The fifth annual Big Sky PBR

By Finley Timon EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – I had been waiting to go to Montana all summer, and my trip couldn’t have been better. We did so many cool things, including horseback riding on July 29 at Big Sky’s Lone Mountain Ranch – I rode a horse named Tank.

Finley and Grayson horseback riding at Lone Mountain Ranch, with Big Sky Resort's Lone Mountain in the background.

Finley and Grayson horseback riding at Lone Mountain Ranch, with Big Sky Resort’s Lone Mountain in the background.

Kai, our wrangler, knew so much about the history of the ranch. We talked about how LMR has been in Big Sky for 100 years, and that’s old! Kai also taught me about some really cool things along the trail. I learned about different plants and also the interesting behavior of wildlife in the area.

We saw evidence of how bears use their claws to scrape trees and then use them as back scratchers. We also learned how elk and deer use the trees to scrape velvet off their antlers. We rode through a meadow where I could see the grass swaying in the breeze, and that was a beautiful sight, but having Lone Mountain in the background was the icing on the cake.

The first night of the Big Sky Pro Bull Riders event finally

Grayson and Finley enjoying the fifth annual Big Sky PBR as the Blue Moon rises over the eastern horizon.

Grayson and Finley enjoying the fifth annual Big Sky PBR as the Blue Moon rises over the eastern horizon.

came on July 30. I was off of my chair about how cool it was! The entertainer Flint Rasmussen was so funny, and also a great dancer. The bull riding was the best part even though the riders didn’t get a qualifying ride until eight rides in – that was crazy. My dad told me that the stock contractor Chad Berger who brought the bulls was one of, if not the best, “bull” guys in the world.

I went whitewater rafting on July 31 with Geyser Whitewater Expeditions, before the second night of bull riding. Our guide was named Dylan and he piloted “Team Awesome” – my nickname for our crew of paddlers – past House Rock and through the Mad Mile of the Gallatin River. A few of the bull riders also went with us and it was funny to see them out of their element – they are so tough on the bulls, but kind of wimps in the cold water.

The second night of the PBR was even better than the first, as the bull riders got off to a better start and Rasmussen had his dancing shoes in full gear. I do love the bulls but one of my favorite events is the mutton bustin’ where kids try to hang on to a sheep as long as possible. During the July 31 mutton bustin’ event, a girl that won it last year, Kelsey Ladd, repeated as champion this year.

I can’t imagine what was going through her mind other than “Hold on!” I remember her from last year, when her animal ran right into the group of sheep and she still stayed on. The other kids did a great job too, and it is so cute to see these little kids out in the arena.

Finley paddleboarding on Big Sky Resort's Lake Levinsky

Finley paddleboarding on Big Sky Resort’s Lake Levinsky

My trip was quickly coming to an end on Aug. 1, but not before a paddleboarding adventure on Big Sky Resort’s Lake Levinski. When we went to the lake I was glad that I could be up there surrounded by nature, on a wobbly paddleboard in a beautiful mountain lake. I fell off three times while attempting yoga poses on my board, and the water was nearly as cold as ice cubes in a freezer. That night was the final event of the Big Sky PBR, when the amazing three nights ended with a concert. I didn’t know any of the bands but my dad sure liked them: I’ve never seen him dance so much.

On Sunday I had to head back home to Colorado, but I’ll miss my home away from home in Montana. This year Big Sky hosted an incredible PBR event, and I’ve already told my parents we better come for the sixth annual Big Sky PBR next summer.