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A wild two nights of rodeo in Havre

Great Northern Rodeo proves to be one of the best around yet again


Daniel Horton

Fabian Saddler of Rocky Boy rides a bull named Chocolate Chip during Friday night's Great Northern Rodeo in Havre. Saddler was one of just three bull riders to score a qualified rider over the two-day rodeo at the Great Northern Fairgrounds. For more photos, and complete results, see Page B2.

There’s a reason rodeo experts around Montana say the Great Northern Rodeo is one of the best summer stops on the NRA circuit each and every year. Annually, the two-day rodeo attracts the top talent from the NRA, from the Indian rodeo circuit, and some of the best cowboys and cowgirls from up and down the Hi-Line.

It’s also set smack dab in the middle of the Great Northern Fair, and with a great stock contractor, announcer and bullfighters, the rodeo is a can’t-miss attraction.

And the 2013 Great Northern Rodeo, which was held Friday and Saturday at the Great Northern Fairgrounds arena in Havre, was no exception. In fact, it may have been one of the best rodeo’s in Havre yet.

Well more than 1,100 fans took in the two-day show, while there were also hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls who competed in the slack Saturday morning.

And while some of the top hands on the NRA circuit took home big money, several local competitors also got their chance to shine.

Havre’s Josh Granell, who’s been to the Montana Pro Rodeo Finals in Great Falls before, competed Saturday morning in steer wrestling and turned in a time of 4.9 to place second in the final standings. Only Dillon’s Jordan Holland came in with a better time, as he got his steer down in 4.5.

The bull riding is one of the most difficult events in rodeo, and it certainly seems to be that way each year at the Great Northern Rodeo. Friday night saw three riders turn in qualified rides, including young Fabian Saddler of Rocky Boy. Saddler rode Chocolate Chip to a score of 66 to finish in third place. The bulls were rank all weekend, thanks to Bird Bucking Bulls of Browning, and only top-ranked J.D. Harrell, as well as Andrew Smith were able to stay on for eight seconds. Harrell scored 77 points, while Smith scored a 72. All three qualified rides came Friday night, while Saturday night’s section, which featured PBR star bull Chocolate Thunder, didn’t see any riders score.

The bareback riding also drew top NRA talent this weekend, and one local was amongst them. Current Montana State University-Northern star Charlie Mack covered his horse to a score of 71 to place fourth this weekend. Three of the top cowboys in the NRA finished ahead of Mack, as Boulder’s Cavan Wrzesinski scored a 79, East Glacier’s John Salois took second with a 74 and Dillon’s J2 Bridges placed third with a 72.

In team roping, Chinook’s Jason Handy teamed with Malta’s Shayne Bishop to finish third with a stellar time of 6.9. The duo of Ty Larson of Hysham and Dustin Ostrum of Huntley won the team roping with a time of 5.8.

A pair of Big Sandy cowgirls also shined on the big stage in Havre. Chelsea Brown roped a calf in 3.4 to finish a solid second in the ladies breakaway roping, while Tenley Keller ran a 17.72 on her horse to place eighth in the ladies’ barrel racing. Shelly Murphy of Helena won the barrels in 17.52, while Helena’s Tanya Getten was first in breakaway with a time of 2.4.

Other event winners included Jordan Holland of Dillon in the steer wrestling and Kody Lahaye of Wilsal in the calf roping. Heath Chalmers came all the way from Australia to place first in the saddle bronc with a score of 84. Justin Harrell of Roy also broke 80 in the saddle bronc riding to finish second.

In the junior barrels, Tayla Moekens of Three Forks placed first, while Callie Otoupalik of Arlee won the junior breakway roping. Choteau teenager Shelby Rasmussen, the daughter of legendary Flint Rasmussen, placed third in both junior events, while also competing in the ladies’ barrels.

2013 Great Northern Rodeo


Final Standings


1. Cavan Wrzesinski, Boulder, 70; 2. John Salois, E. Glacier, 74; 3. J2 Bridges, Dillon, 72; 4. Charlie Mack, Havre, 71.

Steer Wrestling

1. Jordan Holland, Dillon, 4.5; 2. Josh Granell, Havre, 4.9; 3. Newt Novich, Twin Bridges, 5.0; 4. Henry Holleneck, Molt, 5.1; 5. Ryan Elliot, Bozeman, 5.5.

Calf Roping

1. Kody Lahaye, Wilsal, 9.1; Brett Haggie, Park City, 10.2; 3. Sam Levine, Wolf Creek, 10.3; 3. Vance Ruff, Belgrade, 10.3; 5. Kevin Peterson, Belgrade, 10.7.

Saddle Bronc

1. Heath Chalmers, Australia, 84; Justin Harrell, Roy, 80; Beau Michael, Browning, 77. Leroy Eash, Fortine, 75; Tim Hammond, Australia, 69.

Team Roping

1. Ty Larson, Hysham/Dustin Ostrum, Huntley, 5.8; 2. Kevin Peterson, Nebraska/Orry Fruit, Ekalaka, 6.4; 3. Shayne Bishop, Malta/Jordan Handy, Chinook, 6.9; 4. Jason Carlson, Two Dot/E.J. Clark, Bozeman, 7.0; 5. Bill Parker, Billings/Henry Hollenbeck, Molt, 7.2; 5. Chad Kananen, Roy/CW Kananen, Roy, 7.2; 5. Ben Ayre, Glendive/Bill Ayre, Glendive, 7.2.

Barrel Racing

1. Shelby Murphy, Helena, 17.52; 2. Kini Wright, St. Anthony, 17.58; 3. Taylour Russell, Conrad, 17.59; 3. Catie Birk, Kalispell, 17.59; 5. Kaela Murphy, Helena, 17.60; 6. Shleby Blitz, Helena, 17.65; 7. KLava Huestis, Ulm, 17.66; 8. Tenley Keller, Big Sandy, 17.72; 9. Mandy Hamilton, Manhatten, 17.79.

Junior Barrels

Daniel Horton

Great Falls' Jolee Pemberton races the barrels during Friday night's Great Northern Rodeo in Havre.

1. Talya Moeykens, Three Forks, 17.48; 2. Shai McDonald, Gardiner, 17.77; 3. Shelby Rasmussen, Choteau, 17.94; 4. Anna Getten, Helena, 18.07.

Breakaway Roping

1. Tanya Getten, Helena, 2.4; 2. Chelsea Brown, Big Sandy, 3.4; 3. Tracy Bolich, Belgrade, 3.9; 3. Jessie Marrell, Great Falls, 3.9; 5. Heather Knerr, Grass Range, 4.3; 6. Callie Nelson, Otto, 4.5; 7. Amanda Stenseth, Lewistown, 5.1; 8. Annie Hutton, Helena, 5.2; 8. Mandy Hamilton, Manhatten, 5.2.

Junior Breakaway

1. Callie Otoupalik, Arlee, 3.0; 2. Luke Murphy, Helena, 4.2; 3. Shelby Rasmussen, Choteau, 6.9; 4. Culley Morgan, Billings, 12.9.

Bull Riding

1. J.D. Harrell, Roy, 77; 2. Andrew Smith, Shawmut, 72; 3. Fabian Saddler, Rocky Boy, 66.


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