CHOTEAU — This weekend, the 22nd annual Choteau Ranch Rodeo took place in Choteau to celebrate the end of the summer.
Hosting the rodeo brings business to the small town as well as builds community bonds among residents.
“It’s good for the community, you know, the restaurants and gas stations, everybody gets a little slice of it,” Levi Hodgskiss, a judge at the Choteau rodeo, said, “There’s nothing going on on Labor Day in Choteau, and so its always been on labor day since we started, kind of just a fun weekend…a grand finale of the summer…for Choteau.”
Among the handful of local businesses was the Dirty Weiner hot dog trailer, offering gourmet street dogs, and the Fairfield-based Tin Can Treats ice cream trailer. There was also a cowboy attire shop and cotton candy machine.
The rodeo is a great way for the participants to show their skills they’ve acquired doing the job they do every day.
“It showcases some of the tasks that working cowboys do on the ranch,” Jeff Salmond, a team member and coordinator for the rodeo, said, “It’s mainly all for fun, but obviously there’s some money involved, and so it just kind of gives everybody a chance to show off what they know.”
The main attraction for the Choteau rodeo is what they call their “Scramble” event, where a team of riders have to complete multiple tasks at the same time as fast as possible.
“We turn three head of livestock out in the arena… so we have to load one in a trailer, we have to doctor one, and we have to tie one down… and so when that’s done they call for time and we’ll do a second round where we just do a two head team roping real quick, and the fastest time of the day wins,” Salmond explained.
The rodeo is a nonprofit put together by volunteers in the town who want to end the summer on a high note. It is mainly run off of donations from local businesses that the ranchers regularly shop at.
“It’s just their way of kind of showing their appreciation too, and like I said everybody kind of works together and it works great for the community,” Salmond said.
To give back to the community even more, the rodeo offers a few scholarships to young riders looking to further their education, regardless of what that may look like.
“So, many scholarships are based on GPA, or you have to be going to such-and-such college, whatever. This one is wide open,” Hodgskiss said, “it’s a scholarship that anybody can apply for, and we just feel that it’s nice to give back to the youth in the community.”
The scholarship money can go towards any type of continued education, whether it is college or trade school or otherwise.
The rodeo had several hundred attendees and was a great success, as well as a fun way for the community to get together one last time during the summer.
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