Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

County Fair Rodeo

The Phillips County Fair to feature Ranch Rodeo, Indian Relay


Pierre Bibbs

In an earlier Ranch Rodeo, Chris Barthelmess and Greg Oxarart try to rope a wild cow during the Wild Cow Milking event at a previous Nile Sanctioned Milk River Rodeo event held at Trafton Park in Malta. This year's event will be held at the Fairgrounds in Dodson as a part of the 102nd Annual Phillips County Fair on Sunday, August 6.

The Phillips County Fair will feature a couple of different aspects of rodeo as it will host two events that it hasn't in recent history.

The event will open and close with an Indian Horse Racing Relay event that will sandwich a Nile Sanctioned Ranch Rodeo.

The Indian Relay is accredited by the Horse Nations Indian Relay Council and sponsored by the Fort Belknap Indian Community / Aaniiih and Assiniboine / Nakoda tribes and the winning team will qualify for the 6th Annual All Nations Indian Championship event in Billings this September.

Deserae Kill Eagle, an event coordinator and member of the Northeast Corner Community Committee, explained what the relay is.

"It's a group effort," she said. "You have three bareback horses for each team, one rider, one mugger and two holders. The rider rides one lap, then get to then holding area and jump off the first horse and jump on the other, go around and hop off and onto the last horse and do another lap."

Events can have up to five teams going at once, which makes for an action-packed race.

"Their stamina, strength and agility that these riders have is so fun to watch," Kill Eagle said.

What makes this Indian Relay event so special is the pace that it will be done.

"The one unique thing about how we are running it is that it's usually a two day thing," Kill Eagle said. "On the first day they would have the trial runs and on the second day they would have the consolation race and championship race."

The Kill Eagle family was unsure that they could put together the event in such short time, but the community seized the opportunity.

"We didn't know if we could get everything done in time but my dad (Wes Kill Eagle Sr.) called the vice chair of the Horse Indian Relay Council and they said 'yes we can be there' and got the ball rolling," Kill Eagle said.

The qualifying race will be in the morning from 10 a.m. to noon and after Ranch Rodeo ends at about 3:30 p.m., the championship races will begin.

"For us in Dodson and the Northeast Corner it's exciting," Kill Eagle said noting the pride that the fair brings. "We have the Phillips County Fair, which is the longest running fair and this fair has been a huge part of a lot of people's lives growing up on the reservation also. I think it will bring huge feedback not only for the Dodson community but Phillips County and the reservation."

For more about the Indian Relay contact Francine Kill Eagle at 406-301-1610.

The Ranch Rodeo will feature several teams that will ride, rope and milk their way to a possible berth into the Nile Ranch Rodeo finals in Billings on Saturday, October 14 as well as prize money.

"It's the same thing that we have had in Trafton for the last three years, but they wondered if we would be interested in doing it at the fair," Scott Meeks said.

The event features five action packed events including bronc riding, team branding, team doctoring, team penning and wild cow milking. Meeks went on to describe a few fan favorites.

"In team penning the team has to find three cattle that have a certain number on them," Meeks said. "You will be told you need to get (a particular number). The team will need to pick those head of cattle out of thirty head of cattle and not allow more than four to cross a line in the arena. They have to take those three down to a horse trailer in under three minutes."

According to Meeks, wild cow milking is another fan favorite.

"In wild cow milking they will turn one cow out into the arena and the team on the whistle will take off," Meeks said. "The rider or riders will rope the cow and bail off and mug the cow while his or her teammates try to hold the cow. After the teammates hold the cow the roper has to let go of the rope and hold the cow. Then they try to milk the cow."

There has to be enough milk to be poured out of the bottle to leave a time.

Meeks is excited that the Phillips County Fair will be the scene of the 2017 Nile Sanctioned Ranch Rodeo.

"It will be exciting," Meeks said. "I think it will be a good show. Having it at the fair will be a good thing and the ranch rodeo will be exposed to a lot more people."

For more information on the Ranch Rodeo contact Jeremy Pierce at 406-390-6584 or Kendra Green at 406-301-0149.


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