To say the upcoming rodeos in Jardine will be a family affair would be an understatement
By JOE KUSEK
July 19, 2022
To say the upcoming rodeos in Jardine will be a family affair would be an understatement.
For eight days, the small community outside of Gardiner will a crucial part of the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour with four rodeos scheduled.
The Hells A-Roarin’ Guts N Glory Rodeos are July 21 and 22 and again July 28 and 29. All four, new to the Northern Rodeo Association and Northern Women’s Rodeo Association schedule this year, are individual events.
All four performances will begin at 6 p.m. The four rodeos account for one-eighth of the 32-rodeo Mountain Health Co-Op Tour schedule for 2021.
The rodeos will be held on the Hells A-Roarin’ Outfitters property, owned by Warren and Sue Johnson.
“We just love the sport of rodeo,” said Sue Johnson. “My husband loves watching broncs.”
Along with running an outfitting business – horseback riding and fishing in the summer and elk hunting in the fall – the Johnson have a few stud horses and some mares at their ranch. They are part owners of the horse Fringe Jacket, used the bucking string owned by PRCA stock contractor Sparky Dreesen of the well-respected J Bar J out of Circle. The Big Circle Rodeo Company, also owned by Dreesen, is one of the primary stock contractors for the NRA.
Colts born on the Johnson place are divided into bucking stock and working horses for their dude ranch.
The rodeos set for July 21 and 22 were rescheduled from June when devastating floods wiped out access in and out of Gardiner.
“I was driving back from Billings and there was a mudslide,” Johnson recalled. “It didn’t break through my windshields. I told my husband I had never seen the river so high.
“With the flooding we knew immediately it (the June rodeos) were not going to happen. But we still wanted to get it done.”
The Johnsons have put on rodeos before, putting on weekly shows in Gardiner 2000-01 and last year having a PRCA event, along with a broncs and bulls event.
“The contestants and audience are a better fit,” said Johnson of being sanctioned by the NRA and NWRA.
That is where more family becomes part of the picture.
Jacobs Livestock Rodeo will be the stock contractor for all four rodeos in Jardine. The long-time company is owned by Dick and Teri Jo Lyman and been a staple in the NRA for many years. Dick Lyman and Sue Johnson are second cousins.
“No family discount,” said Johnson with a laugh of hiring Jacobs Livestock Rodeo. “They have great stock.”
The Lymans, along with members of their extended family employed for the rodeo, worked Three Forks last weekend and will be staying at the Hells A-Roarin’ cabins and tents through the end of July.
And working alongside them will be Sue and Warren Johnson, along with their children Jeremiah and Aimee.
“I’ll be working concessions,” Sue Johnson said.
The rodeos have $6,000 added per event and will play key roles in the year-end standings. There will also be a children’s calf scramble.
And even with the delay and flooding issues, the Johnsons are already planning for the future.
“We’d love to have more rodeos in the summer,” said Sue Johnson.
Garrett Cunningham continued to be in the man in the hot seat, the saddle bronc title at Havre, his fourth consecutive victory. It was also a big day for the Bird family as husband Dustin Bird and partner Ike Folsom won the team roping while wife Alicia won the barrel racing.
Other Havre winners were: Dalton May, bareback; Kobe Whitford, bull riding; Garret Yeager, steer wrestling; Ben Ayre, tie-down roping; Ellie Meeks, breakaway roping; Tye Brown, junior barrel racing; Cooper Fisher, junior breakaway roping.
The performances matched the weather at Three Forks: sizzling. And among the hottest were brother and sister, Caleb and Ellie Meeks. Caleb Meeks won the saddle bronc competition with an 88-point ride, believed to be one of the high scores in NRA history. Ellie Meeks won her second breakaway roping of the weekend with a time of 2.2 seconds, the fastest of the year.
Other Three Forks winners: Trevor Kay, bareback; Austin Oshea, bull riding; Jhett Murphy, steer wrestling; Ty Hedrick, tie-down roping; JR Winter and Brandon Nicholls, team roping; Darby Haskins, barrel racing.
Along with four rodeos in Jardine, the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour continues in Scobey and Eureka.
The Daniels County Rodeo will be July 21 with a 6:30 p.m. performance while Eureka will be going at 8 p.m. on both July 22 and 23.