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Rodeo packs the arena at Mineral County Fair

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | August 10, 2022 12:00 AM

Not many things in life say “summer” more than a rodeo.

And nothing is more American than cowboys and cowgirls roping and riding in a dusty, flag-bedecked small town Montana arena.

So it was as the summer sun, which was cooler than it had been in several days, prepared to slide behind the mountains surrounding the Mineral County Fairgrounds arena, as if pushed along by the daylight moon.

With a packed house standing and cheering on the riders and ropers from throughout Montana, the 2022 Superior Lions Club Rodeo bucked its way into the history books, another successful run completed.

But not before the standing room only crowd got what they came for ... the excitement, drama and pure athleticism that only rodeo can offer.

From the opening minutes of the Lions Club sponsored event, the animals provided by stock contractor Red Eye Rodeo Company challenged riders to stay in the saddle or behave while they were roped and tied.

Fans from throughout the region and Mineral County in particular also saw some local rodeo talent on display courtesy of the Northern Rodeo Association.

“We had a sellout crowd Friday night and have one again tonight,” said one of the many Lions Club members who worked a variety of tasks to make the event a success. “People of this area and lots of people passing by love rodeo and coming here to watch it.”

A pair of cowboy cousins, Jack McAllister of Hot Springs and Trapper McAllister of Ronan, showed fans there was a good supply of local talent as they competed in both the Tie Down Roping and Team Roping events.

Jack McAllister finished in the upper tier of the eight ropers who entered the Tie Down Roping competition, roping, throwing and securing a calf in 12.3 seconds, much to the delight of the local crowd.

Both then participated in the Team Roping competition later in the program.

For Superior fans, two members of the extensive and athletic Haskins family, Hunter and Heather did their part to entertain the hometown folks.

Hunter was bucked off his ride in the Saddle Bronc event, short of the required eight seconds in the saddle that bronc riders must stay. And Heather, a standout athlete at nearby Superior High School, represented the local folks with her ride in the ladies Junior Barrel Racing event.

Another crowd favorite was Butte area resident Kagen Gooch, who participated in the Bareback Bronc event for just the third time in his life, almost beating the eight second requirement before being thrown to the dirt floor of the arena.

In true “Cowboy Up” fashion, Gooch bounced back to his feet and fist pumped to the crowd. Gooch later was one of a handful of riders who participated in the always popular Bull Riding competition.

In between rodeo action, fan favorite Dangerous Dan unleashed his clown comedy on the crowd while encouraging fans to stand and dance. Those who did were rewarded with t-shirts DD tossed their way.

The rodeo is a highlight each year of the Mineral County Fair, which also features carnival rides, food and craft booths and live music during its two-day run. Proceeds from the fair are used to help the Lions Club with a variety of charitable causes the benefit the local community.

Erin and William Crawford, who saw the fair as they were passing by on Interstate 90 and could not resist the thought of a small town celebration in the mountains of Montana. The couple, from the Seattle area, also attended the rodeo before heading off to Missoula as part of an annual Montana vacation.

“We’ve seen this little fair from the road, but never stopped to check it out,” said William Crawford. “Together with the rodeo this was probably the best part of our vacation so far. Loved the small town atmosphere and how nice everyone is. And the rodeo was especially cool to see.

“I can’t imagine sitting on top of an animal the size of a bull and trying to hang on.”

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Flags, horses and riders assemble in the middle of the Mineral County Fairgrounds arena Saturday prior to the start of the second day of the Lions Club Rodeo. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)

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Fan favorite Kagen Gooch of Butte tries to stay aboard a bucking bronc during the third such ride of his career. He was bucked off two seconds shy of the required eight seconds, but the crowd still loved him. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)

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Crowd favorite Dangerous Dan clowns around on a support pole atop the fence at the Lions Club Rodeo Saturday night. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)

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Hot Springs resident Jack McAllister chases a calf out of the chute during the Tie Down Roping event at Saturday's Lions Club Rodeo in Superior. (Chuck Bandel/MI-VP)

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