Bozeman, MT—Heading into its 99th year, the Bozeman Roundup Ranch Rodeo at Big Sky Country State Fair is offering $11,000 to contestants in a double header competition, the largest known ranch rodeo purse in the state. Twenty teams will compete for a chance to win top money at one of the oldest sports in the West.
“A ranch rodeo is different from a professional or amateur rodeo such as PRCA or NRA,” said Dennis Voeller, general manager of Big Sky Country State Fair. “This is a team sport with up to five people per team. The events are modeled directly from the working atmosphere on any of today’s ranches.” Each team must contain a person of each gender and someone to ride a bronc.
Offering a strong purse is an important draw for the Fair, according to Voeller. Higher earning power increases team quality, a good thing for fans, and rewards cowboys for the long distances they often travel to make it to Bozeman.
The Bozeman Roundup will be held Saturday, July 21 featuring two “long go’s” with a performance of the first 10 teams at 1 p.m. and the second 10 teams at 7 p.m. On Sunday, July 22, the top five teams from each go will compete in the finals at 1 p.m. Sankey Pro Rodeo, Joliet, Mont., is the stock contractor and event producer.
The Bozeman Roundup includes a variety of hair-raising events including wild cow milking, sorting, branding, doctoring and trailer loading. In the wild cow milking, one contestant must rope a cow while teammates must wrangle and milk her. All teams compete at once, making for a particularly wild and entertaining event.
Trailer loading challenges teams to rope a steer, load him in the trailer, load two horses with him, and finish with all team members jumping in the pickup truck. Time stops when the truck doors close. The calamity is akin to ranchers having to rope a critter in the big open with no help from corrals, in order to take him back to the ranch.