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Ranch Rodeo Keeps Western Roots Alive

The RCAN Old Mil Ranch Rodeo kicked off the Northeast Montana Fair Saturday, July 30, in Glasgow. In its fifth year, the event differs from a PRCA Rodeo as the contestants are made up of teams of area ranchers and ranch hands. Teams compete in timed events based on skills used in everyday ranch life including branding, chute loading, doctoring, stray gathering and penning.

According to their website, RCAN, or Rural Communities & Agricultural Neighbors, is a group of passionate community members dedicated to tackling the issues facing our rural and agricultural communities. The organization is headquartered in Malta with a mission of “working together with community stakeholders to enhance rural communities and sustain working agricultural lands and producers.”

The RCAN Rodeo in Glasgow usually has upwards of 10 teams registered. This year, however, due to heat, fuel costs and other conflicting events happening on the same day, the rodeo had four teams entered.

Doris Ozark, a longtime member of the Glasgow Rodeo Committee explained, “The entry fee was another issue that was talked about this year.”

Ranch rodeos have been popping up around the country with the mission of keeping the American western heritage alive. Like ranching, the rodeo is a family sport, and many of the teams consist of ranch families.

Doris stated, “There are not a lot of ranchers that work on horseback anymore. They don’t have time to spend on a horse all day when they can cover more ground on an ATV. I just encourage people to do what you can to keep the western heritage going.”

Teams competed for two prizes, Top Hand and Top Horse, with each winner qualifying for the RCAN Rodeo Scramble Finals in Malta this winter.

JD Stensland of Wolf Point took the Top Hand title and Top Horse went to Josh Bilbrey of Glasgow. The Stensland Land & Livestock team, consisting of JD Stensland, Josh Bilbrey, Jace Bilbrey and Jeret Bilbrey, took third place overall.

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