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Bucking Horse Sale and Racing healthy and hopping

March 25, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

If you happened to see a newspaper article in January stating that the Miles City Bucking Horse Sale in Montana is losing support among the community, rest assured such is not the case. Don Richard of the Board of Governors for the sale said that the Miles City community offers great support of the sale and the horse races that go along with it. In fact, the real issue is that the community would like to see the event become even bigger, and that’s where the question of support arises--is there enough support to stretch the three-day sale into a week long event.

“People are wanting us to make the event bigger and better,” Richard said. “We are not losing support but if we’re going to make it bigger and better, we have to have more support,” he added by way of explaining the reported misunderstanding. Support comes in the form of sponsorships, donations and ticket sales and tons of volunteer effort, including all the efforts of the Board of Governors, which are strictly volunteer positions.

The Bucking Horse Sale is alive and well and the local community loves the world-class event, which draws rodeo stock contractors, cowboys, horsemen from the racing community, and tons of tourists every third weekend in May to this town of approximately 8500 residents in the southeastern corner of the state. This year’s sale runs May 20, 21 and 22, with additional events kicking off the festivities on Thursday, May 19.

On the horse racing side of the event, by the first payment date of February 15, 27 horses were nominated to the BHS Quarter Horse Futurity with an estimated purse of $20,000. Fourteen were nominated to the BHS/MPHA Paint Horse Futurity with an estimated purse of $5,000. The BHS Dan Lockie Quarter Horse Derby had 17 horses nominated. The estimated purse is $12,000. Nine head were nominated to the BHS/MPHS Paint Horse Derby, and Richard said they were looking to pick up more nominations for that race; estimated purse is $4,200.

Second payments were due March 15, and Richard said as of that date that those numbers had not yet been calculated into the mix given above.

Trials for the races are set for Sunday, May 15, and finals will run Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22. In addition to the slate of stakes races offered, there will be some Thoroughbred and Mixed Breed contests carded over the sale weekend.

The Preakness Stakes will be simulcast at the track on Saturday, May 21 as well.

“To make the event bigger and better for everybody, we’re going to have a concert with the country western group Richochet on Thursday night (May 19) at 7:00,” Richard said. “Prior to the concert, starting at about 5:00, we’ll have our annual steak fry. People can come and have a steak and a libation and enjoy the music of Ricochet, and kick everything off.”

Bucking stock starts the live action on Friday, May 20 as part of the Bucking Horse Sale. The Grand Entry will be at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, bucking horses and the sale alternate action with live horse racing beginning at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, a matched bronc ride event will take place alternately with the horse races.

“We’re looking to get top riders in the state and region to come in and vie for a good purse, along with our horse racing that will take place (on Sunday),” Richard said. He expects top bucking horses will be shipped in to participate in this event. The Coors “Bucks for Broncos” adds a $6,000 purse for consignors of the top saddle bronc and bareback horses. The program is supported by Blue Rock Distributing and Coors Breweries.

The Bucking Horse Sale also features a parade, trade show, wild horse races, art shows, barbecues and street dances with a variety of bands on Friday and Saturday night.

The wild horse races run Saturday and Sunday and consist of three-man teams which try to catch a wild horse coming out of a chute with only a rope around its neck, saddle the unbroken two-year-old and ride it around the track to the finish line, about 5-1/2 furlongs.
All the seats for Friday night's performance are general admission at $10. On Saturday and Sunday, $10 general and $15 reserved seats are available. Tickets are on sale in advance at the Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce office or at the gates. Call 406-234-2890 for ticket information and also check out the Bucking Horse Sale website at