A Lot Riding On The Rodeo - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

A Lot Riding On The Rodeo

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KALISPELL -

The Cinch Bucking Horse Championships in Kalispell, the nation's richest bucking horse event, is only a day away, and the cowboys and horses have already started rolling into town.

Wyoming horse breeder for thirty years, Hank Franzen, has a lot at stake tomorrow.

"This event is actually based maybe more so on the animal rather than the cowboy side," said Franzen.

"To be a good announcer I believe you have to be a fan first. I'm a fan of not only the cowboys, but the real athletes of the sport: the animal athletes," explained Chad Nicholson, the rodeo's announcer.

At the Championships tomorrow, October 19, the four and five-year-old horses make up half of the total 100 point score given to each rider, and the horses are ranked right alongside the cowboys--$15,000 going to first place bronc.

"I can see us placing two of the four quiet easily," predicted Franzen.

To get to Saturday's competition, riders and horses had to rank high enough during the twelve qualifiers throughout the Western US earlier in the season. The Kalispell convention and visitor bureau estimates that at least 2,200 people will come out to watch the best of the best, about half of those coming from outside the Valley. Hotels like the Hilton began checking in fans and entrants in the rodeo today, chalking up half of their business this weekend to the event.

With so much riding on the rodeo, even veteran, formally-trained announcers like Chad Nicholson can not help but feel a little nervous.

"Anytime you come into an event the first time you get a few butterflies," said Nicholson, "You want everything to go right, especially at an event like this where we've got contractors from all over Canada and the Northwest here with their youngest, best, and brightest broncs."

Festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. October 19 and ticketing information is here.

 

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