Dick Lyman has been intertwined with Jacobs Livestock Rodeo
By JOE KUSEK
June 9th, 2023
For a half-century, Dick Lyman has been intertwined with Jacobs Livestock Rodeo.
Since graduating high school, if there was a job to be done, and done right, Lyman was there.
From mucking out semitrailers, to sorting horses and bulls for upcoming rodeos and trucking those same animals to events, working as a pickup man in the arena to interacting with local committees, Lyman’s strong hands left their mark.
He approached every job like he did opposing ballcarriers while an all-conference defensive lineman for Montana State’s 1976 national championship football team: with 100 percent effort.
And if not Lyman, his wife Terrie Jo – they’ve been married 45 years – along with daughters Lacey, Fanci, Tiffany and Britney made sure the jobs were completed.
Since 2005, Lyman has been fully in charge of the well-respected stock contracting operation out of Great Falls created by his uncle Bill and stepfather Don in 1974.
Lyman also started the rodeo program at the University of Providence and was the head coach for 11 years.
He is now going through his most difficult task.
Allowing someone else take the reins.
Now 69 years old with 11 grandchildren to chase, Lyman is stepping back from running a company that has played such a significant role for his family.
“The business has changed so much in the last 20 years,” said Lyman two days after putting on Whoop-Up Trails Days in Conrad to start the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour for the Northern Rodeo Association. “There is not enough money to make a living from it. You had to get outside jobs.”
Lyman has brought in Shane Moran of Great Falls as a part owner. Moran is now also the point man for Jacobs Livestock Rodeo and handles the committee and in-arena responsibilities.
“Shane will do well,” Lyman said. “The transition has been really good.”
The wheels for the change were put in motion four years ago when Lyman and his wife met with their four children about the future of the company. The daughters are all married with their husbands working to do well in their chosen professions. The husbands help when they can.
“The goal was to get somebody else involved,” said Lyman. “We told them it was a lot of work for their mom and I.”
The daughters had one answer. “We want to raise our kids like we were raised.”
According to Lyman, Moran was also part of that life-altering conversation.
Moran is a former NRA saddle bronc champion and was a professional saddle bronc rider for almost two decades. He’s been hanging around the Lyman place since he was 10, working to get the chance to ride some bucking horses.
Moran also served as a pickup man for Jacobs Livestock Rodeo and purchased Lyman’s outfitting business.
“He’s more like a son to me,” said Lyman.
And Lyman admits “father and son” have not always agreed.
“They’re younger, they do stuff different from you,” Lyman said. “In the end, if the result is the same, it’s all good.”
“We disagree sometimes,” Lyman finished with a chuckle. “He has some new ideas and I have to remind him they were new ideas 10 years ago. We have a very good working relationship.”
Bill and Don Jacobs began the stock contracting business to provide bucking horses for the Montana Junior Rodeo Association. Their first rodeo was Conrad. Don Jacobs owned D & J Livestock Trucking, now run by grandson Wiley Minor.
Jacobs Livestock Rodeo began its own breeding program in 1977 and has consistently produced some of the top bucking horses and bulls in the NRA.
“We’ve been able to raise some really rank bucking horses,” said Lyman. “We’ve had 10 horses at the National Finals Rodeo raised by us. We’re proud of that.”
Along with the many cowboys and cowgirls who got their start at Jacobs Livestock Rodeo, others include rodeo entertainer Flint Rasmussen, announcer Will Rasmussen and Loyd Ketchum, a former world champion bullfighter.
Currently, Jacobs Livestock Rodeo has 75 bucking horses and 40 bulls on 2,000 acres north of Great Falls. Along with Conrad, the company will produce NRA rodeos at Gardiner, Choteau, Three Forks, Townsend and Twin Bridges this summer. The Three Forks rodeo has grown so much the past 12 years, the committee had to install new bleachers.
To help promote the sport, Jacobs Livestock Rodeo is also putting on weekly events in Bozeman to help young roughstock riders.
Lyman, his wife and Don Jacobs still own shares in the company along with the four daughters.
“All the girls go. We’re still the Jacobs Livestock crew,” he said with another laugh.
“I am very, very proud of what we’ve been able to do,” Lyman continued. “I love rodeo. I was raised in it. We’ll still go to all the rodeos. But now we don’t have to go if we don’t want to.”
One rodeo in, and the all-around races are off to a fast start.
The 2023 Mountain Health Co-op Tour started with Whoop-Up Trail Days, the annual opener for the NRA and Northern Women’s Rodeo Association.
Teenager Mitch Detton of Great Falls set the pace by winning the tie-down roping and placing second in steer wrestling. He returned home with $1,096 in his pockets.
Jordan’s Kelly Murnion kept pace by placing second in both bareback and bull riding and fifth in team roping for $1,051.
Consistent Celie Salmond, the reigning two-time NWRA all-around cowgirl, opened 2023 by placing second in breakaway roping and fourth in barrel racing for $1,050.
Other winners at Conrad were: Chase Schrode, Butte, bareback; Jason Colclough, Libby, saddle bronc; Payton Fitzpatrick, Polson, bull riding; Tate Erickson, Hobson, steer wrestling; Chad Turner-Gavin Beattie, Helena, team roping; Milee Dailey, Pray, barrel racing; Payton Levine, Wolf Creek, breakaway roping; Isabella Moran, Kalispell, junior barrel racing; Royce Levine, Wolf Creek, junior breakaway roping.
The Mountain Health Co-op Tour heads to the northeast part of the state with rodeos in Culbertson and Poplar.
Frontier Days in Culbertson are June 9-10 with performances at 6:30 and 7 p.m. Poplar Wild West Days has 2 p.m. performances on June 10 and 11.