Wild Horse Races a highlight of Bucking Horse Sale rodeos

Sometimes it would be better to watch than compete.

 That’s what many might think when it comes to one of the most exciting competitions in the 67th annual Bucking Horse Sale this weekend at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds in Miles City.

 The Wild Horse Race — actually there are four such races Friday and Saturday plus the finals Sunday — requires three-person teams that try to settle down a wild horse long enough to saddle it and have a rider gallop it once round the track. Team members include a mugger, anchor and rider.

 If you think it’s easy, you’re in for a shock when you watch what transpires after the horses are released from the chute to the waiting, and presumably fearless, cowboys.

 Two of the races are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday and the third and fourth races are Saturday about 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The finals are Sunday as the wrap-up event.

 Dangerous or not, the Wild Horse Race has attracted an overflow of entries. Instead of the limit of 16 three-person teams, there were 21 entries when members of the BHS committee made the final count last week.

  “We had to turn some away, so as you can see it’s a popular event,” said Rick Flotkoetter, a member of the BHS committee.

 Teams are coming from as far away as California, Arizona and New Mexico. Other states with teams entered include Montana (two from Miles City), Nebraska and Colorado.

 “They’re coming from everywhere,” said an excited Myoka Twitchell, executive secretary of the BHS.

 She considers it a must-see competition.

 “It’s so unpredictable,” Twitchell said. “Everybody will be carrying on, but when the wild horse races start, everybody stops to watch.”

 One competitor, Tanner Buntin of Arizona, is entered on two teams.

 The Miles City teams include one (A-1 Concrete) with compeitors Jimmy Beardsley, Evan Haughian and Grady Johnson, and another (Olive Hotel & Casino) that features Jessie Nelson, Lane Giovanetti and Ryan Haughian.

 Scotty Bledsoe, owner of A-A Concrete, makes it clear how much he enjoys the event.

 “It’s my favorite part of the rodeo,” Bledsoe said.

 The entries and team members (where available) include:

 1. Hardwood Cowboys: Colorado & Arizona: Josh Lair, Bryan BeGaye, Brandon BeGaye.

 2. McCarville, Nebraska: Kirk McCarville, Craig Klug, 

 3: Waterhole Saloon, Columbus, MT: Quinten Edler, Chase Kent, Rory Lewis.

 4. Navajo Vaqueros, New Mexico: Ferrill Gibson, Clay O’Brien Gibson, Stran Gibson.

 5. Cattleman’s Cut, Wolf Point, MT: Garrett Long, Tyler Martin, Donny McDill.

 6. K3K, Colorado: Tyler Lewis, Dakota Dell, Brian Borare.

 7. Team AK-Chin, Arizona: Nikolai White, Delbert White, Danny Soliz.

 8. Dizzy Heifer Cattle Company, Brusett, MT: Chan Childers, Colin Manuel.

 9. Buntin Brothers, Arizona: TC Buntin, Tanner Buntin, Serafin Robles.

 10. Team Crazy Chicken, Arizona: Gary White, Tanner Buntin.

 11. Xyngular, Nebraska: Jake Woracek, Dane Coble.

 12. Crack a Latch, Arizona: Ivan Brown, Jason Jose, Wyatt Gibson

 13. A-1 Concrete, Miles City: Jimmy Beardsley, Evan Haughian, Grady Johnson

 14. Montana Bar of Glasgow, Frazer, MT: Milo Jackson, Emmett Jackson.

 15. Craig Dunlope Team, California: Justin Berry, Ryle Carey, Craig Dunlope.

 16. Olive Hotel & Casino, Miles City: Jessie Nelson, Lane Giovanetti, Ryan Haughian.

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