Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

67th Annual Lincoln Rodeo Rides On


Roger Dey

A bull tries to shake a rider during Sunday's Rodeo

This year's Lincoln Rodeo faced its share of challenges. Their longtime stock contractor, Pistol Creek Rodeo*, moved on from supplying stock for the open rodeo, leaving the Lincoln Rodeo Club with the challenge of finding a replacement. The Fourth of July fell on a Thursday before the rodeo, not an ideal day. And thunderstorms over the weekend brought driving rain and wind to the valley.

While any of those could have spelled disaster, Christ Lewenight with the Rodeo Club said it may have actually been one of the better years the rodeo has seen in the last decade or more.

The rain held off for most of the day on both Saturday and Sunday, fans showed up despite the one-day gap between the Fourth and the weekend rodeo, and Kittson Rodeo, the Browning-based company that has been the source for bucking horses for the event, stepped up to serve as the primary contractor for the first time.

"Yesterday's crowd was beautiful," Lewenight said Sunday afternoon. "We got full stands. This Sunday, for a travel day I think we had an excellent crowd, especially with the rain this morning."

By one reliable measure – beer sales– it certainly seemed to be a successful weekend.

"We sold more beer yesterday than we did last year all together," Lewenight said.

The gale-force winds that blew in late in the afternoon on both days really only dampened one event by all but extinguishing the Ring of Fire this year. The event that pits courage and common sense (or lack thereof) against a loose bull drew a full crew of contestants Saturday. But, the driving rain that blew in cleared out the spectators, leaving no one to bid on the contestants in a Calcutta. Although the contestants faced off against the bull anyway, Lewenight said the winner ultimately did it for a six pack of beer and a very bloody nose. He said they didn't have anyone volunteer to take part Sunday.

Lewenight was also extremely pleased with the job Kittson Rodeo Owner Chance Kittson did with the rodeo. He said the company handled everything from the stock to the announcing to record keeping.

"He's done a fantastic job," he said.

Lewenight explained that with the loss of Pistol Creek, they were in a bind because they couldn't afford to hire any of the other stock contractors in the state.

"We reached out to Chance," he said. "Chance didn't want our rodeo to fail and die, so he decided to start a rodeo business and take care of us."

Chance Kittson Jr., Chance's son, said the company usually subcontracts with other companies, providing bulls and horses as needed for 10 rodeos a year, but this was their first time running the whole show.

"For the past ten years, we've been bringing the bucking horses here," he said.

Kittson said when their colleagues at Pistol Creek chose to step back, they handed it off to his family's company.

Roger Dey

Donnie and Caleb Guardipee have a successful turn at Team Roping.

In addition to his gratitude for Kittson, Lewenight was also grateful for the volunteers who helped out this year.

"There were a lot of wonderful people who came out and helped put this together," he said. "And the people who helped clean up after the rodeo (Saturday) were greatly appreciated. That usually doesn't happen. Everybody came out of the concession stand and out of the beer tent and we started picking up garbage. We had 30 people picking up garbage."

He said he even had a kid run over to ask if he could "please help."

"It was great," he said. "It was such a good successful weekend, it makes you want to keep putting them on."

*We've updated this story to correct the name of the prior stock contractor. The previous company was Pistol Creek Rodeo, not Red Eye. We apologize for the error.


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