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Arlee celebrates Fourth with 40th Open Rodeo

by BERL TISKUS
Reporter | July 11, 2024 12:00 AM

The Arlee Open Rodeo celebrated 40 years this year. Traditionally held on the Fourth of July, the rodeo arena is located off Powwow Road near the powwow grounds. The performance started at 2 p.m., and the stands were jam-packed on a sunny day.

The rodeo is put on by Stephanie and T.R. Hendrickson. The rodeo announcer noted that the first Arlee Open Rodeo they produced was 10 days after they got married. 

The couple climbed in a wagon for a turn or two around the arena so the community could give them some much deserved thank-you applause. They rode behind a driver and a team of horses that just came back from appearing in Kevin Costner’s new movie, “Horizon: An American Saga.”

Rodeo events included saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, barrel racing, team roping, and bull riding. 

New this year was breakaway roping. It’s a lot like tie-down roping, but the roper has a string attached to her saddle horn that breaks when the calf hits the end of the rope. 

She also needs a 6” x 6” square of bright cloth tied to the end of her rope so the judge and timer can see it. The roper needs a clean neck catch that goes over the calf”s head and can’t get any legs, the body, or the tail of their calf in their loop. Just like in tie-down roping, 10 seconds is added if the roper breaks the barrier. 

An additional $500 was added to the prize money in each event. First-place winners also received a pair of chinks made by the Leather Rose Saddle Shop and T.R. Hendrickson.  

Tim Bagnell supplied the breakaway and tie-down roping calves. Bulls came from Bird Bucking Bulls in Cut Bank, according to the announcer.

“It just isn’t the Fourth of July without this rodeo,” a rancher commented.  


    Stephanie and R.T. Hendrickson, producers of the Arlee Rodeo for 40 years, take a spin around the arena during the Fourth of July rodeo so audience members could express their appreciation. The wagon and team just returned from filming Kevin Costner's new movie. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    Hot Springs cowboy Jack McAllister ropes his calf in the tie-down roping at the Arlee Rodeo on the Fourth of July. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    A bull rider starts a ride at the Arlee Open Rodeo on July 4. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)