The Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit (MPRF) just finished off their 2020 season with the circuit finals being held in Kalispell. No, that is not normally where the finals are held, but then again, what is normal when you’re talking about 2020?
As you may have read in a previous article, the finals were moved to the Flathead valley, where competitors battled for year-end titles in the Majestic Valley Arena. The three-day event originally was scheduled to take place in the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls; however, Covid-19 health restrictions barred the crew and competitors from entering the arena.
Jack Stensland, current President of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit said despite the challenges, “the 42nd annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit finals ran off without a hitch,” adding “we had decent crowds show up, considering the year.”
Overall, MPRF had a total payoff of $133,297 to contestants during the finals with several household names earning top spots in the average. That was a common occurrence this year since many of the bigger rodeos around the country were unable to hold their event. “Take Wolf Point Stampede for example. We normally have around 320 contestants, this year we had 605” said Stensland.
Along with contestants facing difficulties in 2020, small towns under the Big Sky were dealt crushing blows to their economy. Normally, MPRF hosts 35-40 Pro Rodeos in towns of all sizes across Montana. This year, only 18 towns were able to conduct their annual event.
“The money that each one of these contestants and fans brings to town, it means a lot to Montana’s economy,” said Stensland as he hopes 2021 will be a better year.
That is certainly one thing that could happen for several Montana cowboys and cowgirls after winning their event during the 2020 MPRF. Montana Circuit contestants who win either the year-end title or the average title at the circuit finals also qualify for the Ram National Circuit Finals held in Kissimmee, FL April 9-10th.
Here are this year’s top two average winners for each event in Montana:
Bareback Riding: 1st Wyatt Bloom, 2nd Richmond Champion
Steer Wrestling: 1st Scott Guenthner, 2nd Jake Nelson
Team Roping: 1st Radley Day/Taylor Williams, 2nd Brady Tryan/Justin Viles
Saddle Bronc Riding: 1st Chase Brooks, 2nd Keenan Reinhardt
Tie-down Roping: 1st Haven Meged, 2nd Bryce Bott
Barrel Racing: 1st Erin Williams, 2nd Tara Stimpson
Bull Riding: 1st Parker Breding, 2nd Hawk Whitt
Northern Ag Network – 2021