|September 5, 2013
Indian National Finals Rodeo ropes in another successful event
Time watchers observe as a saddle bronc rider lands as graceful as a cowboy can. (Lailani Upham photo)
By Lailani Upham
POLSON — The 2nd Annual Flathead River Rodeo brought the community another Indian-packed entertainment from the inside and out of the corrals at Polson Fairgrounds last month for the Indian National Finals Rodeo three-day event.
“It takes a lot to put a rodeo together. My hats off to Pete White, Pistol Creek Rodeo and the KwaTaqNuk for treating personnel, contestants, and contractors so well,” said Ray Champ, Cut Bank resident and M.C.
Champ’s announcing came by mistake but spectators and participants would think he was born to do it. He was asked to announce at a small rodeo in Crow years ago after a contractor did not show up and since then it’s been history for him.
A cowboy forms a dives off a bucking horse. (Lailani Upham photo)
He has been asked to announce at PRCA rodeos and many other big time events including five years at the INFR where he was name Announcer of the Year each time.
Champ says he particularly enjoys the Flathead River Rodeo event, “This rodeo was more like a vacation than a job, and most definitely one of the most enjoyable events I have ever worked.”
Many contestants travelled a days’ journey or so to the battle against one other with top-notch Indian stock on hand.
“The rodeo was great, a lot of friendly people. The stock ran really good too,” said New Mexico team roper Sheldon Allison.
“The top of it all was the experience and the beautiful scenery,” said Allison.
The “attractive” blonde Dave takes off for a bull. (Lailani Upham photo)
“Danger Dave” aka David Whitmoyer, professional rodeo-of-the-year clown from Helena, kept the crowds and contestants laughing and hollering with his crazy and high-energy acts. “When I see the contestants chuckling and smiling that’s what gets keeps me going,” he said. Dave says knowing the danger and stress they are under drives his motivation to “clown around.”
One seen show of “Danger” will convince he was made to buffoon around. Dave admits he was “the class clown” growing up.
A huge highlight to top off the high-octane entertainment was the “Ring of Fire.” The competition is open to five participants. The basic rule of the game is that a bull is released toward a circle, where participants then scatter to safety. The last one in the circle wins the pool of cash.
Ladies Breakaway contestant Lizzie Boyd chases a calf in hopes of a fine time. (Lailani Upham photo)
Polson resident and spectator says it was her favorite event, “What people will do to get a few hundred bucks.”
Nearly 100 more contestants participated this year from last year making it 460 and fan attendance almost doubled to approximately 7,500, according to Pete White S and K Gaming Chief Marketing Officer.
To see more photos and footage of the “Ring of Fire,” visit our Facebook page, “Char-Koosta News.”
For more information on the INFR Finals schedule and tickets for Las Vegas to be held in November, visit the website at www.infr.org.
Young cowboys watch how it’s done – to fly off a bull with minimal harm. (Lailani Upham photo)
1. Justin Granger, $1,086; 2. Bryan Bitsui, $899.00; 3. Cam Bruised Head, $711.
1. Buck Lunak, $729; 2. Cam Bruised Head, $603; 3. Jesse Gonzales, $477; 4. Fran Marchand, $352.
1. Fran Marchand, $828; 2. Beau Michaels, $685; 3. Chazz Racine, $542; 4. Alan Gobert, $400.
1. Preston Williams, $1,236; 2. Shandell Glasses, $1,077; 3. Jobe Johns, $916; 4. Zanen Pitts, $673.
Local cowboy Zanen Pitts liven the crowd by nailing a calf in an impressive time during the calf roping category on Saturday night. Pitts placed fourth overall. (Lailani Upham photo)
1. Brent Dodging Horse, $1,265; 2. Otys Little Mustache, $1,046; 3. Jay Many Gray Horses, $$828, 4. Toby Dixon, $610.
1. Kelsey Phillips and Kevin Yazzie, $2,025 each; Justin Tom and Terry Doka, $1,761 each; 3. Aaron Henry and Keith Tatsey, $1,497 each; 4. Troy Crawler and Spider Ramone, $1,233 each.
1. Kaycee Werdel, $1,176; 2. Katelyn Conway, $1,022; 3. Recinda Yazzie, $869; 4. Brittany Bird, $716.
1. Danna Whitford, $1,284; 2. Julie Lenior, $1,063; 3. Donna Small, $841; 4. Sammy Jo Bird, $620.