BILLINGS — Sixty of the world’s best cowboys will compete under one roof Saturday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.
The 25th annual Chase Hawks Roughstock Rodeo begins at 7 p.m. and much like the previous 24 editions “some of the best cowboys you will find anywhere” will be competing, said Lars Hanson, president of the Chase Hawks Memorial Association and rodeo chairman.
Some of the cowboys and bucking stock are coming off the 10-day National Finals Rodeo that ended in Las Vegas on Dec. 14.
Only roughstock events are contested. Twenty bareback riders, saddle bronc riders and bull riders will be competing.
Hanson said most cowboys invited — “60 of the best we can find” — are in the top 20 of the PRCA standings, or in the top five of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association standings. Past Chase Hawks champions and past world champions are also invited.
“If you watched anything at the NFR, you will know some of the names of the bulls, horses and cowboys,” said Chris White, vice president of the Chase Hawks Memorial Association board.
One of the unique aspects about the rodeo is there will be bucking chutes at both ends of the arena floor. The rodeo will start with 10 bareback rides on one end and then will feature 10 bronc rides on the other end, followed by 10 bull riders competing from the chutes where the action started, said Scott Chesarek, a past president of the association. After intermission, the process is repeated.
“There basically is not a bad seat in the whole house,” Chesarek said.
First place is worth $7,250 and a “very nice” buckle from Montana Silversmiths, Chesarek said.
Last year’s champions were Cole Goodine of Carbon, Alberta, in bareback, Dawson Hay of Wildwood, Alberta, in saddle bronc and Garrett Smith of Rexburg, Idaho, in bull riding.
Some of the noteworthy saddle bronc riders entered as of Thursday afternoon included Jesse Kruse, Winston; Chase Brooks, Deer Lodge; Chet Johnson, Sheridan, Wyoming; Mitch Pollock, Twin Falls, Idaho; Kolby Wanchuk, Sherwood Park, Alberta; Isaac Diaz, Davie, Florida; Cole Elshere, Faith, South Dakota; CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah; Allen Boore, Gunnison, Utah; and Dusty Hausauer, Dickinson, North Dakota.
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Kruse was the 2009 PRCA world champion. Brooks placed eighth in the final PRCA world standings this year and Pollock was 13th.
Notable bareback entrants include Jessy Davis, Power; Trenten Montero, Winnemucca, Nevada; Steven Peebles of Salinas, California; Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minnesota; Shane O’Connell, Rapid City, South Dakota; and Mason Clements, Las Vegas.
Aus finished eighth in the world standings this year and Montero 10th. Davis is a seven-time qualifier for the NFR.
Bull rider Josh Frost of Roosevelt, Utah, who was 14th in the final PRCA standings this year, is entered.
Flint Rasmussen of Choteau, the Professional Bull Riders’ exclusive entertainer since 2006, will return to work the rodeo.
“Flint used to be our clown before he went to the PBR,” Hanson said. “With this being our 25th anniversary, the PBR was gracious enough to let him do it for us.”
The Chase Hawks Memorial Association, which provides financial assistance to individuals and families in crisis through the community crisis fund, was formed in memory of Chase Hawks, who died at age 6 in 1994.
“It started out of a tragedy,” White said. “Chase was riding his bike and got hit and had an accident riding his bike. He passed away. From that, this rodeo came about to form a community crisis fund.”
Some of the notable champions over the years include former world champions Dan Mortensen of Lockwood in saddle bronc and Deb Greenough of Red Lodge in bareback, along with Edgar’s Scott Breding and Roscoe’s Clint Branger in bull riding.
“It’s a one-day event and it’s a great community of people who show up from the rodeo community to support this rodeo, including sponsors in the community who make it happen,” Hanson said. “For 25 years, people are taking a lot of pride to make this thing happen.”