BOZEMAN — Students at Montana State were greeted with quite the surprise Wednesday as the rodeo team made their way through campus on horseback, which only means one thing - the greatest show on dirt is back inside the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse for the annual spring rodeo.
“I don’t know of any other schools in the country that get to do what we do, and this is the Bobcat spirit getting to walk through and really live up to the western lifestyle that is Montana and is MSU," rodeo junior Paige Rasmussen said. "It’s really cool getting to share our culture with the rest of the students on campus.”
A horse ride through campus to promote the spring rodeo is a tradition that spans back decades for Montana State, but Wednesday’s stroll was different than most.
Not only was it a first for new head coach Kyle Whitaker, but because of a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, most of the team has never actually competed inside the Fieldhouse.
“There are very few kids that are on our team that has gotten to compete in there, so they’re all excited about it," Whitaker explained. "I’ve heard a lot of people in the community that are really excited that it’s back.”
To add to the excitement, Montana State women’s rodeo will be adding another banner to the rafters Thursday evening after capturing their third national championship this past year.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about that banner being raised up there," Rasmussen added. "I haven’t even seen it in person yet, and I think once it goes up there the realization will kind of finally hit that we are national champs and we deserve to be up there.”
There’s one more thing to look out for Thursday if you plan on attending the first night of performance rounds: athletic director Leon Costello strapping onto a monster bull.
“He rode a practice bull yesterday," Rasmussen chuckled. "He looked great. Form was perfect. I’m excited to see him ride.”
Montana State rodeo posted a video on Wednesday of Costello practicing on a bull, which read:
A bet is a bet! Athletic Director Leon Costello agreed to get on a bull at our spring rodeo if Cowboys and Candlelight reached our goal of clearing $150,000…thanks to your support Leon will be strapping it on a monster bull on Thursday night in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse!
"Leon is a cool athletic director," Whitaker smiled. "There are not many people who would even think about it, and honestly, I was a little surprised that he went through with it and got on the practice bull last night.”
Performance rounds start Thursday night at 7 p.m. Tickets can be found here.