AUGUSTA — Since 1936, the Augusta American Legion Rodeo is one of the most anticipated rodeos in the Treasure State.
“We get a good crowd. So, we must be doing something right, I guess.” Ben Arps said modestly.
Arps is the Chairman of the Rodeo Committee; he and his team are putting the finishing touches around the rodeo grounds. Some of the touches include signs, grandstand upkeep, and ensuring the facility is ready to hold upwards of 5,000 spectators.
“It means a lot to the town. It's the biggest thing in Augusta for a one-day deal.”
The biggest thing in town for one day a year has over time turned into a 3-day event.
“We are proud to have one of the longest-running rodeos in the entire state. We always call it the wildest one-day rodeo in the West,” said Tia Troy, President of the Augusta Area Chamber of Commerce, “We've taken that one day and we've really transformed it into an entire weekend that's family-friendly, that's fun, that you can kick up your heels, you can have a great time no matter who you are or where you're going.”
Augusta sits at the base of the Rocky Mountain Front and at the trail heads to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the quintessential setting for one of Montana’s oldest pastimes.
The town of around 300 residents looks forward to rodeo weekend each year as it’s an economic driving force for business owners.
Candi Shalz has owned the Western Bar in Augusta for 11 years and it’s her 12th Augusta Rodeo.
“The sales are phenomenal. It gives us the ability to kind of hold that income and make it through the winter,” explained Shalz.
According to Brand MT at the Department of Commerce, non-resident spending from 2016-21 totaled $5.1 billion, within that time period, nearly 72 million non-residents visited Montana.
Tourism is one of the state’s leading industries and, in a weekend, alone, Augusta is going to see a significant revenue increase.
One example Troy shared with MTN News is the increase in sales the lone gas station in Augusta will see on Sunday.
Food and beverage sales will only amount to a portion of the money spent in the community.
The Augusta American Legion Rodeo is a PRCA-sanctioned event and will host Kesler Rodeo stock.
Here is the schedule of events:
Friday, June 23: Live music at the Lazy B
Saturday, June 24
- Wapiti Run (10K at 8:30 a.m.//5K at 9 a.m.//1 mile at 10:15 a.m.) - you can enter the day of!
- The Love, Music, and Rock & Roll Parade at 2 p.m.
- Vendors throughout town
- Allen's Manix Store (The Trading Post) will be serving their world-famous tacos, burgers, etc. on the side of the store
- Slack at 5 p.m.
Sunday, June 25
- Food and vendors throughout town
- Rodeo performance at 2 p.m.
Although the main rodeo takes place on Sunday, Augusta would love to see guests stay all weekend.
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