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Mother-daughter duo to compete at Last Chance Stampede and fair

Schedule of Events, 2019 Last Chance Stampede and Fair

Wednesday, July 24

8 am Registration begins for Kiddie Stick Horse Rodeo at the Fairgrounds, Bill Carson Park

9 am Kiddie Stick Horse Rodeo

5 pm Fair opens – Indoor Exhibit Hall opens

5 pm Northstar Amusements Carnival opens

7:30 pm Clint Black and LOCASH in concert

Thursday, July 25

10 am Line up for Kiddie Parade at Women’s Park

11 am Kiddie Parade through downtown Helena

11 am Exhibit Hall opens

2 pm Northstar Amusements Carnival opens

7:30 pm Rodeo - Military Appreciation Night

Following the rodeo – dance to Longhorn at the Beer Garden Stage

Friday, July 26

11 am Exhibit Hall opens

2 pm Northstar Amusements Carnival opens

7:30 pm Rodeo - wear pink to show support of Tough Enough to Wear Pink night

Following the rodeo – dance to Insufficient Funds at the Beer Garden Stage

Saturday, July 27

8 am Gold Buckle Dreamin’ Rodeo

11 am 4-H Livestock Sale

11 am Exhibit Hall opens

12 noon Stampede Parade through downtown Helena

1 pm Northstar Amusements Carnival opens

7:30 pm Rodeo - A tribute to local 4-H

Following the rodeo – dance to Insufficient Funds at the Beer Garden Stage

Helena, Mont. (July 17, 2019) – A mother/daughter duo will compete at the Last Chance Stampede next week.

Barrel racer Rene Cloninger and her daughter Shelby Gill, both of Helena, will run barrels at the 59th annual Last Chance Stampede in Helena July 25-27.

The women have been involved with horses their entire lives.



Rene, who grew up in Helena, was on an equestrian drill team as a child. She and her sisters, along with the drill team, performed at rodeos, and when the sisters saw the barrel racing, it piqued their interest.

Cloninger became a professional barrel racer as part of the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association at the age of fifteen and competed for several years.



After her daughter Shelby was born in 1987, she continued to run barrels but stayed closer to home, at events around Montana.

Growing up, Gill and her mom competed together at rodeos sanctioned by the Northern Rodeo Association (NRA). Gill graduated from Helena High School in 2005 then competed collegiately at Montana State, graduating from college in 2009 with a teaching degree.

Gill moved to Nevada, where she taught school for five years.

Three years ago, she and her husband, Cody Gill, returned to Helena.

The women have rodeoed together since then, competing mostly in Montana at PRCA events and sometimes venturing as far as Idaho and Washington.

The two rodeo nearly every weekend, and the time spent together is good family time but also time spent between rodeo cowgirls who have the discipline of barrel racing in common, Gill said. “It’s nice because we get to anticipate the rodeos as well as debrief after the rodeos. It’s nice to have somebody that totally gets it.”

Mother and daughter have the same objectives, too. Their first aim is to “take one run at a time, trying to do our best at each run,” Gill said. Their goal for the summer is to qualify for the Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo, held in Great Falls in January. “We’re chipping away to achieve those goals,” Gill said.

Cloninger and Gill both finished the 2018 rodeo season in the top fifteen in the Montana Circuit, qualifying them for last year’s Montana Circuit Finals. But because Gill was seven months pregnant at the time, she didn’t compete.

The two women even ride horses that are related. Cloninger rides a ten-year-old bay mare named Dixie, whose registered name is CM Dynamite Miss Tiv. Gill rides Dixie’s half-sister, Disco, whose registered name is Lil Frost Freckles.

Cloninger has another role as she travels with her daughter this summer: babysitter. Gill and her husband Cody have a four-month-old son. “I couldn’t do this without her,” Gill said.

The women will compete at the Last Chance Stampede during slack competition, the extra competition that doesn’t fit into the performances, following the rodeo on July 25.

Cloninger’s sister, Carrie Murnion, will also compete in Helena.

Cloninger is married to Sam Taylor.

The Stampede runs July 24-27 with a Night Show featuring Clint Black and LOCASH on July 24 at 7:30 pm.

The rodeo runs July 25-27 with performances at 7:30 pm each night. Tickets are available online at http://www.LastChanceStampede.com, at the fairgrounds, and at the gate.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the fairground’s website at http://www.LastChanceStampede.com or call 406.457.8516.

–Last Chance Stampede


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