Great Northern RAM Rodeo Returns
By JOE KUSEK
July 15, 2021
Welcome back, Havre.
After a five-year absence, the Great Northern RAM Rodeo returns to the Northern Rodeo Association’s Mountain Health Co-op Tour.
Havre’s comes back to the schedule is this Friday at 7 p.m.
“The NRA is a great fit for the Havre rodeo,” said Doug Kallenberger, who has spent the last two months putting together the event.
“It feels good to have the NRA back in Havre.”
The one performance rodeo is also a fund-raiser for the Montana State-Northern rodeo program.
Havre was part of the NRA/NWRA regular season schedule before the Great Northern Montana fair board decided to go with different organizations. The last NRA/NWRA rodeo in the city along Highway 2 was in 2015.
The fair board reached out to Kallenberger in May about the rodeo returning to the NRA family.
“We were late to the table,” Kallenberger said. “We’ve been scrambling. You have to find help … get the right people in the right jobs.”
Kallenberger was the obvious choice to make it happen. His name is synonymous with Havre rodeo.
He was a two-time Montana state high school saddle bronc champion and would be a two-time College National Finals Rodeo for MSU-Northern.
Kallenberger has been the coach for the Lights’ rodeo program since 2012. His wife Emily, a well-known barrel racer, is an assistant coach at MSU-N. The two met while competing for the rodeo team.
“(MSU) Northern has been a big part of our lives,” said Kallenberger. He left the banking industry in May to become an ag instructor on campus.
He was inducted into the MSU-Northern Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.
Since signing with the NRA in May, Kallenberger has balanced his duties of putting together all the pieces of the rodeo, “You could say I’m the committee chairman,” he said with a laugh, along with having his team compete at the CNFR in June and his children compete at the National Little Britches Rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma in early July.
His phone is never far away.
“I live on it,” he said. “No one has been able to catch their breath.”
It helps that Kallenberger is also a former NRA competitor and saddle bronc rookie of the year.
“I loved competing in the NRA,” said Kallenberger. “It was a great stepping-stone. I went straight from high school graduation to riding at Gardiner and Wilsall.
“It taught me how to rodeo without not going so far away. The NRA taught me how to enter and gave me an understanding of the committees who put on the rodeos. It takes a lot of people and a lot of work.
“I always want to be the grateful contestant.”
Now on the other side, Kallenberger has turned to familiar help. The stock contractor is Big Circle Rodeo Company, coordinated by Paul Eiker and Sparky Dreesen. Big Circle Rodeo Company also produces the school’s annual Big Sky Region rodeo.
“You know you’re in good hands with those people,” said Kallenberger.
And he will be working both sides of the fence. Kallenberger is entered in team roping with brother-in-law George Marcenko and daughter Kenzie is entered in the junior barrel racing and breakaway roping. Kenzie finished second in the 2020 junior barrel racing standings and was fourth in the all-around.
“I might have to make sure I’m around for the team roping draw or maybe shorten up the score,” said Kallenberger with another chuckle of tilting the arena in his favor.
“Next year, we want to make it a two-day event. Make it a little bigger, make it better.”
Havre is the middle of a busy weekend for NRA and NWRA competitors.
Scobey and Deer Lodge begin Thursday. Scobey is one performance while Deer Lodge hosts Red Eye Daze, a three-day rodeo that goes through Saturday. It is the only three-day rodeo on the regular season schedule.
Three Forks is Friday and Saturday.
When the dust settled in East Helena and Malta last weekend, Chalee Harms of Miles City had taken over the lead in the all-around cowgirl standings. Harms won the breakaway roping and was second in barrel racing at Malta.
Malta also featured a 1-2 finish in team roping by former National Finals Rodeo qualifiers Brady Tryan and Dustin Bird in team roping. Tryan, with partner Justin Viles, won in 4.3 seconds. Bird, with Ike Folsom, was second in 5.1 seconds.
The Stroh brothers of North Dakota, Kain and Qwint were 1-2 in saddle bronc riding at Malta. They are the sons of former NFR qualifier Shaun Stroh. Shaun Stroh is also a former two-time NRA saddle bronc champion. Qwint also won the saddle bronc competition at East Helena.
East Helena was highlighted by the fastest times of the year in steer wrestling in tie-down roping.
Jaden Whiteman of Belgrade won the steer wrestling in 3.9 seconds while Bozeman’s Caleb Berquist won the tie-down roping in 8.1 seconds.
Less than a second separated the top 10 in a tightly-bunched breakaway roping field. Stephanie Rollins of Great Falls used a throw of 2.5 seconds for the win, while Arena Plenty of Garryowen, Whitehall’s Jenelle White and Drew Zipperian of Clancy shared the last paying spot at 3.4 seconds.
After a flurry of rodeos, the NRA/NWRA heads to Eureka July 23 and 24.