Wild Horse Participants Receive Surprised Gifts
Two contestants of the wild horse races during the 100th Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede received quite a pleasant surprise on the last day of the rodeo.
Thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor, the youngest and the oldest wild horse race participants each received $10,000. Recipients were Gage Weyrauch of Billings and Mike Birdsbill Jr. of Wolf Point.
Weyrauch, 18, competed in the wild horse race for the first time this year.
“I was very surprised,” Weyrauch said of the $10,000 gift. “It was quite a shock.”
He explained that his uncle, Jarod Weyrauch, encouraged him to become a wild horse race participant. The two, along with Seth Bowman, came away with top honors on Saturday night.
“I was willing to give it a shot,” Gage said. “We ended up doing pretty good.”
The team, sponsored by Harry’s Nite Club, struggled a bit the first night, but then bounced back for a second-place finish on Friday night.
“You can watch it and think you might know it, but it’s a completely different ballgame when you get out there,” Gage said.
On Saturday night, the squad came through with a first-place finish.
“My uncle was a great coach and very patient,” Gage said.
He noted that friends and family were proud of his efforts. He is looking forward to competing in the wild horse race for many years to come.
Birdsbill, 53, said he was quite surprised when he received the money for being the oldest participant.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” he noted. While Weyrauch was competing for his first year, Birdsbill was definitely on the opposite end of the scale since this was his 23rd year in the wild horse races.
“I like competing against all my relatives out there. We’re all relatives. They are my cousins,” Birdsbill said.
The fact that his team didn’t place during this year’s races isn’t important to him.
“I don’t care if I win or lose. I’m just here to have fun,” he said.
What did matter was that he got to be on the same team with his son, Michael III, this year. It was the first time that his son participated in the wild horse races.
“It felt good to show him the ropes,” Birdsbill Jr. said.
At the end of Saturday’s competition, Michael Jr. gave all of his rodeo equipment to his son. Birdsbill Jr. has decided to retire.
“I knew my time was up,” Birdsbill Jr. said. “I was getting too old and too slow.”