Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals gets underway Jan. 14 | TSLN.com

Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals gets underway Jan. 14

Bill Brewster

The 32nd Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals gets underway in Miles City, MT, Jan. 14, 15 and 16 with 96 of the top contestants competing at the Four Seasons Arena.

This grand finale of the Montana circuit attracts hundreds of rodeo fans and many more members of this state’s ranching community to witness the crowning of individual and all-around championship titles and Miss Rodeo Montana.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 and 15 and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16, when the last go-round determines the winners. Cowboys and cowgirls who win either the year-end titles or the average titles also qualify for the Dodge National Circuit Finals, set for Oklahoma City, March 31-April 3.

The circuit system was developed by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1975 as a reward system to the cowboys and cowgirls who compete in rodeos regularly but can’t devote all their time to pursuing their rodeo career while trying to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Because of commitments at home on the ranch or at their regular professions, the circuit cowboys, sometimes referred to as “weekend warriors” needed to compete at rodeos closer to home in order to fulfill personal obligations.

The concept was spearheaded at the time by former PRCA board member Larry Jordan of Montana.

Jack Stensland, vice president of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit from Wolf Point, has been involved with the start of the circuit in Montana on the board for thirty-four years.

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He said that circuit leaders, including Dave Wagner of Billings, followed up on Jordan’s concept to establish the system and got it started in Montana.

“When it started, we never believed that it would still be going on every winter,” Stensland said. “Those first years were pretty shaky, but now it’s really successful in Montana. The people of Great Falls and the rodeo community have helped it to grow beyond belief.”

Stensland said the goal was to make it the best circuit in the country and to make it the best paying rodeo of all the circuits in the PRCA.

“We still have the best payout,” Stensland said.

“It’s a tough time of the year to keep horses legged up, but it is successful because it as big deal for our Montana cowboys and cowgirls and the fans who support rodeo,” Stensland said. “It’s the circuit system at its best.”

Stensland said Montana held the first circuit finals in the county in 1975.

“The weather doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We have had our best years when it’s 20 below.”

Stensland said Jim Croff of Geyser, the circuit president, has done a wonderful job over the years to keep the board members and contract personnel focused on their areas of responsibility each year.

In addition to Croff and Stensland, board members who oversee the year-long circuit operation and the finals are: Bareback, Dusty Solomon, Stanford; Saddle bronc riding, Gary Pimperton, Belt; Bull riding, Steven Lambert, Bozeman; Tie-Down roping, J. Billingsley, Glasgow; Steer wrestling, John Gee, Stanford; Team roping, Mark Salmond, Choteau; Barrel racing, Maria Gee, Stanford; Stock contracting, Dave Wieferich, Sidney; Secretary/marketing, Duane Walker, Great Falls; Contract acts, Cathy Wieferich, Sidney; Advisory, Darryl Crowley, Poplar, and Fred Hirschy, Jackson; Committee man, Dave Wagner, Billings.

When the rodeo begins some of the best stock from the NFR is going to be on hand for the three-day event. Stock contractors include Brockman Rodeo, Sankey Rodeo, New West Rodeo, Kesler Championship Rodeo, Kesler Rodeo, J.S. Rodeo, and J Bar J Rodeo Company.

The well-known announcer is Will Rasmussen of Choteau, and Timber Tuckness is the barrelman. Bull fighters are Caleb Barrett and Al Sandvold, and the pickup men are Andy Bolich and Jay Shaw. Cathy Wieferich of Sidney is the secretary and timers are Angela Hicke and Amanda Dreesen.

The 32nd Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals gets underway in Miles City, MT, Jan. 14, 15 and 16 with 96 of the top contestants competing at the Four Seasons Arena.

This grand finale of the Montana circuit attracts hundreds of rodeo fans and many more members of this state’s ranching community to witness the crowning of individual and all-around championship titles and Miss Rodeo Montana.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 and 15 and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16, when the last go-round determines the winners. Cowboys and cowgirls who win either the year-end titles or the average titles also qualify for the Dodge National Circuit Finals, set for Oklahoma City, March 31-April 3.

The circuit system was developed by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1975 as a reward system to the cowboys and cowgirls who compete in rodeos regularly but can’t devote all their time to pursuing their rodeo career while trying to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). Because of commitments at home on the ranch or at their regular professions, the circuit cowboys, sometimes referred to as “weekend warriors” needed to compete at rodeos closer to home in order to fulfill personal obligations.

The concept was spearheaded at the time by former PRCA board member Larry Jordan of Montana.

Jack Stensland, vice president of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit from Wolf Point, has been involved with the start of the circuit in Montana on the board for thirty-four years.

He said that circuit leaders, including Dave Wagner of Billings, followed up on Jordan’s concept to establish the system and got it started in Montana.

“When it started, we never believed that it would still be going on every winter,” Stensland said. “Those first years were pretty shaky, but now it’s really successful in Montana. The people of Great Falls and the rodeo community have helped it to grow beyond belief.”

Stensland said the goal was to make it the best circuit in the country and to make it the best paying rodeo of all the circuits in the PRCA.

“We still have the best payout,” Stensland said.

“It’s a tough time of the year to keep horses legged up, but it is successful because it as big deal for our Montana cowboys and cowgirls and the fans who support rodeo,” Stensland said. “It’s the circuit system at its best.”

Stensland said Montana held the first circuit finals in the county in 1975.

“The weather doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We have had our best years when it’s 20 below.”

Stensland said Jim Croff of Geyser, the circuit president, has done a wonderful job over the years to keep the board members and contract personnel focused on their areas of responsibility each year.

In addition to Croff and Stensland, board members who oversee the year-long circuit operation and the finals are: Bareback, Dusty Solomon, Stanford; Saddle bronc riding, Gary Pimperton, Belt; Bull riding, Steven Lambert, Bozeman; Tie-Down roping, J. Billingsley, Glasgow; Steer wrestling, John Gee, Stanford; Team roping, Mark Salmond, Choteau; Barrel racing, Maria Gee, Stanford; Stock contracting, Dave Wieferich, Sidney; Secretary/marketing, Duane Walker, Great Falls; Contract acts, Cathy Wieferich, Sidney; Advisory, Darryl Crowley, Poplar, and Fred Hirschy, Jackson; Committee man, Dave Wagner, Billings.

When the rodeo begins some of the best stock from the NFR is going to be on hand for the three-day event. Stock contractors include Brockman Rodeo, Sankey Rodeo, New West Rodeo, Kesler Championship Rodeo, Kesler Rodeo, J.S. Rodeo, and J Bar J Rodeo Company.

The well-known announcer is Will Rasmussen of Choteau, and Timber Tuckness is the barrelman. Bull fighters are Caleb Barrett and Al Sandvold, and the pickup men are Andy Bolich and Jay Shaw. Cathy Wieferich of Sidney is the secretary and timers are Angela Hicke and Amanda Dreesen.

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