Magazine article Sunset

Getting Your Buck's Worth in Montana

Magazine article Sunset

Getting Your Buck's Worth in Montana

Article excerpt

Drive through Miles City, Montana, built at the confluence of the Tongue and Yellowstone rivers in 1878, and you'll see why it's known as the Cow Capital of the West. Pickups and stock trucks line the streets. The radio station is KATL-AM. Buildings on Main Street - the Olive Hotel; Range Riders Bar; Bison Bar; and Montana Bar, with stamped-tin ceiling and glassy-eyed longhorn steer heads - survive from the turn of the century.

Nowhere is Miles City's cowboy legacy more apparent than at the annual Bucking Horse Sale. The event includes street dances, barbecues, and a parade featuring everything from hay balers to hairdressers on horseback, but the highlight of this three-day cowboy Mardi Gras is 1/2 mile west at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. Here punchers of cows and time clocks gather to watch bronc and bareback riding on the nearly 400 horses that will be sold as bucking stock.

The riders are rodeo-circuit professionals or last-minute daredevils. The broncs are wild animals or spoiled saddle horses. The combination is riveting. …

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