BILLINGS — Former University of Montana Western rodeo coach Iola Else and former world Wrangler Bullfighting champion Loyd Ketchum are among the individuals who will be honored Saturday night at the 14th Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame banquet in Billings.
The event will take place at the Red Lion Hotel beginning at 2 p.m. There is also a dinner, dance and silent auction.
The event is a fundraiser for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame scholarships, awarded to high school seniors. The organization has been awarding scholarships since 2006.
Special guests this year include eight-time PRCA world bull riding champion Donnie Gay, along with Wilford Brimley and country music singer Gary Morris.
Along with the Lifetime Achievement and Legends awards, the Western Heritage Awards, Event of the Year, Lady of the West, Great Montana Ranches and Montana Rodeo Families will be honored.
The Kootenai River Rodeo in Libby has been selected the Great Montana Pro Rodeo, while Northwest College of Powell, Wyoming, is being honored as the Great Montana College Rodeo Program.
Else will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Idaho native has been part of the UM Western rodeo program for 50 years, starting as a competitor in 1969. She became the head coach in 1994 and was selected the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2018. She retired as the Bulldogs’ coach after the College National Finals Rodeo this past June.
One of the Legends honorees, Ketchum was a top bullfighter during his career. Along with winning the world bullfighting title in 1991, he was selected to work the National Finals Rodeo, the Professional Bull Riders World Finals, the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, the CNFR, the National High School Finals Rodeo and the Indian National Finals Rodeo. Ketchum, of Miles City, is a member of the Pendleton Round-Up and Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fames.
Other legends inductees are: Pat Howey, Jim Baisch, Chuck Henson and Chandler Earl (Feek) Tooke. Tooke, a stock contractor out of Ekalaka, is considered a pioneer in breeding bucking stock.
Other Western Heritage Award winners are: Hubing Ranch, Connie Cox, Cliff Wolfe, Lee Patterson, 320 Guest Ranch, Douglas D. Averill, Raymond and Christine Koch, Rex and Charlotte Koch.
The Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City is being honored as the Event of the Year, while Judy Wagner is being honored as the Lady of the West.
The Great Montana Ranches Award is going to Quarter Circle T Ranch, IX Ranch, Cross Four Ranch, Davidson Cattle Company, Ekwortzel Ranch, Highland Livestock, Vermandel Ranch and Eickhoff Ranch.
The Montana Rodeo Families are Bud Smith, along with Bill and Jennifer Davis.