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The second annual Dustin Bergsing Memorial Bull Riding event will be this Saturday at Miller's Horse Palace in Laurel.

Bergsing was a young cowboy who died working at an oil well in North Dakota early in 2012.

The event was begun by two of his friends, Darryllyn Guffey and Jason Bold, to memorialize Bergsing and to raise money for his fiancee, Lacey Breding, and their young daughter, McKinley.

It was determined that Bergsing died of hydrocarbon poisoning, and in February his family reached a confidential settlement with Marathon Oil, the owner of the oil well in Mandaree, N.D.

Bold said a portion of the proceeds from Saturday's event will be used to help Breding and to establish a trust fund for McKinley, who is 18 months old.

Bold said that by fall 2014, they also hope to award the first memorial college scholarship to a high school senior, and eventually to start a "cowboy crisis fund" for injured cowboys.

At this year's event, doors will open at 4 p.m., a silent auction will start at 5 and the bull-riding competition at 6:30. Forty cowboys are signed up for the long round, which will be reduced to 12 for the short round, Bold said.

The short round will also involve a Calcutta, in which spectators can "buy" a bull rider. Ten percent of that money will go into the event fund and the rest will be paid out to buyers based on how well their cowboys did.

The champion will win a rodeo belt buckle and a custom-made saddle. Three bullfighters -- the cowboys who pick up contestants thrown by the bulls -- will also receive buckles.

The saddle was sponsored by members of the Juhnke family, who are related to Bergsing's stepfather. Bergsing's father, Darren Bergsing, sponsored the belt buckles.

As a special attraction between rounds, Bold said, "a couple guys will get on bulls for the first time. And they're not bull riders, believe me."

After the event, there will be dancing to the music of the Intermission Band, which plays country and southern rock. Admission to the event is $10 for adults, $5 for those 6-12 and free to those under 6.

Among those competing in the bull-riding event will be last year's winner, Louis Schardine, of Utah.

The main event sponsors this year are Miller's Horse Palace; Two Bit Bucking Bulls out of Alberta, Canada; the Laurel Trading Post; and Connolly Saddlery, Western Wear and Tack.

More than 250 people turned out for the inaugural event last year, Guffey said, and they're hoping for an even bigger crowd this year.



I cover the city of Billings.