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High school state rodeo finals getting underway at Kalispell's Majestic Valley Arena

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Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 06, 2024

KALISPELL — The Montana high school rodeo state finals bring together the best of the best from the Treasure State, with everything from barrel racing to steer wrestling, and this year the state finals are being held at the Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell.

"We're gonna have a lot of good action. I mean, these kids have worked hard all year long," said Jay Wagner, the national director of the Montana High School Rodeo Association. "And you're gonna see the best of the best in the state of Montana here compete to send our top four kids to the national finals in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in July. So I mean it gets intense, and it just gets good watching."

As for the experience from the point of view of a competitor, 17-year-old Blaise Bolich knows just how special the state finals are.

"You got everybody in the state here. You know, usually we got a couple of rodeos each weekend, so you don't get to see everybody at the same rodeo, so it's nice to get to show up, see everybody from the whole state," said Bolich. "Also, you know, everybody's here competing against everyone, so then you get to see all the parents, too, and then all the support from everybody for all the kids is always cool."

Support comes from all corners of Montana, with competitors participating from Kalispell to Glasgow.

"We see a lot of different communities in our travels during the year, and rodeo is just a tight community," said Wagner. "I mean, we call it a family, we consider everybody a family in the sport of rodeo."

And that family atmosphere is felt by everyone present, as the rodeo provides a place to cheer each other on.

"It's great because you get to go every weekend and you always have your friends you're with and stuff and even people you might not hang out with as much, we're all there, we’re supporting each other," Bolich said with a smile. "We're having fun together and we're pretty much just one big old family."

The week-long event will continue into the weekend with the championship round taking place at 1 p.m. Saturday.