top of page

Two words describe the 2023 Season...Record Setting


Monday, May 20, 2024

Two words describe the 2023 Northern Rodeo Association and Northern Women’s Rodeo Association seasons.

Record setting. As in…

Record setting payouts. NRA and NWRA events, including the NRA Finals, paid out more than $800,000 a year ago.

Record setting accomplishments. Choteau cowgirl Celie Salmond earned $17,846, the most won by a woman or man for a single season. Salmond swept the all-around cowgirl and breakaway roping titles and was second in barrel racing. She also earned money in team roping. Salmond became the first in NWRA history to win three consecutive breakaway championships.

Record setting excitement. That goes without saying.

And 2024 promises to be more of the same.

The new NRA and NWRA seasons will open with not just one, not two but three rodeos the weekend of June 7-8.

Cowboys and cowgirls from around the Treasure State and beyond will have the opportunity to ride, rope and race at Conrad, Culbertson and Poplar. Those with championship dreams will enter all three.

The annual Whoop-Up Trail Days in Conrad has been the traditional opener but will share the early spotlight with the Frontier Days Rodeo in Culbertson and the Poplar Wild West Days.

They are three of the 33 regular-season rodeos across the Big Sky State sanctioned by the NRA and NWRA.

Joining the well-respected Montana rodeo family in 2024 is the Valley View Rodeo in Bozeman. Valley View will be hosting three rodeos, one each in June (20-21), July (25-26) and August (22-23).

And returning home after being away five years is the Marias Fair and Stampede Rodeo in Shelby. The rodeo will be July 19 and 20.

Competitors will have plenty of options to earn their way to the NRA Finals. There are six weekends that feature three or more NRA and NWRA rodeos on the schedule.

That includes the annual “Cowboy Christmas” run during the July 4 holiday with rodeos in Harlowton (July 2-3), Ennis (July 3-4) and Choteau (July 4). Malta is right there on July 6.

Things will heat up in mid-August with four rodeos offered – Twin Bridges, Darby, Deer Lodge and Livingston – being held across a four-day span.

Every competitor will throw their hat in the arena chasing the same goal: to qualify for the NRA Finals.

A year ago, the NRA Finals crowned nine champions in 11 disciplines. Along with Salmond being a double winner, Kelly Murnion of Jordan earned the all-around cowboy and bull riding gold buckles. Seven competitors were first-time champions.

Other 2023 champions were: Jordan Larson, bareback; Hunter Haskins, saddle bronc; Kolby Bignell, steer wrestling; Kevin Peterson, tie-down roping; Shawn Bird, team roping header; Zachary Schweigert, team roping heeler; Alexis McDonald, barrel racing.

The 2024 season will culminate with the NRA Finals, Oct. 24-26 at Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell.

And every rodeo, every dollar earned, counts. Five year-end crowns in 2023 were decided by $921 or less.

The competitors are all ages from all different backgrounds. There are the newcomers, wanting to make their mark. There are the veterans, balancing work and family while pursuing their passion.

The NRA and NWRA has always been a showcase for the future of rodeo. Dan Mortensen, Ty Erickson, Haven Meged and Jess Lockwood are a handful of world champions who got their start in the NRA.

After school got out last summer, Wacey Schalla came to the NRA from Oklahoma to fine-tune his skills. He won the bull riding at Wilsall, Harlowton and Ennis. A few weeks later, Schalla would win the all-around cowboy and bull riding titles at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

This year, competing in bareback and bull riding, the teenager leads the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year all-around standings.

Who will be next?

The stories are plentiful. The action even more so.


See you at the rodeos.

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