Unbridled: A Season of Rodeo in Northwest Montana

Rodeos are part of the Montana ethos, a living tradition that represents the state’s western heritage and true grit

By Greg Lindstrom

Rodeos are part of the Montana ethos, a living tradition that represents the state’s western heritage and true grit. The spirited competitions, such as saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing, require courage under fire and skill; reckless abandon at high consequence. They recapture a bygone era and preserve an age-old identity. They carry on family legacies.

In the past three months, I spent several evenings photographing at rodeo arenas across the valley, watching this latest generation of cowboys and cowgirls compete in a time-honored tradition. To me, rodeo culture encompasses all the great values of our state: brawn, hard work and dedication to your craft. These athletes are some of the toughest around, working tirelessly to perfect technique so they are ready when their name is called. Whether it’s eight seconds on a bull or 16 seconds around barrels, there are no timeouts, no do-overs, no second chances.


The Roots of Rodeo

A quick breakdown of some of the most popular events in today’s rodeos. READ MORE

Brash Rodeo

Dominance in the Saddle

Kalispell’s Tammy Jo Carpenter sits near or at the top of most statewide and regional rodeo rankings. READ MORE

rodeo

Seasoned in the Saddle

At 35, Beau Hill of Columbia Falls is enjoying one of his best seasons as a professional bull rider. READ MORE

Beau Hill. Courtesy Andy Watson

 

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