WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas (Dec 1-10, 2022) is where you will find the best cowboys, ropers and riders in the world competing for a prestigious Gold Buckle and their chance to claim a world championship.
It should come as no surprise that many of the athletes hail from the Treasure State. The state of Montana might not have any professional sports teams, but there is no shortage of athletes here. Montana rodeo competitors often live and work on the ranch—roping and riding are more than just sports, they are a way of life. With a work ethic second to none, and the true grit that can only be earned on the ranch, rodeo competitors from Montana have an authenticity that shines through in the arena and gives rise to champions year after year.
Western Ranch Broker’s Bill Boyce knows a thing or two about the unique connection between Montana ranch life and success in the rodeo arena. The lifetime rancher and former athlete for the Montana State University Rodeo national championship team of 1988 noted that,
“The state of Montana provides some obstacles to overcome with our weather and remote location. Because of this Montana rodeo athletes learn from an early age how to manage their time and make the most out of their opportunities. Overall Montana has produced a lot of really high quality rodeo athletes versus a large quantity, which shows in the records and results of the Montana contestants at the finals throughout the years. Montana rodeo athletes are truly something special.”
Competing at the NFR for the fourth time this year is tie-down roper Haven Meged of Miles City, Montana. As one of Haven’s sponsors, Western Ranch Brokers interviewed the 2019 World Champion earlier this year to find out what impact ranching had on his rodeo career. Haven maintains that his success all comes down to hard work. Even with his roping career in full swing, Haven’s work day on the family ranch starts before sunrise and ends after sunset, noting that there is always something to do, “whether it’s putting bulls out, checking water, or mending fences,” life on the ranch doesn’t stop. Haven applies the same principles towards roping, saying, “Work as hard as you can. If you want to work like an average person, you will never be successful. Work sunup to sundown, and you have the potential to be the best.” Spoken like a true Montanan, Haven’s never-give-up attitude is just one of the reasons he has been so successful as a tie-down roper. To learn more about Haven and his plans for the future, read Western Ranch Brokers full article here.
Despite its legendary wide open spaces, the relatively small population in Montana creates a very close knit community. It’s commonplace to have a friend or relative that competes in the pro rodeo circuit if you live in Montana—a rarity in the world of professional sports. These personal connections to the competitors only add to the pride that Montanans have for the men and women who make it to the NFR to compete.
The contestants representing Montana at the NFR this year include:
- Caleb Bennett – Corvallis, MT (bareback)
- Ty Erickson – Helena, MT (steer wrestling)
- Timmy Sparing – Helena, MT (steer wrestling)
- Clay Tryan – Billings, MT (team roping)
- Sage Newman – Melstone, MT (saddle bronc)
- Chase Brooks – Deer Lodge, MT (saddle bronc)
- Haven Meged – Miles City, MT (tie-down roping)
- Lisa Lockhart – Circle, MT, now of Oelrichs, SD (barrel racing)
For this year’s full contestant roster, click here.
Western Ranch Brokers congratulates all the talented men and women from Montana at the NFR this year with a special shout out to our friend Haven Meged. Tune into The Cowboy Channel for live coverage of the NFR rodeo starting at 6:45 PM MST each night and don’t miss the final performance airing December 10th.
Photo of Haven Meged at NFR courtesy of Montanasports.com, Jackie Jensen Photography.