Cowboy Trio Work Both Ends Of The Arena

By JOE KUSEK

August 5, 2021

Brice Patterson, Dixon Winn and Caleb McMillon are different from their peers.


But in a good way.


While their contemporaries rope, ride and wrestle then rest, the trio doesn’t have that luxury.


They are a little busier.


More rare these days than not, Patterson, Winn and McMillon work both ends of the arena.


They are dual-identity cowboys, competing in both rough stock and timed events.


They bring back memories of the legendary Bob Schall of Arlee, the winningest cowboy in the history of the Northern Rodeo Association. Schall earned a total of 27 championship saddles competing in bareback (12), steer wrestling (4) and team roping (1). He has an NRA-record 10 all-around cowboy titles. Schall won titles in three different decades.


This generation will get the opportunity for more rides and swings of the rope when the Mountain Health Co-op Tour resumes this weekend with rodeos in Dodson (Aug. 5), Superior (Aug. 6-7) and Townsend (Aug. 6-7).


There are only 10 rodeos remaining on the regular season schedule as cowboys and cowgirls pursue a top 10 spot in the standings to qualify for the Northern Rodeo Association/Northern Women’s Rodeo Association Finals.


Patterson, a teenager from Bozeman, leads both the all-around cowboy and bareback standings. He is also fifth in steer wrestling and has cashed a check in team roping.


“I’d like to win some money in tie-down roping,” he said. “I’ve been close a few times. I don’t know why I haven’t done that yet.”


The 28-year-old Winn has won money in bull riding, team roping and tie-down roping. He is 10th in the tie-down roping standings and 12th for both bull riding and for the team roping heelers. Winn lives in East Helena.


McMillon, of Jackson, is second in both the all-around and bull riding standings and third among tie-down ropers.


The Mountain Health Co-op Tour was able to catch two of the three during their busy summer and throw some questions to Patterson and Winn.


The 19-year-old Patterson attends school at the University of Wyoming where he competes for the rodeo program. Winn is originally from Utah and works for Turner Performance Horses that operates in Montana during the summer and Arizona in the winner.


Why?


Patterson: I was a timey before I was a roughy. I’m just too dumb to quit any of them. I felt more involved with more events.


Winn: I grew up with Joe and Josh Frost. I grew up roping and riding bulls. No sense of going to a rodeo if only going to enter one event.


How do you divide practice time?


Patterson: I like to work the bucking machine. We go by feel. Our horses are seasoned enough where they don’t need to be run every day. Some days, we might just go a few runs and stop. But we make time for it.


Winn: For work, I train roping horses. I get on practice bulls every so often when I can.


Which event is tougher?


Patterson: In my opinion, saddle bronc is the hardest event and tie-down roping is the second- hardest. In tie-down you’re doing so many simple things, sequential things. Bareback is physically demanding and steer wrestling is the most fun. You’re jumping on steers.


Winn: The tie-down roping is the one I have to work on the most.


Timey or rough stock?


Patterson: I’m an all-around hand.


Winn: I’d say timey. Note: He is now a full-time timed event cowboy after tearing his groin at Big Timber.


Goals for the NRA season?


Patterson: Just make money, keep the momentum and have fun. Want to keep our horses healthy and ourselves healthy.


Winn: I have a couple of great horses and want to season them and get to the Finals. Hopefully, I can win a couple of championships. Hope to win the all-around.

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