win. Maggie Lund of Ronan claimed fifth place in the ladies breakaway event.

St. Ignatius ladies barrel racer Jessi Wilcox won $300 with an 18.1-second ride for fifth place.

Elsewhere in the arena, St. Ignatius roping duo Dallas VonHeeder and John Vermedahl won fifth and $140 with a time of 10.3 seconds in team roping.

Charlo cowboy Webb O’Neill placed fourth with a time of 14.2 in the tie-down event.

Steer wrestler Tyler Houle of Polson won top prize money by dragging his steer down in 6.8 seconds.

With only just a handful of cowboys entering the bareback and saddle bronc events, Trevor McAllister of Polson scored a winning 83-point ride in the bareback, while a 75-point ride gave Arlee’s Tyler Friend a second-place finish and $535 cash in the saddle bronc event.

In the bull-riding event, Payton Fitzpatrick of Polson took second notching a 79-point ride on a bull named “Bad Karma,” while Bridger Fitzpatrick of Polson finished third with a 75-point ride.

Although Payton Fitzpatrick didn’t place first in the event, the second-place finish helped him claim the top spot in the NRA overall points standings headed into this weekend’s bull riding action.

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