top of page

Tanner Theriault just can’t stay away.


September 19, 2023

Tanner Theriault just can’t stay away.

Every time he gets knocked down, the Townsend bull rider dusts himself off and gets right back in the chute.

“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it as much as I do,” Theriault said. “I knew I wanted to be a bull rider since I was two years old.”

Theriault is glad he stuck around.

He enters the Northern Rodeo Association Finals presented by nuWest Builders atop the bull riding standings.

The NRA Finals are Oct. 26-28 at Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell.

The showcase event for the NRA and Northern Women’s Rodeo Association features the top 10 competitors in each event from the Mountain Health Co-Op Tour during the summer.

The Finals will crown nine champions for individual events along with the all-around cowboy and all-around cowgirl titles.

Theriault will bring a lead of $1,044 over Devyn Hundley of Darby. 

Hundley is the reigning Montana high school state champion.

Theriault brings a little more experience at 32 years old.

“It’s a good thing,” he said of the generational gap. “I make fun of myself. I like to help the new kids out. Teach them not to be afraid of the bulls and try as hard as you can every time out.

“I feel like everybody’s dad,” Theriault added with a chuckle. “One time they were talking behind the chutes about video games. I had no idea what they were talking about. I feel a little old back there, they all look so young.”

He had 11 top-four finishes this summer, including wins at Gardiner, Scobey, Havre and Wibaux. He was the only bull rider to go the full eight seconds in Gardiner.

“I’m riding more consistent than I ever did,” said Theriault, the father of two young boys, Wylie and Wacey. “I tried to get to everything after the start I had. I only missed a couple of because of weddings and things.”

Theriault has had plenty of reasons to hang up his bull rope.

A horn to the head in Choteau busted an eyebrow in three places and forced him to be life-flighted to the hospital.

He has also broken an ankle, tearing all the surrounding ligaments, injured both shoulders and torn up his elbows and wrists. Theriault said he is always fighting groin issues.

“Just the love of the game,” he said of always coming back. “After I blew out my shoulder last time, I was trying to convince myself it might be time to knock it off.

“But there is no better feeling than crouching down in the chute and nodding your face. It’s addicting.”

Theriault’s best ride was 83 points to win Havre, He went 81 points to win Wibaux and twice scored 80, placing second at his hometown rodeo in Townsend and third at Helmville to close the regular season.

He traveled with saddle bronc rider Jason Colclough of Libby. The 33-year-old Colclough also qualified for the Finals.

“We joked about it all the time,” Theriault said of competing against the youth brigade.

Theriault’s best year-end finish was second in 2014 and he was third in 2015, both times to Jess Lockwood of Volborg. A few years later, Lockwood became the youngest world champion in Professional Bull Riders history.

Theriault does, “Cowboy work,” during the week, helping out at area ranches. He is also starting to get into horseshoeing and doing cement work for a friend. Along with riding horses, “That helps with the groin,” he said. Theriault has a setup in his garage for workouts.

“I feel good, at the top of my game. I haven’t accomplished what I wanted yet. Injuries have stopped me. For the Finals, the No. 1 thing is just staying on … trying my guts out. That’s what I preach to the kids, not to give up, fight to get to the middle.

“The young guys don’t tease me. I go and take their money.”

Judges & Timers Clinic_730.png
Judges & Timers Clinic_730.png
bottom of page