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Helena Mont Rodeo
World-renowned bucking horse matches up with #4 bareback rider to win Helena title.
World-renowned bucking horse matches up with #4 bareback rider to win Helena title
By Ruth Nicolaus
Helena, Mont. (July 30, 2022) – The most electric matchup in pro rodeo this weekend happened in Helena at the Last Chance Stampede.
It was between Virgil, a big gray bucking horse twice named the PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year (2017-2018) and the number four bareback rider in the PRCA world standings, Rocker Steiner.
And it was a successful dance.
Steiner, Weatherford, Texas, rode Virgil for 92 points and the win at the Stampede.
It was the same duo who, together a month ago, set a new PRCA world record at the Riggin’ Rally in Darby, Montana, when Steiner went 95 points on the fifteen-year-old gray gelding.
“Everybody kept asking me if I was expecting to break the record again, and the answer is no,” he said. “You don’t break the record but once in a lifetime.”
He competed in Cheyenne in the afternoon of July 30, then flew with his dad, 2002 world champion steer wrestler Sid Steiner, and his granddad, long-time stock contractor Bobby Steiner, to Helena, in time for the rodeo performance.
“I’ve been going to a lot of rodeos so I’m just worn out, mentally and physically. If I didn’t have my dad and granddad with me, I don’t think (the ride on Virgil) would have gone the way it did. They were pumping me up all the way from Cheyenne.”
He and Virgil seem to have a connection, he said. “I feel like we’re both trying to prove something. Virgil knows what he’s doing out there, and he knows he’s the best. Heck, I consider myself the best. I think it’s two souls going at it in the arena, showing what they’ve got.”
Steiner has burst onto the pro rodeo scene since he purchased his PRCA permit a few months ago, at the age of eighteen. Since then, he’s won rodeos all over the nation, most notably, the Calgary Stampede two weeks ago and has more than $105,000 in earnings this year.
As the number four man in the PRCA world standings, he’s most likely headed to his first National Finals Rodeo, pro rodeo’s world stage, in December.
“I knew I was going to make the (National) Finals from the time I was fourteen, and I’m eighteen,” he said. “That’s what I’ve always said and I’ve always believed.”
Drawing the nationally renowned horse for the second time in two months was a dream.
“I was just wanting to climb on the big gray again and have some fun.”
For barrel racer Erin Williams, it was the promise of chocolate chip cookies that kept her headed to Helena today.
Not actually, but the sweets, a gift from family friends, are the icing on the cake for Williams, after her win at the Stampede.
The Alzada woman rounded the barrels in 17.71 seconds to be champion.
Williams competed in Glendive at 11 am this morning, before making the more than 400-mile drive to Helena and pulling in about the same time the rodeo started.
She knew the Cool Alley Arena at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds was a good fit for her mare, Ritzy, whose registered name is My Mom Is Classy.
“My horse loves big performances with big crowds, and we don’t always get to run in them,” she said. “I had a big trip to make to get here, but I knew it would be worth it, because this is an amazing crowd.”
Ritzy, an eleven-year-old sorrel mare, loves to compete as much as Williams does, she said. “She’s tough and gritty and loves to work.” Williams puts her to work on the family’s cattle and sheep ranch. “It doesn’t matter what we do. We work cows, we rope, we do everything. She works hard, no matter what.”
Williams’ parents lived in Helena for a time so long-time family friends were in the rodeo crowd, to visit with her and bring her a bag of cookies. “After a seven-hour drive with no breaks, cookies are amazing,” she laughed.
She was glad for her win in Helena, and for the Stampede. “I know how much Helena loves their rodeo. It was great. I’m glad I came.”
Brice Patterson, Bozeman, Mont., won the all-around title for his earnings in two events: bareback riding and steer wrestling. For his efforts, he wins an elk ivory 14-karat gold ring, custom made by Jensen Jewelers.
Other 2022 Last Chance Stampede champions include steer wrestlers Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore. and Clayton Hass, Weatherford, Texas (3.4 seconds each); team ropers Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah and Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alb. (4.5 seconds); saddle bronc rider JC DeSaveur, Roberts, Mont. (77); tie-down roper Bo Pickett. Caldwell, Idaho (8.1 seconds); and bull rider Wylee Hurst, Rigby, Idaho (77.5 points).
Prior to the rodeo, the 2023 Miss Last Chance Stampede was crowned. Amber LaCross, Bozeman, won the title. The 22-year-old daughter of Jason and Jennifer LaCross, Amber is an early childhood teacher and graduated with honors from MSU with a degree in early childhood education.
The 62nd Last Chance Stampede and Fair will be held July 27-30, 2022.
For more information on the Stampede, visit LCCFairgrounds.com. For complete rodeo results, visit ProRodeo.com.
