• Ty Erickson of Helena competes in steer wrestling during the third go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Saturda in Las Vegas. Associated Press

    Montanans shine at rodeo finals

    No surprise here: Montana cowboys and cowgirls kicked butt at  Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo.

    Here’s the story for the Associated Press. Recognize any names?

    Montana cowboys and cowgirls stormed the latest Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with multiple successes over 10 days of the average competition in Las Vegas recently, culminating in several top-10 placings in the year-end PRCA world standings.

    Billings team roper Clay Tryan, a header, along with heeler Jade Corkhill (Fallon, Nevada), led the Treasure State’s contingent, winning both the average and the world championship. Tryan garnered a total of $220,058 for the year, while garnering his third world title (2005, 2013-14).

    Clay, who is the cousin of 2012 NFR qualifier Chase Tryan of Helena, is now a 13-time NFR qualifier, and is just $3,000 shy of $2 million career earnings.

    Bull rider Beau Hill of West Glacier placed third in the average and fourth in the world standings, collecting a year’s earnings of $148,911. Ty Erickson of Helena finished runner-up in the steer wrestling, and seventh overall, pocketing $123,116.

    Team roper Dustin Bird (header) of Cut Bank placed 11th and in the average and sixth in the year-end, for $146,731. In bareback bronc riding, Power’s Jessy Davis took 11th in the average and 14th in the overall, earning $75,757. 

    Culbertson native Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota, captured the barrel racing average championship and placed runner-up in the world standings. She pocketed a total of $265,514.

    Tie-down roper/team roper Trevor Brazile (Decatur, Texas), a former Last Chance Stampede titlist, claimed his 12th PRCA all-around crown.

  • Wild Horse Stampede: The secret’s in the pickle juice

    The Catholic burger. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    The Catholic burger. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    Not only does the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point boast the best rodeo, parades and wild horse races in the West – you can also find what is arguably the best burger in the state during the event that takes place there each July.

    You might have to wait awhile to get a “Catholic burger,” but as writer Richard Peterson told us in the March/April 2014 issue, it’s worth the wait.

    Along with his feature about the storied history of the Wild Horse Stampede, Peterson let us know where you can find a Catholic burger. And photographer Lynn Donaldson found out from one of the cooks that the “divine” taste of the burgers comes from the pickle juice that is splashed on the fried onions that top the burger.

    It’s tradition for Stampede-goers to munch on a “Catholic burger,” an iconic food people are willing to wait for. Some wait for as long as 45 minutes in 90-degree plus temperatures to get a taste, Peterson wrote.

    An annual fundraiser for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish in Wolf Point, the burger stand – open 24 hours during the Stampede – will go through a ton of hamburger and hundreds of pounds of onions in four days, parish member co-organizer Kerry Hanks said.

    “That smell of fried onions and burger drifts down the block, and sometimes the line of people will, too,” she said. “That’s a big part of our success.”

    Not quite as old as the Stampede, the Catholic burger stand has been in operation for 66 years. It started as a small concession stand on one of Wolf Point’s side streets, but its popularity forced it to set up on an empty lot on Main Street during Stampede.

    This year, you can get a Catholic burger for yourself July 10-13 during the Stampede.

    - Jenna