Home of the Champions

Coinciding with Red Lodge’s three day Independence day celebration is the annual “Home of the Champions Rodeo. Red Lodge is historically known for being home to some of the rodeo greats–and has hosted this particular show for 88 years.

The stands are packed with both locals and visitors for this home town rodeo.

Children and their parents, audience members young and old, gather here after purchasing fried oreos and “6 packs” of beer (conveniently packaged loosely in grocery bags) to witness cowboys get bucked off bulls and horses and rope cattle. There is banter between the announcer and the rodeo clown who performs stunts in between main events.

The rodeo clown jumps through a ring of fire on a car made out of a bathtub.
Cowboys attempt to quickly rope a calf.

Red Lodge’s rodeo is unique and clearly important to the community and draws participants from all over North America. An event that really has at least a little something for everyone(even if that’s just witnessing little kids ride around on sheep during mutton busting)–you really can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned western rodeo.

The Rodeo

The Ennis, Montana pen sorting competition at the Ennis rodeo grounds. This event drew hundreds of people to the grounds to watch and cheer on those participating.

Dan getting ready to compete in the Rodeo competition

Pen sorting is the sorting of cattle moving them one at a time from one pen to the other. The idea is to mark a specific cow you want to heard into the other pen. Once selected you charge at the cow and attempt to separate it from the group and move it into the smaller cage.

Leather saddles
Horse about to compete

Below are images of the men and women competing to get the cattle from one pen to the other as soon as possible. Everyone works in teams of two. The goal is to get all of the cattle into the smaller pen one by one the fastest.

Woman attempting to block the wrong number cattle from getting into the pen
Man in deep concentration
Men in action
The cattle
Woman getting ready to charge the cows
Singling out the brown cow
Attempting to break up the group