RED LODGE - Even for the world's best rodeo competitors, travel plans are bound to tumble.
"Like today, we rushed in here," Dustin Boquet told MTN Sports before his bull riding event in Red Lodge. "My truck is leaking radiator fluid in Cody (Wyo.), so I'm going to ride in the first section, get back in a truck with Koby and head back to Cody and pick up my truck."
Boquet, who hails from Bourg, Louisiana, and was in fast forward even before slowing down to nail his Xtreme Bulls event ride for 85 points. It earned him a second-place finish and a solid paycheck to help alleviate some of the sting of that radiator fix.
He's one of thousands of contestants who storm the country chasing money during Cowboys Christmas, the richest regular season run in rodeo always held during the Fourth of July week. Boquet entered it ranked top-10 in the PRCA world standings.
"Yeah, it ain't the easiest job, but somebody's got to do it I guess," Boquet said underneath the Red Lodge grandstands next to the bucking chutes. "It ain't too bad, you get to see some pretty cool places."
Cool places, like the scenic Home of Champions Rodeo tucked into the base of the Beartooth Mountains.
Truth this, travel isn't just part of the gig, it is the gig. Like so many others, Boquet and travel partner Jeff Askey burn tens of thousands of miles every season. Those highway days and nights have earned Boquet multiple invites to the prestigious, high-paying National Finals Rodeo in December where he's wrangled a pair of gold buckles. You'll often see him wearing one.
"I was wearing my Fort Worth Xtreme Bulls buckle for a long time because I've always wanted to win that one," Boquet explained. "But I went back to wearing my NFR buckle. I've got two NFR round win buckles and I put my first one on because it means a lot to me."
As he heads down another July highway, Boquet's mind sometimes wanders toward another leisure he lives for back in Cajun Country. One far from pavement.
"I do a bunch of waterfowl hunting and a lot of freshwater fishing, large-mouth bass fishing," he said. "Whenever I get back in September or October, it's going to be hunting and fishing. That's all it's going to be."