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2023 Bigfork rodeo officially under way after a sold-out Day 1

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Posted at 10:23 AM, Jul 07, 2023

BIGFORK — Since it’s the week of the Fourth of July, that means it's time for the annual Bigfork rodeo. And fans and cowboys showed up from everywhere for the huge event.

“Busy, a lot of people, but fun, (and) exciting," said members of the Beatty family from Helena.

A big rodeo family having been to various ones all across the country, the Bigfork rodeo has left a good first impression.

"It's authentic, it's Montana, it's not like showy, and fake cowboys," said Amber Beatty with a laugh.

Rodeo clown Eddy Fox has been with the Bigfork rodeo since its inception, and the crowd never ceases to impress him.

"The crowd’s always glad to be here having a good time," said Fox with a smile. "I mean we still got people in line out there, it’s amazing."

And while the rodeo wouldn’t be possible without the competitors, Fox gives credit for what makes it special to the people.

“You know what, it's just meeting people. It's meeting people, cause when I first got here I was picking up handicap and bringing them actually right here," said Fox. "And just meeting and them talking to them, and they're so appreciative to you know get a ride in here. It's all about people, man."

22-year old saddle bronc rider Liam Pauly hails from Miles City and has been following in his grandfather's and great uncle’s footsteps since he was 16.

"When you got kind of born into it like I am, it seemed like I didn't really have much of a choice," said Pauly. "Bronc-riding just kind of runs in my blood and it's all I want to do and it's all I think I'll ever do, so, I think that's why I love it."

Now competing in his second ever Bigfork rodeo, and having competed everywhere from Florida to Texas, Pauly knows nothing beats the venue and environment that Bigfork offers.

"Man, the crowd here is nuts. They're just so much fun and New West bucking horses they bring the bucking horses," said Pauly. "And to have one like Pacooney Cougar that's been a ranked horse and the TV pen at the NFRs, that’s special. Especially in Bigfork, beautiful place and right by Flathead Lake, it don't get no better."

The four-day Bigfork rodeo will continue every night through Saturday, and more information can be found at bigforkrodeo.com.