COLUMBIA FALLS — The Flathead Valley has looked forward to this open rodeo for the past two decades, and the Blue Moon Rodeo is back starting this week.
"It's an open rodeo so anybody can enter," Blue Moon owner Bill Sapa said. "I will tell you about five years ago, a couple of local guys, Matt Triplett and Beau Hill, world-class bull riders, right across the chutes over there, they were helping these young kids pull the ropes. I mean, that was pretty neat -- having major leaguers helping these kids."
This is the 21st straight year that the rodeo in Columbia falls has gone on. But for Sapa, both of his parents passed away this year and this is the first year he has ran it without them.
"A lot of the time I remember the things they told me, but now it's just, 'Get her done.' It's been good, but there are some times when it's lonely and there's some weird moments, but we're a pretty strong family. They raised us, they trained us and we're getting her done. I think they'd be proud," said Sapa.
Sapa's daughter Hailey also contributes to this family-owned business, and she said just carrying on her grandparents' legacy is what is most important to her.
"Just carrying on what they did. Do our best to keep it what they wanted and keep it going," said Hailey.
Blue Moon started as a family-owned bar, but then the vision got even bigger for the Sapa family when they decided to add a rodeo out back.
"The Blue Moon has always been a country-western bar and outdoors and hunting and all the guys that come in, the patrons, they're like, 'Hey, we should have rodeo out back.' So we came back out here and we kind of marked it off, bought the arena and started it up and it's really grown," Bill Sapa said.
He continues to grow his parents' legacy, and his family and friends made sure he's not doing it alone.
"Brash Rodeo, they've ran it and they've done a great job. Basically the Sapa family, we do the concessions and the bars and I got a lot of help from my family. If you look over in the concession stand, it's my kids and their friends and it's a family affair and it's pretty neat deal," said Sapa.
This open rodeo will be taking place throughout June in Columbia Falls.