HELENA — For over three decades, Troy "the Wild Child" Lerwill has been a special act and barrelman at pro rodeos, with his latest stop coming at the Last Chance Stampede in Helena. Lerwill noted one of the bright spots of having a career that spans this long is having adults come back up to him years later to say they still remember him and his act.
“I run into a lot of people that were kids, the young guys that come up to me and say, 'Yeah, I was just a little kid,' and they're roping or riding bulls or something now, 'Yeah I was just a little kid when I seen you the first time,” said Lerwill with a smile.
Though the life of barrelman is not an easy one. Countless months on the road, hours in cities unfamiliar to him, Lerwill was candid with the fact that the path he chose was not an easy one, but one of growth.
"It's taxing on a family. I've been through a couple of marriages. I drank for many years and I, you know, I worked through all of that," said Lerwill. "The whole experience for me on this, on the spiritual side, is the most gratifying that that I've had.”
Through that spirtual journey, Lerwill said it was the laughter from countless fans that kept him going.
"It's a very wonderful thing for me to come to a place and be a part of a program that that lets people laugh and let loose of the the daily grind of life.”
The Last Chance Stampede wraps up in Helena on Saturday night.