DEER LODGE — An accomplished athlete on the football field, the basketball court and the rodeo grounds, there’s nothing Deer Lodge’s Judd Applegate can’t do. Maybe the secret behind success has been his ability to weave the same level of competitiveness into everything he does.
“You have to win, the second palace in football doesn't pay you any money," said Applegate. "And in rodeo you have to get that check or you’re not going to be able go to the next one. It’s just that winning mentality.”
Applegate will put that mentality to the test as he’ll represent Deer Lodge and the state of Montana at the High School Rodeo National Finals July 17-23 in Guthrie, Oklahoma. He and so many other talented saddle bronc riders will showcase on a national stage the amount of talent found right here in the Treasure State.
“We got a lot of good bronc riders up here. Everyone who’s going down there rides broncs really good, and it’s cool to show everyone that we’re still rodeoing up here,” Applegate said.
When this cowboy makes his way back to Powell County his mindset will then start to prepare for this upcoming fall competing for Montana State’s rodeo team. He’ll be the first to admit that seeing his friends who chose to play football in college potentially not have a season is disappointing, but he's humbled by the opportunity he now has as a Bobcat.
“Sucks seeing a lot of my buddies playing football and they’re done, there’s no more competition for them," said Applegate. "At least I’ll get to go over to college and still compete and still have that winning attitude to go through.”