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Bigfork rodeo caps off Fourth of July weekend

Posted at 9:55 PM, Jul 05, 2020

BIGFORK -- Sunday marked the second official day of the Bigfork rodeo over the Fourth of July weekend, making it one of the few rodeos in the Treasure State to continue this summer.

There were some guidelines people had to follow. Masks were recommended but not required, social distancing was also encouraged and sanitization was a must.

The stands were full of people enjoying the festivities while more wandered around the grounds. Few people wore masks, but there were sanitizers available to those who wanted. Vendors were also present. With all of the regulations, director of operations Rob Brisendine was pleased with how things have gone so far.

“It’s exactly what we wanted," Brisendine said. "We limited the capacity of this venue to make sure that we had the space to be able to have people spread out, enjoy the venue and enjoy the rodeo, so it was exactly what we expected.”

And even with the hiatus on rodeo and uncertainty of it all this summer, stock contractor Roy Whitford of Browning said getting the livestock ready felt just like any normal summer.

“This is great," Whitford said. "Everybody gets so happy to be outside and bucking horses and bulls. Lot of fresh air and seeing old friends and everybody is loving it.”

On Sunday evening, the competition started off with a bang with the bareback riding. Kalispell native Dalton May, who just this weekend began his pro rodeo career, scored an 85 on his ride, and the 21-year-old couldn’t have been happier in just his third PRCA attempt.

“Just over the moon, I can’t explain it in words to you," May said. "Was a good time.”

May, who grew up just up the road from Bigfork, added he was happy to see the community continue to put the event on.

"I'm super proud of this community for having it," May said. "With everything shutting down I'm glad they could stay tough and keep it open for us. We all appreciate it very much."

The rodeo had its largest entry pool it has ever had in its three-year history. The three-day event will conclude on Monday.

“What a great way to celebrate our independence here in Bigfork, Montana," Brisendine said. "People had a blast. Everybody was wearing their red, white and blue. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend of rodeo. It was great."