"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Mission Mountain Rodeo

It's getting to that time of year when family oriented community events rule the local calendar. We're in Polson, Montana for the month, at Eagle Nest RV Resort. We've been looking forward to returning here for four years. It was one of our first destinations when we began full-timing. It's also another place with western family connections for me. We used to come visit my grandparents on my mother's side when they lived in an Airstream, in nearby Big Arm, on the shores of beautiful Flathead Lake.  I fell in love with the lake then, 40 years ago, and it hasn't changed much. It even still smells the same.

Jack was a fisherman

Eagle Nest is a lovely park with lots of shade provided by beautiful blue spruce trees, green grass between all the sites, a small pool and hot tub, playground, pickle ball courts, well-equipped exercise room, super clean bathrooms and laundry rooms, recycling, plenty of green space for dog-walking (though no fenced dog area) and an all-park happy hour every day. It's run extremely well by folks who really seem to care about their park and are always making improvements. The sites are probably a little close together for some folk's tastes, but not right on top of each other either. The park is on the edge of town, close to Safeway, but surrounded on three sides by green space (golf course, horse pasture and cherry orchards) and a small residential area on the fourth, so it's quiet.  Great views.

Every July 4th they host a BBQ potluck picnic followed by fireworks, but this year the fireworks are cancelled because of a county wide ban due to the extreme dryness.  They sell a lot of fireworks around here, and there are going to be a lot of disappointed people with fireworks stored until New Years I guess.

The town of Polson however will set off their annual fireworks by the lake, with the support of the town fire department. There'll be a parade and other local celebrations.  There's a powwow in nearby Arlee that we may get too as well. But last weekend was the Mission Mountain Rodeo. I love these small local rodeos, especially because they are more about family and community than about national competition. 

The rodeo began with events for the local kids. First there was sheep riding for little guys and girls as young as two!!!  Let me tell you, there was some anticipation in the crowd waiting for those kids to show their stuff.  

The young man in the center picture was last year's sheep riding champ.

Don't they look like a docile bunch?

It took a lot of help and time to get each kid geared up and safely on a sheep.

The boy on the right is a rodeo clown in training.

And they didn't stay on too long...

The two year old stayed on long enough to get out the "buckin' chute," but just barely. 
He was fine, just lying there trying to figure out what happened. 

Next came the mini-bull riding for teens. They did a little better.

You can see how many people are involved in these events, keeping the people and animals safe.

Finally came the adult events, including bareback riding of bucking horses and bulls.  This was one of the longest rides of the evening, measured only in seconds.

The last events we watched were various kinds of roping and wrestling feats.

It's a long program. The locals have got a lot of passion for these events and for the people involved,  (many of whom are local contestants) and that along with plenty of cold beer got everyone through the hot evening.

We'll be here in Polson for a few more weeks. We're kind of taking it easy on this rare monthly stay, but we're still seeing and doing plenty around this gorgeous part of the world.


  1. Pickleball...cool! We've only seen parks with that in AZ, we love Pickleball! I had heard that was a nice park before, now I have proof! ;-)

    The rodeo looks like a neat experience, your photos were cracking me up!

    1. Well some of the rodeo is pretty funny. Especially when they aren't trying to be. Sometimes it's just corny.
      And I would definitely recommend this park over the other 2 in town, if just for the shade. We're having a really hot summer here.

  2. I was wondering where you were staying. Looks like a nice park. I really like the concrete sites and the patio. Fun times at the rodeo! Love the little ones on the sheep:)

    1. There's actually only one concrete site in the park, and it happens to be right next to us. No idea why. The rest are gravel, with concrete walkways from the parking spot to the door. Helps keep the RV clean.

  3. Sometimes staying a month in one place is great, allowing us to catch up on everything. We love watching button busting.... always good for a few laughs.

    1. Once upon a time we thought we'd like to stay a month in each state. Then we began to understand how long it really takes us to travel from north to south. Now we try to stay at least a week, but sometimes we have to cut it even shorter when we really need to cover territory. It's just such a big country!

  4. Rodeo Facts:
    Rodeo is popular throughout the western United States and is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas. While “entertaining” the audience, animals are physically provoked in order to make the cowboys appear more impressive. However, spectators may be unaware of the “tools of torment” used to produce these performances.

    hotshot electric prodSuch tools include the “hotshot,” an electric prod used on the animal while captive in the chute. The intense pain scares the animal into displaying abnormally dramatic reactions. Other tools include metal spurs and “bucking straps” that burn the animal’s abdomen and groin area and cause him to “buck” and can lead to back and leg injuries


    1. Sorry to hear that. Thanks for offering a balanced picture.


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