Animal House

Animal House

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Dehmer, Kurt

Not unlike the reappearance of songbirds or the emergence of the tulips in Granny’s flowerbed, the annual Montana State University spring rodeo is a sure sign of the season. Intercollegiate cowboys and cowgirls from across the Big Sky Region converge on Bozeman for this annual National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) event. The Brick Breeden fieldhouse is resurrected for its intended purpose, and soft, fragrant dirt is once again smoothed out across the floor. Pickups and stock trailers jam the parking lot, a Copenhagen shortage ensues, and the steady presence of boots, jeans, and Stetsons serves to remind everyone that Bozeman is still a rough-and-ready, ropin’ rawhide Western town.

Many agree that rodeo competitions are the last stronghold of true American toughness and sportsmanship. Among the toughest and fastest are MSU’s own Bobcats. NIRA’s Big Sky Regional standings as of October 6, 2009, placed the MSU men’s team in second place, and at 2,712 total points the Bobcat cowboys were just shy of overtaking UM Western's first-place berth. The MSU women proved, once again, to be the true sweethearts of the rodeo—they stampeded the competition, and with a whopping 2,173 points are the team to beat. MSU also has athletes in the top five positions in the men’s and women’s all-around standings as well as in the saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, breakaway, and barrel racing.

The 2010 MSU Spring Rodeo will run Thursday through Sunday, April 8-11. If past years are any indication, the bucking stock should prove to be snot blowin’, dirt kickin’ nasty. Although other college sports might get more room on the sports page—or the police reports—rodeo is by far the roughest, toughest, and most fun to watch. For more information, visit or

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