The 2011 Custer Ranch Rodeo, held in June in Custer, raised $1,952.50 for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. Each year the ranch rodeo makes a donation to the MCHF (a nonprofit dedicated to preserving our state’s great cowboy heritage), made up of a percentage of calcutta income, entry fees, and sponsorship monies.
Reflecting modern-day ranch reality, each team at the Custer Ranch Rodeo is required to have at least one female member. Custer is also unique in that each team rides for a sponsoring business that is supporting both the MCHF and the participants.
The BLS Horse Sales / Montana ProRodeo Hall & Wall of Fame team finished first this year. Members were KC Verhelst, Jolee and Kelly Holmquist, and Caleb Scott. This team will advance to the NILE Championship Ranch Rodeo in October.
The MCHF Trustees team finished second. Members were Pat O’Neill, Sam Kortum, Zane Dempewolf, and Dan Harrington. Dempewolf, of Glendive, won the handiest cowboy award. Rachel Lohof, competing on the Junction City Saloon team, was named handiest cowgirl. Blaine Tucker, competing on the Montana Cattlemen’s Association team, took home the top horse award.
Other competing teams were sponsored by Northern Ag Network, Hardin community businesses, Custer community businesses, PV Ranch, Cat Coulee Beds & Birds, Stockman Bank and the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Ranch Horse Association, and Grasslands LLC.
Nearly everything needed to make the Custer Ranch Rodeo run is donated. Special thanks go to Swanke Saddlery, Allison Saddlery, H-Bar Hatworks, Newman Rodeo, Farmers Union Oil, John Pinkerton, and the many volunteers who made this benefit event possible.
The Custer Ranch Rodeo is also dedicated to benefiting the Custer community. The Custer FFA serves concessions, an after-event is held in downtown Custer, free events for kids are included in the program (with awards donated by the Jeff & Corinna Keller family), and the ranch rodeo committee donates profits to the improvement of the Custer arena.