Bigfork Summer Rodeo

The new Bigfork Summer Rodeo cleared its last hurdle this week with word the Professional Rodeo Association would sanction the July 5-6 event.

Walter Hinick,

BIGFORK — Bigfork will have its summer rodeo after all.

Rob Brisendine of Road Creek Events said he expected to receive the papers from the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association on Tuesday or Wednesday that officially would set-aside July 6-7 for the first-ever Bigfork Summer Rodeo.

The idea of bringing professional rodeo to Bigfork hit a snag last month when the Flathead County Fair Board and fairgrounds manager Mark Campbell filed an objection with the PRCA over concerns about competition to the Northwest Montana Fair’s rodeo that’s been a mainstay in Kalispell for more than six decades.

Last week, the fair board and manager rescinded their objections following an outpouring from the public and some good discussions with members of the Bigfork community.

“It was good that the public spoke out and really got behind this effort,” Brisendine said. “We all really believe in this rodeo and think it’s going to be a great thing for everyone.”

The PRCA board was supportive from the beginning of bringing a rodeo to Bigfork, but it needed to address the county fairgrounds’ objections before it could move forward with sanctioning the event, Brisendine said.

The rodeo will be held in the empty lot at the intersection of Highways 35 and 82. A mobile arena and grandstands will be set up on the site for the rodeo.

“That site is really a prime location for the event,” Brisendine said. “People are used to utilizing it for parking for other large events in the area.”

The hope is that tickets will be available online by March 1.

“We’re now racing to get back on track,” Brisendine said. “We had to put all the stock contractors and vendors on hold until we got word that we had the green light. We’re behind a little bit on capturing the right sponsors and getting ticket sales launched.”

Organizers want the rodeo to become a new tradition for the annual Fourth of July celebration in Bigfork.

“Anytime that you do a first time event, you have one shot to do it well,” he said. “We want to make sure that people are excited about and believe in it …We’ve been kicking this idea around for four or five years. We knew this would be a great location for bringing rodeo back to its roots.”

“Rodeo is all about community,” Brisendine said. “I’ve been putting on big events like this for 20 years. We definitely have the team to do right.”

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Northwest Montana Reporter

Northwest Montana reporter at the Missoulian