Final results, Last Chance Stampede, Helena, Mont. July 28-30. 2022
All-around champion: Brice Patterson, Bozeman, Montana; steer wrestling and bareback riding
Bareback riding champion: Rocker Steiner, Weatherford, Texas 92 points
- Rocker Steiner, Weatherford, Texas 92 points on C5 Rodeo’s Virgil; 2. Caleb Bennett, Corvallis, Mont. 88; 3. Sam Petersen, Helena, Mont. 86; 4. Clint Laye, Cadogan, Alb. 84.5;
Mason Clements, Spanish Fork, Utah 83; 6. (tie) George Gillespie, Darby, Mont. and Trenton Montero, Winnemucca, Nev. 75 each; 8. Brice Patterson, Bozeman, Mont. 73.
Steer wrestling co-champions: Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore. and Clayton Hass, Weatherford, Texas
- (tie) Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore. and Clayton Hass, Weatherford, Texas 3.4 seconds each;
- Tanner Milan, Cochrane, Alb. 3.8; 4. Bridger Chambers, Stevensville, Mont. 3.9;
- (tie) Stan Branco, Chowchilla, Calif. and Jesse Brown, Baker City, Ore. 4.2 each; 7. Brice Patterson, Bozeman, Mont. 4.3; 8. (tie) Kolby Bignell, Helena, Mont., Cameron Morman, Glen Ullin, N.D., Brady Boyce, Lewistown, Mont. and TJ Sigman, Dillion, Mont. 4.4 each.
Team Roping champions: Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah and Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta
- Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alb. 4.5 seconds; 2. Levi Simpson, Ponoka, Alb./Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas 4.8; 3. (tie) Jason Carlson, Two Dot, Mont./Jacob Goddard, Lake Placid, Fl. and Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont./Justin Viles, Cody, Wyo. 4.9 each; 5. Zach Kilgus, Stephenville, Texas/Jake Edwards, Ft. Ann, N.Y. 5.3; 6. Jade Stoddard, Sugar City, Idaho/Jesse Hines, Moore, Texas 5.6; 7. Marcus Theriot, Lumberton, Miss./Cole Curry, Liberty, Miss. 6.4; 8. Cadee Williams, Weatherford, Texas/Landon Williams, Weatherford, Texas 7.8; Coy Rahlman, Ellsinore, Mo./Douglas Rich, Herrick, Ill. 10.0; 10. Ty St. Goddard, Browning, Mont./Ryle Whitford, Browning, Mont. 15.7.
Saddle bronc riding champion: JC DeSaveur, Roberts, Montana
- JC DeSaveur, Roberts, Mont. 77 points on C5’s Macho Man; 2. Houston Brown, Miles City, Mont. 75; 3. Keenan Reinhardt, White Sulphur Springs, Mont. 73.5; 4. Joe Harper, Paradise Valley, Nev. 73; 5. Qwint Stroh, Glendive, Mont. 71; 6. Josh Davison, Miles City, Mont. 70; 7. Caleb Meeks, Geraldine, Mont. 65; 8. Kain Stroh, Glendive, Mont. 59.5.
Tie-down roping champion: Bo Pickett, Caldwell, Idaho
- Bo Pickett, Caldwell, Idaho 8.1 seconds; 2. Jason Smith, Wimborne, Alb. 8.3; 3. Tyler Boxleitner, Loveland, Colo. 8.9; 4. (tie) Stetson Vest, Childress, Texas and Ty Harris, San Angelo, Texas 9.3 each; 6. Beau Cooper, Stettler, Alb. 10.1; 7. Trevor Hale, Perryton, Texas 10.4; 8. Shane Smith, Wimborne, Alb. 10.9.
Barrel racing champion: Erin Williams, Alzada, Montana
- Erin Williams, Alzada, Mont. 17.71 seconds; 2. Heather Crowley, Poplar, Mont. 17.76; 3. Cierra Erickson, Helena, Mont. 17.83; 4. Tammy Carpenter, Kalispell, Mont. 17.92; 5. Rene Cloninger, Helena, Mont. 17.93; 6. Abigail Knight, Charlo, Mont. 17.95; 7. Shelby Gill, Helena, Mont. 17.97; 8. Carmel Wright, Roy, Mont. 17.98; 9. Ashley Day, Volborg, Mont. 18.03; 10. Alicia Bird, Cut Bank, Mont. 18.06.
Bull riding champion: Wylee Hurst, Rigby, Idaho
- Wylee Hurst, Rigby, Idaho 77.5 points on C5 Rodeo’s 7 Eleven; 2. (tie) Cole Wagner, Valier, Mont. and Wyle Wells, Ronan, Monta. 76 each; no other qualified rides.
** All results are unofficial. Visit Prorodeo.com for results and www.LCCFairgrounds.com for fair and rodeo information.