On an ordinary February evening, the Browning High School Tipi Dome is full of squeaking shoes, dribbling balls and ball players preparing for tournaments.

But on Friday, Feb. 17, the basketball players and coaches graciously lent the gym to the Browning High School and Middle School Rodeo Club.

In a matter of just a couple hours, the gym was transformed into a banquet hall. By 6:30 that evening a steady stream of rodeo supporters made their way into the gym for a whippin’, spurrin’ good time.

Over 40 high school students and their BMS counterparts served a delicious meal catered by Chanel Snow while a slideshow of their rodeo and academic achievements played on the big screen and Leo “Oozer” Bird delivered a Blackfeet prayer.

Though he was on the road chasing his fourth PBR Finals, Professional Bull Rider Dakota Louis sent a special message. He spoke of this experience in the PBR and his pride in being a Browning High School Rodeo member and how it helped shape his professional career.

Guest auctioneer and rodeo supporter Ray Champ began the auction with some words of encouragement and praise for the students’ hard work and dedication.

The auction itself boasted over 80 silent and live items, many of which were created and made by the club members themselves. The live auction was lively and exciting, with pies going for as much as $175. The high selling items in the live auction included a wooden mirror made by Steven Wagner that was sold to Tony Wagner, a Yeti cooler full of ranch raised beef donated by Tahj Wells and the Lunak Ranch sold to Tim No Runner, and a painted buffalo skull donated by Chazz and Jace Racine and painted by Shontee Johnson sold to Robin and Ronnie Johnson. The high selling silent auction items included a saddle pad and breast collar donated by Norman’s Western Wear and McKayla McNeely sold to Sydney St. Goddard, an INFR card donated by the Indian National Finals sold to Jackie Conway, and a $250 donation from Browning Lumber. Over the course of the evening, the club made over $10,000. That money will be used to buy team shirts, pay for rodeo schools and assist members in going to the state and national finals.

In addition to earning money for their club, students learned lifelong skills that will assist them as they embark on their future. They gleaned skills in event planning and organization, auctioneering, food service and hospitality, as well as speaking skills and confidence. Middle school students also created relationships and a community within the high school that will make their transition into their high school years so much easier.

The great success of this amazing event can only be attributed to the amazing members of the Oh’kitopii Rodeo Club members; their coaches Jimi Champ, Sadie Harwood and Shaylea Tatsey; auctioneer Ray Champ; Athletics director and cashier Tony Wagner; and silent auction organizer Sue Cox. A special thanks to the Buffalo Hide Academy for loaning tables and chairs, BPS Maintenance for hauling and delivering tables, BHS custodians for helping set up and take down furniture and decorations, and the amazing parent and community support.

The BHS/BMS Club members include Kayla Lahr, Whitney Wagner, Peyton Peterson, Ryia Loring, Elise Tatsey McKay, Rowdy Edwards, Kessler Harwood, Thunder Redhorn, Wace Williams, Chase Blue, Nick Crossguns, Avery Calf Robe, Aspen Vaile, Kolten Edwards, Ava Rutherford, Camee Rides at the Door, Cade Racine, Talvin Champ, Eli Edwards, Kas Whiteman, Paris Crawford, Takoda Parsons, McKayla McNeely, Teagan Calf Boss Ribs, JD Monroe, Trenden Kennedy, Ty Juneau, Josh Skunkcap, Landen Salois, Tahj Wells, Chris Gray, Leslie Hall, Taylor Morris, Jason Denny, Kendal Gilham, Mae Gardner, Sno Momberg, Randon Boyce, Jesse Racine, Maurice Redhorn, Amari Calf Robe, Kalcie Connelly, Kayt Evans, Skylar Nez, Kolten Little Dog, Sydney Fitzpatrick, Tucker Juneau, Tal Billedeaux, JP Bird Rattler and Emily Williams.

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