And Then There Were Two
By JOE KUSEK
September 1, 2022
And then there were two.
Another successful Mountain Health Co-Op Tour regular season comes to an end this weekend with rodeos in Hamilton and Helmville.
Hamilton is Sept. 2 and 3 with 7 p.m. performances each night. The 2022 regular season concludes in Helmville on Sept. 4 and 5 with 1 p.m. shows.
Red Eye Rodeo will be the busiest stock contractor in the state, producing both events.
But there are more than just rodeos being showcased. The final regular season weekend promises to match the weather: sizzling hot.
These are the final opportunities for competitors to qualify for the Northern Rodeo Association/Northern Women’s Rodeo Association Finals Oct. 27-29 at Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell.
Only the top 10, from the hundreds who competed, qualify in each event at the premier event.
Those at the top of the standings want to extend their leads during Labor Day weekend while those in the middle want to solidify their positions.
It’s toward the bottom of the top 10, where the action, where the real pressure, is to perform.
The average distance between 10th and 11thplace in the nine individual events is a scant $129.
Less than $100 in breakaway roping, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding and team roping heelers separates those in the final spot of the top 10 and those trying to join the party.
That means a single throw, ride or race will be the difference for those competing at the Finals and those staying home in October.
The weekend marks the close of the regular season, the 30thand 31st rodeos of the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour. Not even historic flooding could slow down the try of hard-working committees dedicated to the sport.
How close is the competition?
The complete top 10 in the standings for steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping headers, team roping heelers, barrel racing and breakaway roping will be in contention for year-end championships.
Cowboys and cowgirls have two more opportunities to qualify for the Finals.
Who will be competing in Kalispell? We’ll find out soon after the dust settles in Hamilton and Helmville.
Daughter Milee Dailey and mother Gayleen Malone are close. Both compete in barrel racing and both live in the community of Pray. The two finished 1-3 in the barrel racing at Boulder, separated by just .14 seconds. Brynna White was second at hometown rodeo to break up the family fun.
Other Boulder winners were: Trevor Kay, bareback; Judd Applegate, saddle bronc; Kyler McDonald, bull riding; Austin Whitehouse, steer wrestling; Wyatt Lytton, tie-down roping; Dustin Bird and Ike Folsom, team roping; Mikayla Witter, breakaway roping; Tye Brown, junior barrel racing; Blaise Bolich, junior breakaway roping; Kagen Gooch, rookie bareback. Whitehouse’s time of 4.4 seconds in steer wrestling is the third-fastest of the summer.
Bucky McAlpine continued his winning ways at Wibaux, sweeping the bareback and bull riding titles while Tammy Jo Carpenter drove a long way to win the barrel racing. Carpenter, an all-around cowgirl contender, traveled almost 1,000 miles from Kalispell to the rodeo on the far eastern part of the state. She won in 17.43 seconds, the same time she won Deer Lodge the week before.
The Wibaux rodeo drew competitors from four different states.
Other Wibaux winners were: Qwint Stroh, saddle bronc; Miles Spickelmier, steer wrestling; Tyler Schau, tie-down roping; Wroper Kosel and Wyatt Magilke, team roping; Baili Nielsen, breakaway roping; Bailey Billingsley, junior barrel racing; Brooke Billingsley, junior breakaway roping; Neil Kittlemann, senior men’s breakaway roping; Cashae McGee, goat tying.
It was a family affair in Chinook as father-daughter Mark and Celie Salmond won the team roping while father-son pair Bill and Ben Ayre of Glendive were second. Celie Salmond leads the 2022 breakaway roping and all-around cowgirl standings while Ben Ayre leads the tie-down roping standings. Garrett Cunningham won the saddle bronc, his 11th victory of the season.
Other Chinook winners were: Bucky McAlpine, bareback; Kobe Whitford, bull riding; Tyler Houle, steer wrestling; Carson Stevenson, tie-down roping; Brittney Cox, barrel racing; Nicole French, breakaway roping; Kenzie Kallenberger, junior barrel racing; Slade Stubblefield, junior breakaway roping.