“I rodeoed and I loved it,” said Kent Soileau, from White Ville, Louisiana. “When my oldest son (Garrett) was 8, I decided he should rodeo […]
On The Trail with Monte Downare III
Written by: Lea Leggitt< Back to Articles
[ “I feel God is with me every time I nod my head,
and I know if I want to win I need to be calm, cool and collected.”]
From the small town of Hartsel, Colorado, comes a cowboy tearing it up across the state in bareback and bull riding. Monte Downare, age 19, is no stranger to claiming wins at high school rodeos. He’s a four-time Colorado champion, ending his high school career as a four-time state champ: twice in the bareback riding and twice in the bull riding (2022, 2023).
At the National High School Finals Rodeo, in Gillette, Wyo., the family got word his sister, Gracy, age 18, was injured in a horse accident. Despite several fractures and a concussion Gracy insisted the family stay in Gillette and support Monte. He made it to the short go in the bareback riding in fourth place, drawing 843 Lost Lakota from Summit Pro Rodeo. He made a clean 80 point ride to win second in the short round and seventh overall nationally in the bareback riding and brought home two buckles. He is known for his iconic bright yellow chaps, featuring a holstered pistol on the hip and on the bottom the initials, MD3. The MD3 symbolizes that he is Monte Downare the Third. “My dad was a really good bareback rider, and my grandpa made his legacy ranching.”
When he wasn’t in school or playing sports, Monte was working on the four-generation family ranch with his three siblings; Gracy,18; Kally, 14; and younger brother, Vaughn, 12. The ranch supports five Downare families and continues to thrive through diversification. They invested in ground in Eastern Colorado to winter the cattle. They have a farm in LaJunta to raise the winter feed. The ladies cook the noon meal every day, feeding around 20. They invite friends and family from all over to enjoy the ranching life and be part of the spring branding. They also run buffalo, starting with 6 back in 1964. The herd continues to grow, providing additional income through the sale of meat.
The Downares started out training saddle horses years ago and soon realized there was a market for trained Belgium teams. Since they use teams to feed in the winter, they started raising the training the horses for sale. A few of the Downare men acquired auctioneering abilities and were hired at various livestock barns. Using those skills and experience, they decided to create their own consignment sale. “We were ranching, and it was back when cattle weren’t worth a whole lot, and so we came together and started this auction,” explained Monte’s dad, Monte. “It has been great; we sell everything from antiques to animals.” The entire family is involved in the auction – from the auctioneering to the clerking. “I’ve been selling my whole life from livestock to buckets of bolts. I started when I was little, selling at consignment sales.” Monte spent a few years chasing his rodeo dreams, leading the standings in the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association along with his brother, Micky. “My brother and I rode bareback horses. We both amateured a little but mostly competed in PRCA.” He had some good years, including winning Denver in 2004. “It got too tough to keep going and support my family so I stayed in the circuit,” he said. “We used to have saddle bums come to the ranch for work…but that day is gone. Rodeo is the last of the cowboy.”
Of the 14 Downare cousins, four compete in rodeo and many are still too young. “My dad was a rodeo clown and worked for Edger Wilson for years,” said Monte’s mom, Lacy, who also competed. Now both she and Monte are cheering on their son, Monte III, who is a freshman at Casper College. He received a full ride scholarship to ride barebacks and bulls for the Thunderbirds.
After the high school finals, Monte spent the summer traveling along the CPRA, WRA, and PRCA circuit rodeos. He won his first PRCA rodeo in Steamboat Springs over the weekend of June 23-24. Now he will rodeo in the Central Rocky Mountain Region while studying Fire Services. His goal is to start his PRCA career by winning Resistol Rookie of the Year when the time is right. “I just feel it’s in my blood and I feel it’s my thing,” said Monte. “It’s my passion and what I want to do. My dad, and all his traveling partners, including Kelly Timberman, have inspired me. I think God put me here to rodeo – to make the most of it.”