By Emily Stifler, Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor
BIG SKY – The Calcutta auction is returning to the Big Sky Professional Bull Riding tour event this summer on the evening of July 31. Later that evening, rising country music star Morgan Frazier will play an outdoor concert in the Town Center.
Starting at 6 p.m. at the PBR arena, the Calcutta auction will split the 35 PBR riders into teams of seven, which are each raffled off to betters. A pot is put together, and the gamers who bet on the winning rider go home with half.
The other half will be donated to two local nonprofits, the Big Sky Community Corp and the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation. Last year the event raised more than $18,000 for YCCF.
Bull riders will also be on hand that night, signing autographs and socializing. Both that event and the Morgan Frazier concert are free and open to the public. The vendor village will open at 6 p.m., and the concert will start at 8 p.m.
“She has that classic Nashville voice,” said Brian Hurlbut, general manager of the Arts Council of Big Sky, describing Frazier. ACBS is bringing Frazier to town as part of its summer music series, which often features up and coming artists.
Frazier, who is 18, is originally from Texas and has been playing music, performing, and writing songs since she was 7 years old. She recent signed with Curb Records, and the Big Sky show is part of her first big national tour this summer.
The fact she was coming through Montana during the rodeo was like a natural fit,” Hurlbut said.
One of the Calcutta’s key sponsors is Fay Ranches, which is hosting its annual client party in Big Sky during the PBR. The brokerage is also a chute and barrel sponsor at the main event the following night.
The Big Sky PBR is “up close and personal event that isn’t done anywhere else,” said Jenny Davison, who organizes the client party for Fay every year and comes from a rodeo background. The small nature of the show and the way the arena is set up allows “people to get close front row seats pretty much anywhere you sit.”
“Last year’s PBR was an extraordinary success for the entire community,” said Yellowstone Club principal owner Sam Byrne. The club will again be the event’s title sponsor this year.
“The energy was fantastic and the event could not have been more fun for me and my family…[It] created a signature summer event for the entire Big Sky community.”
Bringing the PBR to Big Sky was a huge accomplishment for local business, Byrne said.
“The Yellowstone Club has a vested interest in the success of our local business community, so we are always looking to support events that will in turn support the local business community.”
Jim Murphy, from the event’s presenting sponsor Continental Construction, echoed that sentiment. Growing its summer activities schedule will bring new people to town, Murphy said, helping drive the economy.
“Everyone thinks of Big Sky as a ski place but it’s much more than that. It’s as much fun if not more in the summer, with all the things to do.”
Murphy likes seeing local businesses come together to put on the event, and said fun summer events like this contribute to the morale and the fabric of a community.
“It’s not only something you can do, but something your community can be proud of.”
It’s also a nice way to give back and be involved in the community, Murphy said.
“To see something blossom and grow from the ground up, it’s fun. A lot of local businesses have stepped up. Ticket sales have been robust. People want to come back.”
Murphy credited Outlaw Partners CEO Eric Ladd (publisher of Explore Big Sky) for getting the Big Sky PBR off the ground, and Sam Byrne “for stepping up that first year and believing in what was then just an idea.”