Havre Daily News Sports Editor
The Great Northern Stampede is sure to bring plenty of qulaity rodeo action with a field filled with cowboys, cowgirls and one very special clown.
The two-day Montana PRCA rodeo will get under way on Saturday at 7 p.m. and end Sunday with a final go-around at 7 p.m. at the Hill County Fairgrounds Arena.
Besides a slew of local competitors, what makes this year's event even more special will be the return of barrelman, entertainer and all-around funnyman Flint Rasmussen.
Rasmussen, a former Havre High teacher and football coach, has earned a plethora of awards in his rodeo career, including being named the PRCA Clown of the Year for the past seven years, as well as being named the PRCA National Finals Barrelman and Coors "Man in the Can" in the same span.
He brings a mixture of jokes, skits, dance moves and overall enthusiasm that will give even the most novice rodeo fan something to enjoy.
Rasmussen won't be the only drawing card at the Stampede. Several local competitors will be vying for top scores and healthy paychecks in the two-day event.
The field will include a host of familiar names from the area.
In the bareback, Havre's Troy Solomon and Scott Owens will be looking to move up in the standings in the Montana PRCA. Both have had solid seasons thus far and are near the top of the bareback standings. They will be pushed by Scott Chesarek of Billings and Ben Wrzesenski of Boulder.
The saddlebronc will also feature some tough competition with Havre's Doug Kallenberger and Clint Solomon and Harlem's Kevin Keller all competing. Both Kallenberger and Keller are near the top of the Montana PRCA standings, trailing Shaun Stroh of Helena and Ryan Mapston of Geyser, who will also be competing.
The team roping will also feature several local competitors with longtime veterans Scot Strausser of Havre, Dennis Donoven of Kremlin and Spider Ramone of Hays competing. Montana PRCA leaders Kory Mytty of Lolo, Derick Fleming of Dillon and Shane Bessette of Belt will also be in the mix.
Montana standings leader Shannon Blixt of Helena will be heading a solid group of steer wrestlers along with Bill Boyce of Lewistown, Jaren Whiteman of Belgrade and Havre's Jeff Solomon.
In the barrel racing, Havre's Candi Zion will look to continue her solid times and stay atop the Montana PRCA standings. She will be pushed by Darcy Mapston of Geyser, Monica Gruel of of Great Falls, Cally Goyins of Cascade and Teri Kay Leibrand of Peerless. Havre's Judy Geldard will also be competing in the barrel racing.
In the always popular bull riding, Harlem's Aaron Niedregger and Havre's Clint Solomon will go be up against some quality bull riders. Richard Bird of Cut Bank and Craig Dalgarno of Harlowton sit atop the standings and will look to add to their leads this weekend.