Bigfork rolls out the red carpet for first Summer Pro Rodeo

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Everything is set, so let the action finally begin.

The first performance of the Bigfork Summer Pro Rodeo is Friday with a second to follow on Saturday at a field venue located at the intersection of Montana 82 and 85.

Gates open at 6 p.m. with the first cowboy-up at 7.

Admission is $10 for children and $15 for adults.

VIP tickets were sold out several weeks ago.

Children 12-and-under are admitted free tonight along with veterans. Saturday is billed as a Show Your Colors night with fans encouraged to wear red, white and blue. Viet Nam Veterans of the Flathead Valley will be handing out flags.

More than 1,300 tickets have already been sold for each performance. The portable bleachers and grandstand will accommodate 2,000.

“They started doing the dirt work on the field about six weeks ago to make sure it was safe, a flat surface for the arena,” Rebekah King, executive director of the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

“That was one of the concerns for having it there.”

Instillation of temporary bleachers and grandstand were completed three weeks ago.

“We are very, very excited to have the opportunity to have a PRCA sanctioned rodeo in Bigfork,” King said. “It’s also a great compliment to our 4th of July festivities.”

New West Rodeo Productions of Cut Bank is the stock contractor.

New West just finished with the Little Bighorn Rodeo in Hardin. Following Bigfork, New West has an August date with the Cascade Pro Rodeo and a September trip to Bozeman for the Copper Springs Ranch Rodeo.

New West puts on three to four rodeos a season, but sends its stock to as many as 15.

One of its horses — 303 Pikuni Cougar — helped Wyatt Casper to an 86.5-point saddle bronc ride in Mandan, North Dakota, on Monday. That was the top mark of the night.

Another horse — 44 Right Spur — has been to the Wrangler National Finals five times.

“We’re looking forward to this, making it an annual event,” Robert Brisendine, operations manager of the rodeo, said.

“We’ve had great community support from Day 1 to make it a reality.”

Brisendine said Tuesday’s rain “set us back a little bit, but it’s all coming together. The arena looks great. We anticipate great crowds (both nights).”

He said the days leading up to the rodeo were spent fine tuning the arena with pens, sponsor locations and VIP corrals.

“Grooming the field, getting it ready for everybody,” he said.

“Any time you put on a first-time event, you hear a lot of things you should do and shouldn’t do. Overall, we have had a very experienced team who has done this all over the country. It’s nice to have that experience.”

To purchase tickets online, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bigfork-montana-summer-pro-rodeo-tickets-44109832697.

There will be a slack event Friday morning at 9.

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