If you are undecided on which night is the best one to attend the Northwest Montana Fair PRCA Rodeo, it doesn’t really matter as the lineup for all three performances is once again loaded with talent.
Cowboys and cowgirls flock to the Flathead Valley for this event because of the Kesler Championship Rodeo stock, and of course, the nice paychecks for posting times and scores.
There will be three nights of rodeo action — Thursday, Friday and Saturday — with each performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.
Ty Erickson, the top-ranked steer wrestler from Helena, is schedule for the second performance on Friday. He currently leads the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association standings in that event with earnings of $113,094.
Nick Guy of Sparta, Wisconsin, is ranked 14th and Bridger Chambers of Stevensville is 17th. They will also be up on Friday.
Josh Clark of Belgrade, who is ranked No. 22, is on the Thursday card.
Hank Hollenbeck of Molt, last year’s winner, is scheduled to go Saturday.
The PRCA front runner in bull riding, Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Oregon, is up Friday. He leads with $166,201 in earnings and has drawn the bull Excessive Force.
Trey Kimzey of Strong City, Oregon, is ranked ninth and will also ride Friday. He’s matched up with the bull Fidget Spinner.
Polson’s Payton Fitzpatrick, who finished third at the Missoula Stampede earlier this month with an 83-point go, is up Thursday on Goosebumps in the bulls.
J.T. Moore of Alvin, Texas, will not be back to defend his fair bull riding title.
The saddle bronc will have at least one top 10 performer each night.
On Thursday, it’s the Wright brothers Rusty and Spencer of Milford, Utah, who check in at No. 8 and 9.
The No. 3 cowboy, Sterling Crawley of Stephenville, Texas, and No. 4 Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, Texas, are up on Friday night. Jacobs Crawley won the fair rodeo a year ago with a 90-point ride on Copper Cat with Sterling Crawley placing third with an 85.
Chase Brooks of Deer Lodge, fifth in saddle bronc earnings, rides on Saturday.
The bareback field is loaded on Friday with five cowboys in the top 13. They are Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas, fourth; Caleb Bennett of Corvallis, sixth; Steven Dent of Mullan, Nebraska, eighth; Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, Minnesota, 11th; and Trenten Montero of Winnemucca, Nevada, 13th.
Jake Pratt of Ellenburg, Washington will compete in tie-down roping on Saturday. He is ranked 18th. Jennifer Sharp of Richards, Texas, is ranked eighth and will compete in barrel racing on Thursday.
Team roping will be heavy on Montana talent with plenty of familiar names like Rich Carpenter and Chris Westphal, both of Kalispell, Caleb Guardipee and Dustin Bird, both of Cut Bank, Sam Levine of Wolf Creek, Shawn Bessette of Great Falls, Travis Tryan of Billings and Cody Tew of Belgrade to name a few. Bird, who will ride with Sid Sporer of Cody, Wyoming, on Friday, is 22nd in the standings.