Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

November 26, 2009

Locals make impact at national rodeo

By Lailani Upham

Local bullfighter Zack Lytle puts himself at risk to make sure rodeo bull riders remain safe in their dangerous sport during the Indian National Finals Rodeo event in Las Vegas this month. (courtesy photo)
Local bullfighter Zack Lytle puts himself at risk to make sure rodeo bull riders remain safe in their dangerous sport during the Indian National Finals Rodeo event in Las Vegas this month. (courtesy photo)

LAS VEGAS, NV — With a little determination and a proposed idea pitched to the Indian National Finals Rodeo Association, the INFR commission agreed to round up all Indian stock contractors to provide for this year's 2009 INFR in Las Vegas, according to Chancy Kittson, INFR Stock Supervisor.

It is the first time in the 34 years that the INFR used all Indian Stock contractors.

"Chancy did a very good job getting the association going on this," said INFR Headquarters General Manager, Donna Hoyt.

The Indian National Finals Rodeo Inc. (INFR) developed over 30 years ago to unite Indian Rodeo associations from the United States and Canada as an arena for champion Indian cowboy and cowgirls to compete against each other in the sport of professional rodeo.

The INFR Commission's mission is to increase awareness and preservation of the INFR for the Professional Indian Cowboys and Cowgirls, which includes providing scholarships for Indian students.

This recent step is said to have increased fan attendance, according to Kittson.

"We got feedback and people are saying this was one of the best (rodeos) and that the stock was the best," Kittson said.

Pete White, Ronan cowboy and tribal member participated in the 2009 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Vegas this month as a “pick-up man” in the four-day event. White helped brother Elmo McDonald haul down eight head of stock for their family operation, The Pistol Creek Rodeo Company, as one of the 29 Indian stock owners to provide for this years event. (Lailani Upham photo)
Pete White, Ronan cowboy and tribal member participated in the 2009 Indian National Finals Rodeo in Vegas this month as a “pick-up man” in the four-day event. White helped brother Elmo McDonald haul down eight head of stock for their family operation, The Pistol Creek Rodeo Company, as one of the 29 Indian stock owners to provide for this years event. (Lailani Upham photo)

Pistol Creek Rodeo stock out of Ronan was one of the 29 Indian contractors to load up their animals and hit the road south bound for the 34th annual INFR action.

Pistol Creek Rodeo have been providing stock for nearly 20 years for western Montana rodeos and in the last ten years, brothers Galen "Elmo" McDonald and Pete White have been operating the business.

"It is one big step for the INFR," said White. "It gives us an opportunity to compete with professional guys and make it entertaining," he added.

The Pistol Creek bucking bull stock are bred mainly in the valley, according to White. "The bloodlines run deep and we try to keep our stock where they come from," he said.

It definitely increased a boost of travelers from the Mission Valley to hit the road south.

Local cowboy and co-owner of Pistol Creek, Pete White took the opportunity as a pick-up man for the four-day event.

Another local cowboy, Zack Lytle out of Ronan was one of four bullfighters for the INFR, according to Kittson.

Lytle got his start as a bullfighter working and traveling with the Pistol Creek Rodeo Company for the last ten years. Like many bull fighters Lytle started out bull riding prior to taking on the role as a fighter. Lytle began riding at age 12.

Winners at the Indian National Finals Rodeo: Tiffany Sinclair and Lauren Arnoux are neighbors at the Salish Kootenai College campus housing. Sinclair is the 2010 INFR “Miss Indian Rodeo” and Arnoux winner of the 2009 INFR Chevy Truck give-away. (Lailani Upham photo)
Winners at the Indian National Finals Rodeo: Tiffany Sinclair and Lauren Arnoux are neighbors at the Salish Kootenai College campus housing. Sinclair is the 2010 INFR “Miss Indian Rodeo” and Arnoux winner of the 2009 INFR Chevy Truck give-away. (Lailani Upham photo)

Salish Kootenai College students Tiffany Sinclair and Lauren Arnoux, both from Browning, traveled together to take part and returned together as winners at the INFR.

Her first year as a contestant at the INFR Miss Indian Rodeo, Sinclair won the crown for the 2010 INFR Rodeo Queen.

Sinclair began pageants very young and at age 17 she won the Miss Big Sky crown in 2007.

Transferring to SKC from MSU Billings, Sinclair plans to go on to a university to complete a degree in Sports Medicine.

Arnoux, a nursing student at SKC, won the INFR truck raffle after purchasing a whole raffle book. Arnoux said she and her boyfriend could not sell the tickets so they ended up buying the book at $125 and winning the truck.

The INFR currently has 10 Regions within the United States and Canada with members ranging from 8 years of age to 80. Sanctioning nearly 700 rodeos nationwide and offering annual prize money exceeding over a million dollars the INFR is, by far, the largest and the oldest Indian Rodeo organization in the world.

The 2009 INFR stock contractors were: Real Bird Bucking Horses, Mike Not Afraid, Kittson Rodeo, McNeely Rodeo, Dutch Lunak (Lunak/Bird Rodeo, Pistol Creek, David Fox, Chancy Wilson Rodeo Company, Waters Rodeo Company, Dean Yellowhawk (Hawk Rodeo), Pete Standing Alone, 3-Mile Bucking Bulls, Barry Shade, Calvin McDonald (McDonald Ranch), 5-Star Rodeo, Tim McDonald, Farrell Hoosava (AZ3 Bucking Bulls), Duane Bull (Incredi-Bull Rodeo Company, Whitford Rodeo Company, Young Bucking Bulls, John Begay (4B Bucking Bulls), David McDonald (MX Bar Ranch), Jeff Waln, Spear W Bucking Bulls, JC's Bucking Bulls, Pat Triplett, Sam Duboise (Tri-Angle Rodeo) and Rod Conat(C-G Rodeo).

According to Kittson, this year has been a trial run for the all-Indian stock but he feels it has set a bar in INFR to remain.

"Were proud we can say the bloodline comes from the rez," White said.
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