Slack kicks off 72nd annual Augusta Rodeo
AUGUSTA — A rodeo within a rodeo will commence tonight at the edge of the Rocky Mountain Front, as 85 competitiors partake in the Augusta Rodeo's first round slack at 5 p.m at the Augusta rodeo grounds.
The slack will officially kick off the 72nd annual Augusta Rodeo, which this year drew 156 entries from all corners of the state. Tonight's event will feature cowboys and cowgirls who are unable to compete at the main event on Sunday.
Augusta's hot summer commodity, which includes a concert and parade, is the largest one-day rodeo in the state, and organizer Ben Arps said that while tradition will keep the prime-time performances on Saturday, the steadfast popularity of the rodeo has pushed the event to hold slack on Saturday night.
Nonetheless, Arps believe Augusta's Rodeo is one of the state's more unique settings.
"We have people who come from all over Montana," Arps said. "And we have pretty faithful fans who have been coming for years."
Over 20 cowboys will compete in the steer wrestling slack this evening, and the women's barrel racing will also have a large pool with 20 riders. There will be plenty of nationally ranked cowboys on display as well, including Shaun Halko, the Goodwell, Okla., native who is currently fourth in the bull riding rankings.
Pryor's Bode Scott, who has won over $1,000 in purse money since the beginning of the Montana circuit season, will compete in the tie-down roping.
Other notables up today in slack include Helena's Rick Wock Jr. and Missoula's Lem Short in the in the bull riding, and Belt's Gary Pimperton in the saddle bronc. Belgrade's Tyler Holland will also have a busy night, as he will have runs in the tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling.
Stock will be provided by Kesler Rodeo Company, and should be an integral aspect to the performances both tonight and tomorrow.
"They have good stock. Their saddle broncs are real good," said Arps. "They take a lot of these horses to the National Finals, which is quite a deal."
The main event will get under way Sunday at 2 p.m., and will showcase the rest of the field.