Match Bronc Ride tops weekend rodeo slate

The Match Bronc Ride is considered one of the quality events in the 67th annual Bucking Horse Sale.

Many of rodeo’s top saddle bronc riders — yes, some of the world’s best — will compete for huge prize money. It also will allow for wagering, just like horse racing, plus the chance to purchase the winning rider in two calcuttas.

It will be part of a great, albeit hectic, finishing day to the BHS at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. It’s scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

This may be the featured event Sunday. It’s billed as “the only rodeo event in the world that offers the fans the chance to pari-mutual wager.”

According to BHS officials, it offers cowboys, spectators and the horse owners to make money.

The 25 riders on the early entry list are from two Canadian provinces (Manitoba and Alberta) and eight states (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada and Oregon).

Stock contractors who will provide some of the rankest horses in the business include Burch Rodeo, Bailey Pro Rodeo, and Kling and Heading.

Those attending can pick one or more of these cowboys on which to place a bet or take part in the calcuttas (or both).:

JC Desaveur, Roberts, MT; Josh Reynolds, Ekalaka; Dusty Hausauer, Dickinson; Andy Clarys, Riverton, WY; Chet Johnson, Douglas, WY;

Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, SD; Jace Blackwell, Hermosa, SD; Louie Brunson, New Underwood, SD; Jake Costello, Newell, SD; Troy Crowser, Whitewood, SD;

JJ Elshere, Hereford, SD; Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, SD; Shorty Garrett, Dupree, SD; Ty Manke, Hermosa, SD; Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, SD;

Taygen Schuelke, Newell, SD; Ty Thompson, Wanblee, SD; Tyler Corrington, Gruver, TX; Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, TX; Max Filippini, Battle Mountain, NV;

Ryan MacKenzie, Jordan Valley, OR; Cort Scheer, Guymon, OK; Wade Sundell, Coleman, OK; Kirk Thompson, Oak Lake, Manitoba, Canada, and Wyatt Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, Canada.

Sundell is one of the top-rated cowboys in the field. “He’s one of the best in the business,” said Karl Drga, a member of the BHS committee.

In February 2016 he earned a $1.1 million bonus at a huge one-day rodeo in Arlington, Texas, after winning his event with an impressive score of 90.75. That was good for the $100,000 prize and the extra million came from the bonus pool when other contenders in other events couldn’t match his success.

Sundell’s first 15 rides as a professional were on a bull. Then he switched to saddle bronc riding.

“It is challenging when you have to focus on staying healthy and positive,” said Sundell, a diminutive rider at 5-foot-8, 150 pounds. “There are so many ups and downs in rodeo. It’s difficult to stay upbeat all the time.”

He also said he is thinking about entertaining the fans whenever he rides.

“I am looking forward to drawing stock that will benefit the event and the cowboy,” Sundell said. “It will make for a much more fun and interesting show from the fans’ perspective.”

Bull Riding is also on the docket, part of the Friday night rodeo card at the fairgrounds.

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)