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Craig Dalgarno wasn’t even around to bask in his biggest victory of the summer.

On July 3 in Harlowton, Dalgarno posted a 75-point bull ride at his hometown rodeo.

The following day in Roundup, Dalgarno was preparing for another bull ride when some of his fellow competitors arrived.

They informed Dalgarno he was the only cowboy to ride a bull at the two-day Harlowton Rodeo.

Dalgarno earned a check for almost $2,400, the largest payout for an individual event at a Northern Rodeo Association rodeo.

“It was pretty exciting,” Dalgarno said of the news. “That’s a pretty good deal. Anytime you win your hometown rodeo, that’s a plus.

“And it sure boosted my season.”

The money won immediately vaulted Dalgarno into the top five for the NRA standings and he stayed there the rest of the regular season.

The 23-year-old Harlowton cowboy entered this weekend’s NRA Finals second in the bull riding standings, $1,266 behind Philip Hofer of Billings. Dalgarno won $7,579 at 14 rodeos last summer, while Hofer used paychecks at 17 rodeos for a leading $8,845.

The rodeo continues tonight at 7:30 and concludes with a 2 p.m. Sunday performance. The NRA Finals determines the year-end champions for the 2001 season.

“I just want to go ride my bulls and let the rest take care of itself,” Dalgarno said of the title chase. “Philip’s a good rider and he’s consistent. We’ll have to see what happens. I will just try to do my best.”

Dalgarno, who works on the family ranch, began riding bulls about six years ago. A bareback rider in high school, he was goaded by a friend to take his first turn on a bull at the Laurel Horse Palace.

He’s ridden bulls ever since.

“I always wanted to do it,” Dalgarno said of rodeo’s most dangerous event. “It seems like I could win a lot more than in bareback riding and there was a little more of an adrenaline rush. It was a lot funner.”

Dalgarno, 23, also found something else in bull riding, the event’s own tightly knit community.

“Everybody in the sport is your friend … like family,” he said. “You’re not so much competing against each other, it’s just doing the best you can.

“I like that competitive side of the sport.”

Dalgarno qualified for the NRA Finals in 1999, but missed last season because of a broken heel bone. He suffered the injury early in the NRA season at Culbertson. Dalgarno returned at full-strength for this season.

Along with his large win at Harlowton, he also won a total of $2,115 at three Gardiner series rodeos for the bulk of his earnings.

“I’ve been riding a lot more consistent,” Dalgarno said of his summer of 2001.

He broke the wrist of his nonriding arm at a bull-riding in Butte. Three weeks later, he was closing out the NRA season with Labor Day weekend rodeos in Hamilton, White Sulphur Springs and Helmville.

Did he have a doctor’s permission to ride so soon?

“Sort of,” Dalgarno said with a small laugh.

Dalgarno got bucked off his bull Friday night, as did Hofer, to keep the top of the standings the same.

In other events:

P.J. Morrison of Joliet, did stay aboard his bull, Blue, for a crowd-pleasing 82.5-point ride. Morrison’s score is one of the highest-mark rides in recent Finals.

Shepherd’s Gary Woodworth won the steer wrestling round with a time of 4.4 seconds. The money won has lifted him to fourth in the standings. Shannon Blixt of Helena was second with a time of 4.8 to pass Belgrade’s Jaren Whitman for second.

Cally Goyins of Helena padded her all-around lead by winning the barrel racing with a time of 13.98 seconds. Goyins, the defending all-around champion, is also competing in breakaway roping. Belgrade’s Cadee Tew has already clinched the year-end barrel racing title.

Wendy Clark of Billings continued her torrid roping in Metra. The Laurel High School girls basketball coach won Friday’s round with a time of 2.8 seconds. This past August, Clark won the MontanaFair breakaway roping title in the same building for $1,309.

Helena’s Ben Wrzesinski won the bareback round with 77 points aboard the horse, Lizard Wiggle.

Former collegiate champion Shaun Stroh of Glendive scored 76.5 points on Midnight to win the saddle bronc round.

Poplar’s J.C. Crowley and Dustin Bird of Cut Bank both posted times of 9.1 second to share first place in calf roping. They were the first two competitors of the performance.

Ted Hoyt of Browning and Bird won the team roping in 5.6 seconds.

Lee Webber was selected the NRA funnyman of the year. It’s the first time the NRA gave out the award.NRA/NWRA FinalsFriday performance

Bareback – Ben Wrzesinski, Helena, 78, 633; Heath LaFromboise, Helena, 76.5, 475; Clarence Gilham, Browning, 74.5, 317; Doug Leeds, Billings, 74, 158. Others: Dusty Solomon, Stanford, 73.5; Mike Brown, Browning, 69.5; Jason Nentwig, Pablo, no score; Scott Owens, Helena, no score; Luke Warner, Big Sandy, no score; Dale Stoller, Great Falls, no score.

