BIGFORK — It is summertime in Montana and that means it is peak rodeo season, and the city of Bigfork hosted the third annual Montana’s Toughest Cowboy Rodeo.
"It’s outstanding," said Whitefish resident David Benjamin.
"Love it, love it, love it," echoed his wife Hillary Parker.
As for why they love it…
"Man, it’s loud, it’s fun," said Benjamin.
"And it’s personal," said Parker. "You really get to know the riders and hear their stories a little bit."
And when it comes to what separates the rodeo in Bigfork from others they’ve been to.
"Oh man the action, and the people, everybody here is so nice," said Benjamin with a smile.
"I love watching the little kids on the sheep, cause they’re like the junior rodeo guys," said Parker. "They’re just getting started, and it’s great to see that it starts so young. It’s a great culture and a great sport."
One cowboy from Polson is in his first year of professional rodeo after starting riding five years ago when he was freshman in high school.
"It’s been tough on me, I just wasn’t ready to jump into big bulls quite yet so I struggled for a while," said bull-rider Gavin Knutson. "But it started clicking about last year and it’s been good since then."
Clicking is an understatement as Knutson was Montana's Toughest Cowboy bull-riding winner in 2022 at only 18 years old and he couldn’t love the rodeo more.
"I think it’s awesome you know, it’s the last frontier sport there is," said Knutson. "It’s cool, I’m happy it’s still going as hard as it is."
Now done with year three, the relatively young Montana’s Toughest Cowboy Rodeo will likely only continue to grow as a fan favorite.