Superior's Hunter Haskins wins saddle bronc at Kalispell rodeo
Hunter Haskins after winning the NRA saddle bronc title at an event in Kalispell. (Roni Haksins photo)
Valley Press | November 8, 2023 12:00 AM
As Hunter Haskins explains it, he learned if he wanted to be a good saddle bronc rider, he had to ride a lot of broncs.
The simplicity of that statement, imparted upon Haskins a few years ago, became sage advice indeed as the Superior area rider won the saddle bronc title at the recent Northern Rodeo Association event in Kalispell, propelling him to the top of the season final standings in that event.
Dozens of the state’s best cowboys and cowgirls descended on Kalispell for the NRA Finals, which helped determine individual and all-around champions for the year.
Joining Haskins as a local cowboy who finished near the top of his specialty was Hot Springs’ Jack McAllister, who finished second in the tie-down calf roping finals and second in the event overall after being atop the standings a good part of the season.
Final results show Haskins first place finish in Kalispell boosted his season earnings in the event to more than $10, 453, enough to edge out second place Parker Mothershead of Joliet, who earned just over $10.334 on the year.
The win also included a new saddle and other rodeo awards.
McAllister, meanwhile, finished second in the tie-down roping first go-round, missed his calf in the second and finished third in the final round to finish second overall for the 2023 season. The Hot Springs cowboy came into the finals as the top tie-down roper in earnings for the year, with $5,844. His below average performance in Kalispell, as per his usual efforts, netted $6,848 for the year, just $220 behind first place overall roper Kevin Peterson of Dillon.
The Finals event featured the top 10 money earners in each of nine events. Cowboys and cowgirls who took part in multiple individual events during the year were eligible for the All-Around titles.
McAllister won several tie-down events toward the end of this season, taking in $3,514 over the last 11 NRA rodeos he entered. He was eligible for the all-Around title because of his team-roping events, in which he combined with his cousin, Trapper McAllister, a roper from Polson. He finished fifth in the all-Around Cowboy competition.
For Haskins, a graduate of Superior High School, the saddle bronc win was the result of his love for the event and working with experienced rodeo guys.
“I attribute my success to putting myself with guys, like Kaehl Berg, who have bucking horses,” Haskins said. “As JB Mauney said about bull riding, ‘if you want to be a good bull rider you gotta ride bulls’”.
Haskins, who has been riding broncs for a couple years, said he “fell in love with rodeo, especially the rough stock, because not everyone can do it”.
Both Haskins and McAllister said they plan to keep riding with the hopes of becoming part of the national Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in the near future.
“I definitely want to keep at this,” McAllister said. “Went to a lot of rodeos this year and I will try to get down the road a bunch next year. I had a blast this year”.
Those sentiments were echoed by Haskins. The two have become good friends over the years.
“The people you meet in the sport are great people,” Haskins said. “I’ve made awesome friends, most of whom I compete against. It goes to show it’s not a competition between the guys but a competition between riders and rough stock. I plan on sticking to NRA in hopes of getting to the level of the pros next year”.
The NRA is a state-wide organization that sponsors dozens of rodeos each year throughout Montana.