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College rodeo moving forward in Big Sky Region, kicking off fall schedule Sept. 11-12

Rope tied to a fence at a rodeo
Posted at 12:59 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 14:59:31-04

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With sports schedules in flux across the country, college rodeo in Montana and Wyoming is still a go for this fall.

The Big Sky Region, which includes the rodeo programs at Montana, Montana State, Montana State-Northern, Montana Western, Providence and Dawson and Miles community colleges, as well as Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., currently has five rodeos on its schedule for the fall of 2020.

"Things are changing, so that’s just as of today," Sarah Neely, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association director of public relations, told MTN Sports on Tuesday.

"The good news is the Big Sky Region is pretty much, you guys are kind of isolated with Montana, with the exception of Northwest College," Neely continued. "That’s a good region for us as far as travel and the mandates within the state. That region’s looking pretty good."

The Big Sky Region's fall schedule will kick off with a doubleheader at Northwest College on Sept. 11-12. Montana Western (Sept. 18-19), Dawson Community College (Sept. 25-26) and MSU-Northern (Oct. 2-3) are also scheduled to host rodeos. Montana State also has a non-sanctioned invitational rodeo, which will not count toward regional standings, on its schedule for Oct. 10.

Neely said two regions -- the Grand Canyon Region and West Coast Region -- have pushed their fall schedules to the spring, and the Northwest Region is possibly eyeing a move, as well. The NIRA, which is made up of 11 regions, had to cancel to the 2020 College National Finals Rodeo that was slated for June 14-20 at Casper, Wyo., because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the Big Sky Region, rodeos have been scheduled in the Central Plains, Central Rocky Mountain, Great Plains, Ozark, Rocky Mountain, Southern and Southwest regions. The Central Rocky Mountain Region includes a number of programs from Wyoming and Colorado.

"Our members schools are going to be working with, when they send in their rodeo approval, depending on their designee ... they will provide the contract with their county and state health departments and what the phasing is and what the (safety) protocols will be," Neely said.