Steer wrestling – Gary Woodworth, Shepherd, 4.4, 633; Shannon Blixt, Helena, 4.8, 475; Chase Krone, Augusta, 4.9, 317; Bryant Mikkelson, Buffalo, 5.2, 158. Others: Rob Kountz, Bozeman, 5.6; Jim Pat Smith, Melrose, 7.9; Jaren Whitman, Belgrade, 10.1; Brett Fleming, Broadus, 14.9; Roddy Cameron, Miles City, no time; Bill Boyce, Lewistown, no time.

Breakaway roping – Wendy Clark, Billings, 2.8, 633; Chris McQueary, Belgrade, 3.0, 475; Deb Lloyd, Helena, 3.4, 317; Deena Witcher, Miles City, 3.7, 158. Others: Jenny Proue, Billings, 5.0; Cally Goyins, Helena, 12.4; Mary Salmond, Choteau, 19.8; Jaley Wacker, Roundup, 21.7; Kayleen Hougen, Melstone; Nacona Cameron, Miles City.

Barrel racing – Cally Goyins, Helena, 13.98, 633; Candi Helms, Great Falls, 14.08, 475; Jodi Irish, Helena, 14.19, 317; Denali Solomon, Belgrade, 14.27, 158. Others: Cadee Tew, Belgrade, 14.81; June Tibbetts, Terry, 18.85; Peggy Schluter, Helena, 19.41; Lisa McFarland, Victor, 19.96; Lisa Scheffer, Hamilton, 23.41; Tammy Eberline, Dillon, 24.15.

Team roping – Ted Hoyt, Browning-Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, 5.6, 633; Brant Davis, Sand Coulee-Tell Steinbach, Wolf Creek, 6.3, 475; Rob Kountz, Bozeman-Derick Fleming, Dillon, 6.4, 317; Wes Tinsley, Dillon-Shane Bessette, Belt, 7.0, 158. Others: Britt Givens, Riverton, Wyo.-Shane Hampton, Laurel, 11.0; Chris Witcher, Miles City-Rafael Paoliello, Dillon, 12.3; Sam Bird, Cut Bank-Jim Cole, Harlme, 12.4; Mark Salmond, Choteau-Jay Murnion, Jordan, 20.4; Tyler Dempsey-Charlie Briggs, Bozeman, no time.

Saddle bronc – Shaun Stroh, 76.5, 633; Clarence Gilham, Browning, 72, 475; Beau Michael, Browning, 71, 317; B.J. Schall, Arlee, 67.5, 79; Jordan Harmon, Dillon, 67.5, 79. Others: Doug Kallenberger, Havre, 65.5; HokeLytton, Bozeman, 65.5; Clint Pinkerton, Billings, no score; Jay Fortier, Wildrose, N.D., no score; Tucker Lind, Billings, no score.

Calf roping – J.C. Crowley, Poplar, 9.1, 554; Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, 9.1, 554; Shane Eberline, Dillon, 9.3, 317; Mark Salmond, Choteau, 11.6, 158. Others: Jody Wacker, Roundup, 11.9; Brett Fleming, Broadus, 13.3; Bill Boyce, Lewistown, 18.9; Chris Witcher, Miles City, 21.2; Travis Caldwell, Billings, no time; Gary Woodworth, Shepherd, no time.

Bull riding – P.J. Morrison, Joliet, 82.5, 791; Shay Howey, Townsend, 75.5, 474; Zane Fitzpatrick, Polson, 74, 316. No score: Philip Hofer, Billings; Craig Dalgarno, Harlowton; Bob Voegel, Great Falls; Nathan Hofer, Ulm; Steven Lambert, Bozeman; Jeff Marn, Belt.

Current standings

Bareback – Leeds, 11,082; Wrzesinski, 5,712; Gilham, 5,035; LaFromboise, 4,285.

Steer wrestling – Fleming, 4,328; Blixt, 3,922; Whitman, 3,498; Woodworth, 3,487.

Breakaway roping – McQueary, 6,611; Clark, 5,047; Goyins, 4,893; Wacker, 3,827.

Barrel racing – Tew, 9,981; Helms, 7,411; Goyins, 5,131; Tibbetts, 4,557.

Team roping heading – Kountz, 5,685; S. Bird, 4,570; Witcher, 4,502; Hoyt, 3,502.

Team roping heeling – Fleming, 5,685; Cole, 4,192; Murnion, 3,477; D. Bird, 3,502.

Calf roping – Wacker, 5,874; Eberline, 4,947; Woodworth, 3,779; Boyce, 3,777.

Saddle bronc – Bink, 6,726; 6,127; Stroh, 5,353; Michael, 4,650;

Bull riding – P. Hofer, 8,845; Dalgarno, 7,579; Voegel, 6,319; Burns, 4,878.

All-around cowboy – Leeds, 11,890; Spike Guardipee, Cut Bank, 9,725; Kountz, 9,393, B. Fleming, 8,896.

All-around cowgirl – Goyins, 10,024; McQueary, 7,348; Salmond, 6,055; Scheffer, 5,358.

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