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Deep roots and family ties at Broadwater County Rodeo

Family ties and rodeo tries pic
Posted at 2:31 PM, Aug 06, 2023

TOWNSEND — For six decades, the Townsend rodeo has been a tradition in Broadwater County bringing the community together. Though the competitors may change each year like the leaves on a tree, there are still plenty of branches that remain the same.

“I’m noticing tonight that some of these younger ones, it was their grandparents that were involved and have passed on,” says 2021 Montana ProRodeo woman of the west award winner Elaine Graveley.

From high school sweethearts to Broadwater County royalty, the Graveleys have done so much for the community as their roots run deep in Townsend. Elaine’s husband, Bob, has held many roles in the Montana rodeo association sphere and spoke about the camaraderie shared between the rodeo contestants, fans and volunteers who help put this event on every summer.

“Family means everything in a deal like this,” mentioned Bob Graveley.

The Graveleys were involved with the MRA prior to 1980 when they merged to become the Northern Rodeo Association (NRA). The couple now run a farm just outside of town and continue to thrive in small-town Montana.

Before they were members on the board of directors and before the rodeo scene grew to what it is today, the Graveleys would load up their horse trailers while getting the kids rounded up before traveling from Montana rodeo to Montana rodeo such as traveling from Hot Springs clear down to Bridger in a single day,

“We would drive down the road with $60,000 to $80,000 worth of money in the trunk and thank God a lot of people didn’t know about it because we never lost a penny over 20 some years,” added Bob Graveley with a chuckle.

Mrs. Graveley was a crucial piece of the original group who planted the trees, painted the grandstands and built the Townsend rodeo arena into what you see today.

“Because I love the association, I love the cowboys, I love the stock, the tractors, it was a big part of our life, and would we do it all over it again? You bet,” Elaine. Graveley declared.

The trees at this arena have continued to grow just like her family tree has been able to do over all these years.