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Molly Salmond chasing multiple titles

June 28, 2023

Molly Salmond was feeling a whole lot better.

Less than 48 hours earlier she had left Casper, Wyoming after a tough College National Finals Rodeo.

“I didn’t have any luck the first two rounds,” said Salmond, who was competing in breakaway roping for the Montana State women’s team as a graduate student.

Salmond did place fourth in the third round but it was not enough to advance to the finals.

But as the CNFR door closed, another opened and providing the reason for the improvement in her mood as she and her sister Celie drove back home to the family ranch 25 miles west of Choteau, nestled against the Rocky Mountains.

Salmond left Wilsall $1,673 richer, winning the barrel racing and sharing first place in breakaway roping with the person sitting alongside her in their rig.

“When we split first place, I was thinking that would be OK if we did this every weekend,” she said.

That mental toughness, that ability to keep moving forward, has made Salmond a strong contender for the all-around cowgirl title on the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour.

Celie Salmond is the reigning Northern Women’s Rodeo Association breakaway roping and all-around cowgirl champion.

A week later in Polson, Molly Salmond won the breakaway roping and placed fifth in barrel racing for another $1,376.

“It’s been pretty good, can’t complain,” she said of her early season.

The 24-year-old Salmond offered a glimpse of her 2023 with her performance at the Northern Rodeo Association/NWRA Finals last October in Kalispell.

She earned six checks – three in each event – at Majestic Valley Arena for $4,550, the most won for any competitor.

Salmond finished third in the final breakaway roping standings, jumped from fifth to 10 in barrel racing and was second to her sister in the all-around cowgirl results.

The rodeo success should be no surprise. Salmond was born into the NWRA. Literally.

Her mother Mary, the winningest cowgirl in NWRA history, was pregnant with her youngest daughter at the NRA Finals in 1999.

Her father Mark is a top-tier team roper.

“When I was little, I was not at all into rodeo,” said Salmond, who also played basketball and volleyball. “And if you would have asked two years ago, I was a roper. I used to hate barrel racing. But I’ve lucked out in having a good barrel racing horse fall into my hands.”

That would be Boo, a 10-year-old gray mare.

Bought by Mark and Mary Salmond as a yearling, Celie was the first to ride the horse.

“She is so deceiving,” said Molly Salmond. “You watch her and it looks like she is not really running. She looks like she is high-loping. Then you’re, ‘Oh, I guess she was going fast.’ “

Salmond ropes on Puddles, a 10-year-old sorrel.

“His best feature is he stops so hard, He can make me pretty fast,” she added.

Salmond’s emergence is also from having a better grip around her emotions.

“I’d say becoming mentally tough. Not letting the small losses get into me,” she said. “I’m a perfectionist. I love to win every time. It used to eat me up. I’m getting better at not being perfect. Our parents taught us not to show emotions in the arena. Head to the truck. They would give us five minutes, then get over it.”

Of course, Salmond could blame genetics.

“Being competitive, that’s the nature of our family,” she finished with a laugh.

Salmond already has a bachelor’s degree in human development and family science and will complete a few credits this fall to earn a master’s degree in agricultural education.

“Right now, I’m enjoying rodeo with no responsibilities and working with my day,” she said of her summer plan.

With certain goals on the horizon.

“I hope to go into the Finals in the lead for barrels and breakaway and would like Celie to be right there with me.”

Last week

Three rodeos in three days meant a lot of checks were earned.

Gavin Beattie of Helena was busy at Polson, winning the tie-down roping and placing third in team roping with Chad Turner. High school state champion Devyn Hundley of Darby won the bull riding while Trapper McAllister won the team roping with Jack McAllister and won the bareback riding. Celie Salmond won the barrel racing by one-hundredth of a second over Abby Knight of Charlo.

At Big Timber, Parker Mothershead of Joliet scored 81 points in saddle bronc riding, the high score of the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour this season. High state champion Leighton LaFromboise won the bareback riding while Quinn McQueary of Belgrade took the tie-down roping.

Team ropers Blayne and Jon Hubing of Circle came away winners at Opheim while Cass Cairns and Grady Larson of Sidney placed 1-2 in tie-down roping.

Polson winners: Dalton May, Coram, bareback; Hunter Haskins, Superior, saddle bronc; Devyn Hundley, Darby, bull riding; Garret Yeager, Choteau, steer wrestling; Gavin Beattie, Helena, tie-down roping; Trapper McAllister-Jack McAllister, Hot Springs, team roping; Celie Salmond, Choteau, barrel racing; Molly Salmond, Choteau, breakaway roping; Sophia Neill, Whitefish, junior barrel racing; Shaylee Broere, Lima, junior breakaway roping.

Big Timber winners: Leighton LaFromboise, Helena, bareback; Parker Mothershead, Joliet, saddle bronc; Jonathan Moore, Great Falls, bull riding; Reno Ward, Deer Lodge, steer wrestling; Quinn McQueary, Belgrade, tie-down roping; Dustin Datisman-Josh Harris, Ronan, team roping; Celie Salmond, Choteau, barrel racing; Etta Fredrickson, Big Timber and Meghan McGinley, Bozeman, breakaway roping; Bryar Taylor, Forest Grove, junior barrel racing; Bode Auck, East Helena, junior breakaway roping.

Opheim winners: Chase Shrode, Butte, bareback; Hunter Haskins Superior, saddle bronc; bull riding, no qualified rides; Reno Ward, Deer Lodge, steer wrestling; Cass Cairns, Sidney, tie-down roping; Blayne Hubing-Jon Hubing, Circle, team roping; Grace Garrison, Divide, barrel racing; Maggie Lund, Sidney, breakaway roping; Landry Larson Sidney, junior barrel racing; Ty Kittson, Harlem, junior breakaway roping.

Up next

There will be plenty of fireworks in and out of the arena as competitors make their annual Fourth of July run.

The holiday fun starts in Harlowton with performances at 6:30 p.m. on July 2 and 3.

It continues with rodeos July 3 and 4 in Choteau and Ennis.

Choteau will have performances at 6 p.m. on July 3 and at 2 p.m. on July 4. Ennis will wrap up the festivities with 7 p.m. shows on July 3 and 4.

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