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Bison take riders for a spin during rodeo

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Ronan's Pioneer Days featured the unpredictable wild buffalo rides on Sunday evening as six adventurous people risked life and limb for a little bragging rights and cash.

After the first five riders were launched into the air and face planted into the dirt, it took the last rider, Elliott Thomas of St. Ignatius, to finally hold on long enough and score a 90-point ride.

"I do yoga," Thomas said to sell his skills to potential bidders prior to the ride.

The rodeo was celebrated as part of the annual Ronan Pioneer Days this past weekend with three days of fast-paced, high-flying rodeo action. A broncs- and bull-only event kicked off the action on Friday night as 19 bull riders and 13 bronc riders attempted to hold on for prize money.

Coby Kittson grabbed the top ride in the saddle bronc event with 70 points, while in the ranch bronc event a 77-point ride by Layne Durfee won the pot of cash. Cameron Brown finished second in the ranch bronc event with a 75-point ride, and both Garrett Smith and Shea Miller made 73-point rides.

The cowboys had tough luck in the bull-riding event with only one qualified ride: a 78-point effort by Zach Morrison giving him a nice $1,900 payday.

The event continued Saturday night as the crowd watched bull riding, bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping, tie-down roping and barrel racing action.

Mission Valley cowgirl Abby Knight won the ladies barrel race event with a time of 15.98 seconds. Beating his previous best score of 73 points on opening night, Garrett Smith won Saturday’s ranch bronc event with a score of 76 points. A time of 13.15 seconds by Ethan Stensrud won the calf-roping event, while team roping duo of Kermit and Nick Clary tied up first place with a 12.6-second run.

Elmo cowboy Kordell Walker was the lone rider in the saddle bronc event to post a score, winning with a 63-point ride. The cowboys went 0-8 in the bull-riding event. 

Sunday afternoon’s event saw Durfee win the ranch bronc riding competition with a 67-point ride, while Arlee cowboy Tyler Friend scored a 72-point ride to win the saddle bronc event. Will Powell took first place in the calf roping with a time of 10 seconds flat.


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