For 40 years, the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals has attracted wind-chilled crowds to Great Falls for some mid-winter celebration.
No matter the temperatures, Four Seasons Arena has been a hotbed of rodeo revelry as the Treasure State’s classiest cowboys and best barrel racers meet annually to decide year-end circuit championships.
It is no different in January of 2020 as the 41st annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals unfold before expected sellout crowds at Four Seasons.
The three-performance show features 7 p.m. rodeos on Jan. 10 and 11, and concludes with a 2 p.m. matinee event on Sunday, Jan. 12. Year-end circuit champions and average winners from the Circuit Finals advance to the lucrative Ram National Circuit Finals in Kissimmee, Fla., the first weekend of April. If the same athlete wins both the year-end and MPRF average titles, the second-place finisher in the year-end standings earns a trip to Kissimmee.
Since 1980, the Circuit Finals has meant for spendy checks, spectacular wrecks and filled Four Seasons decks. That hasn’t changed. In fact the popular rodeo has been enhanced over the years thanks to steadily increasing prize money, improvements at the Great Falls facility and an ever-expanding footprint of the Montana stock contracting companies.
This year’s MPRF features the bucking stock of many Treasure State production companies, including those founded by late PRCA Hall-of-Famers Marvin Brookman and Reg Kesler. Both were instrumental in starting the Circuit Finals in Great Falls.
Both also had much to do with establishing its popularity and staying power.
The stock contracting companies represented this year at the Circuit Finals include Sankey Rodeo Co., New West Rodeo Co., Brookman Rodeo Co., Kesler Rodeo Co., Kesler Championship Rodeo Co., and J-Bar-B Rodeo Co.
Also working at the 2020 Circuit Finals is venerable announcer Will Rasmussen of Choteau, who has been nominated in recent years for the top announcing award in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Rasmussen’s familiarity with Montana rodeos, his smooth delivery and unbridled enthusiasm for the sport make for magic from the announcer’s stand throughout the weekend.
Wagner competing at MPRC Finals
Browning, Cut Bank and Valier are home to several competitors in the 41st annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals, which is set for Jan. 10-12 at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.
Area cowboys and cowgirls who are among the top-ranked competitors going into this weekend’s action include:
• Tia Murphy – Cut Bank, 3rd in Barrel Racing.
• Jayde Murphy – Cut Bank, 4th in Bull Riding.
• Cole Wagner – Valier, 5th in Bull Riding.
• Dustin Bird – Cut Bank, 6th, in Team Roping–Heading.
• Shawn Bird – Cut Bank, 6th in Team Roping–Heeling.
• Buck Lunak – Cut Bank, 8th in Bareback.
• Nolan Conway – Browning, 8th in Team Roping–Heading; and 13th in Tie-Down Roping. Nolan is also ranked 4th in the All-Around standings.
• Alan Gobert – Browning, 10th in Saddle Bronc.
• Dakota Louis – Browning, 9th in Bull Riding. Dakota is also ranked 12th in the All-Around standings.
• Preston Louis – Browning, 13th in Bull Riding.