THREE FORKS — Outside the Three Forks Rodeo grounds this weekend, 13-year-old Audrey Snellman and 15-year-old Olivia Leininger can be found tending to their horses.
However, they're not there to compete at the annual July rodeo. Instead, they will be performing.
"We're going to be hanging off the side of our horses, bouncing off and coming right back on and standing up on them," Snellman explained with excitement.
The two teenagers gained an interest in trick riding after witnessing it at local rodeos near their hometowns.
“I saw a trick riding at a fair 30 minutes away from us," Leininger recalled. "I begged my parents for lessons for like three years after that, and then they finally gave in.”
Although nearly seven hours separate the two with Leininger located in Scobey while Snellman is in Helena, the two met at a trick riding clinic in 2020 where abnormal horse behavior ultimately sparked a blooming friendship.
“I went down to Joliet, and my horse wasn't working too well," Leininger explained. "We couldn't even bring a trailer because it was so icy on the roads then.”
“I offered for her to borrow my horse, and my horse was not working well for her," Snellman chuckled. "She did not appreciate the adjustment, and so that's originally how we met.”
Over the past three years, the two have since performed at almost two dozen rodeos together executing stunts such as the full fender drag, suicide drag, single vaults hippodrome stand, forward neck layover, and the side back bend.
“My favorite part is definitely the adrenaline," Leininger expressed.
“We've always been sort of the same skill level, and our horses have come along sort of at the same pace, so it's been really great working with her," Snellman added.
As of right now, the two can only perform at amateur rodeos which confines them to most of Western Montana, but both are hoping to get their pro card in the next couple of years.