Helmville Rodeo, MT – RV Camping with Horses

Livestock / rodeo horses

The rodeo horses run in from a distant pasture.

Some rodeo kids stop by our rig.

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

Ladies' Barrel racing.

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

What a thrill!

Ladies barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

Sharp turns and quick starts and stops.

Mom and daughter watch the races.

Juniors barrel racing Helmville Montana Rodeo

The 10-and-under riders took their time.

Future rodeo star.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

Kids clamp onto sheep's wool for the

Mutton Busters race.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

They all fell off eventually.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

Some get plucked off when the going gets too rough.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

One tried to ride upright.

Mutton busters Helmville Montana Rodeo

He was a crowd pleaser.

Kids love rodeos

The kids loved every bit of the rodeo scene.

Kids love rodeos

Can I pet you?


Professional rodeo riders

The pros.

Professional rodeo riders

Resting between events.

Professional rodeo riders Professional rodeo riders

2009 Finals

Elite Professional Bullriders, Inc.

Bull riding Helmville Rodeo

And that's what this profession is all about.

Bullriding at the Rodeo

Youngsters learning to take the kicks...

Professional Bullriding at the Rodeo

Face plant.

Steer wrestling at the rodeo

Steer wrestling.

Tie down roping at the rodeo

Tie down roping - first rope the calf.

Tie down roping at the rodeo

Then tie it down as your horse keeps tension on the line.

Tie down roping at the rodeo Tie down roping at the rodeo

Tie the knots well so the calf can't wriggle free later!

Team cow roping and milking at the Helmville Rodeo

Team cow roping and milking.

Team cow roping and milking at the Helmville Rodeo

Getting a cup of milk for the referee.

Horseback riding

Helmville, Montana Rodeo (2)

Labor Day Weekend, 2009 - The Helmville Rodeo

in Montana had so much going on that we took

1,000 photos between us and had a hard time

choosing just 50 for the website.  First thing in the

morning the rodeo horses were all driven from a

distant pasture over to the arena, right past our

campsite.  What a magnificent sight as they

thundered effortlessly past us, manes and tails

flying, nostrils flaring and snorting.

A group of kids stopped by our trailer to sell us some bead

jewelry they had made.  Their freckles and happy faces

were irresistible.  Mark bought a bracelet so he could

engage them in conversation for a little while before they

ran off.  "Hey, can you girls stand over there so I can get a

photo?"  He asked.  A little voice piped up from the back.

"I'm not a girl!"  Oops.  But so cute!!  Several were siblings,

and all of them turned up later in the the 10-and-under

barrel race.

Over at the

rodeo that

afternoon the

young cowgirls

showed us

what barrel

racing is all

about.  These

gals flew past

in a blaze of


The distance

wasn't far, but

getting around the barrels

required perfect timing and

impeccable human-equine

communication to slow down

enough to get around in a tight

turn without knocking over the

barrel and then accelerate to

the next barrel.

The joy of riding at such

speeds lit every girls face, and

was by far my favorite event.

The fastest time was an

electrifying 27 seconds or so.

The kids were up next, and we

rooted for each of our young

friends from around our

campsite.  The little boy whom

Mark had accidentally lumped

into the group of "you girls" did a

stately walk on his horse around

the course.  The littlest girl went

at such a leisurely stroll that she

finished with a noble time of

some 1 minute 52 seconds or so.

"Don't worry," the announcer said as her horse walked down the back stretch,

"We've rented this rodeo space for the whole afternoon."  The kids store our


Scanning the stands, our hearts

were stolen again.  Donna Lea

snapped a photo of a little boy

sitting on a toy steer wearing a

large cowboy hat.

Out in the rodeo arena the

announcer got us all chuckling as

we watched the "Mutton

Busters."  Here the under-7 set

clung onto the backs of sheep as

they raced across the field, trying

like heck not to slip off.

Eventually each kid wound up on

the ground and the sheep

scampered away, some of them

leaping as they went.

Some kids got plucked off the backs of the sheep by their

beltloops when it looked like they might get trampled

under the sheep's hooves.

One little boy tried riding his sheep like a horse.

It didn't last long, but he sure knew how to ham it up after he fell off.

The kids were the true delight of this rodeo.  They were

everywhere, and they seemed to love every bit of it.

Even the cattle pens looked like so much fun the kids climbed

in with them to pet them.

I don't know if I'd want to get that close.  Saying hello through

the bars of the pen was good enough for me.

But there is a professional

side to the rodeo business,

and we enjoyed watching

the cowboys preparing and

resting between events.

It was a world apart for us.  For

them it's a profession and involves a

lot of hard work, big kicks and pride.

Seeing them getting tossed from the

bulls seemed like a rough way to

make a living.

There was a category of bull riding

for kids too.

Next up was the steer wrestling.  In

this event the cowboy chases after

the calf on his horse and

then slides off onto the

ground, grasping the

steer's head in his

arms.  Once on

the ground, the

cowboy uses all

his might to twist

the steer's strong

neck to thrust it

onto it's back.

This was followed by the tie down

roping.  Here the cowboy roped the calf

by the neck and then relied on his

horse to hold the line to the calf taught

while he tied up the calf's legs.  The

horse would slowly back up if the line


Then, to prove that the calf was

properly tied, the horse

would walk forward to

release the tension on

the line slightly.  At that

point several calves

wriggled free, showing

that the cowboy needed

to go home and work on

his knots.

The last event was a crazy free-for-all.  Pairs of people ran across the

field swinging ropes while a herd of mother cows was released at the

other end.  The goal was to rope a cow and get her to stand still while

you got a cup of milk from her.  Right!  Sure enough, one pair of guys

in front of us pulled it off.  As they rushed to the referee with their cup

of milk we saw another pair of guys at the opposite end running to the

referee at the same time, cup of milk held high.  It was a tie.

We left the rodeo still chuckling.  What a fun celebration of

the ranching lifestyle.  Each event represented a ranching

technique that is (or was) used in the daily process of

managing cattle in far flung ranges.

We spent days trying to trim our gazillion pictures down to a manageable number.  The air was getting chilly too, so

we turned the trailer south on I-15 through Utah to head to the annual Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas,