DEER LODGE — When an injury while bareback riding brought Kaehl Berg's rodeo career to an abrupt end, the then 20-year-old knew he wasn't about to be done with the sport.
A stock contractor he was working with offered to sell him Red Eye Rodeo, and Berg didn't hesitate to make the purchase.
Growing up on a sprawling ranch outside of Deer Lodge that his family has lived on for five generations, Berg knew that — with the help of his family — he could make the fledgling rodeo a success.
"We come from a ranching background so we were familiar with the animals and all that," said Berg, who is heading into his 14th year of owning and operating Red Eye Rodeo. "We were around for quite a while where we could fall in and start running business. We've just been building ever since we bought it."
Red Eye Rodeo has five stops on its summer schedule — two in Darby, two in Hamilton and Friday's stop in Deer Lodge which is sponsored by Rock Creek Cattle Company.
"We have a really good lineup of cowboys this weekend," said Berg, who supplies all the stock. "We have a local, Judd Applegate, in the bronc riding. He's always fun to watch."
Along with all the work he puts into his rodeo, Berg also helps his family run their hay business that sees them ship their product all over the country, even to Churchill Downs in Kentucky. Berg estimates that his work days often begin around 6 a.m. and end well after the sun has set.
"It's how I was raised," Berg said. "From the time I was little I was out with mom and dad feeding cows to tagging calves to riding horses to haying."
The rodeo begins at the Deer Lodge Fairgrounds on Friday at 7 p.m.