By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor
BIG SKY – There are a number of things that set the Big Sky Professional Bull Riding event apart from the rest of the stops on the Touring Pro Division circuit: Lone Mountain towering west of the arena, world-class fly fishing and whitewater rafting, and the close proximity to Yellowstone National Park.
But the free concerts held each night after the bull riding make Big Sky’s biggest summer event one to carve out on your calendar.
From Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real to Morgan Frazier in 2012, to The Dirty Shame and all-female AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Belles in 2013, the festivities in Big Sky don’t stop when the dust settles in Town Center Arena.
This summer, Montana’s premier Pink Floyd tribute band Pinky and the Floyd will headline the afterparty July 30, and Big Sky’s homegrown honky-tonk country band Bottom of the Barrel will close the festivities on July 31.
This will be Bottom of the Barrel’s debut at the Big Sky PBR and lead guitarist and vocalist Jeff Bellino, is excited for the opportunity.
“The whole thing is awesome, we love seeing it in Big Sky,” Bellino said. “That energy [the PBR] brings, we’re always stoked to see the level of riders it brings to town. Last year’s Hell’s Belles’ show was out of hand, it was just a blast.”
The band has been trying to get into the studio this spring and summer, Bellino said, but it’s prioritizing getting new material – which it’ll debut at the PBR – polished for the event.
“It’s a big gig for us,” Bellino said. “That’s our kind of crowd, our kind of deal.”
For the first time this summer, Big Sky PBR organizers announced a music sponsor, and they reeled in a big fish for the inaugural sponsorship: Harrington’s Pepsi-Cola.
“We think [the Big Sky PBR] is an important event,” said Scott Lease, Harrington Pepsi-Cola General Manager. “I’ve always wanted to get involved in it, and the opportunity to get involved with the afterparty was a perfect fit.”
The Bozeman franchise of the family-owned Montana beverage distributor – which was established in 1937 – is involved with events and organizations throughout the state including rodeos, small concerts, nonprofits and Montana State University events.
Harrington’s Pepsi-Cola has also been heavily involved in the Big Sky community and has partnered with the school to show its support. It’s a charter member of the Lone Peak High School Booster Club and provided support for the football scoreboard in 2011.
“We love being involved in community activities,” Lease said, adding that this will be his first year attending the Big Sky PBR. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Music starts each night as soon as the bull riding is done, at the Cooper Tire stage in Big Sky Town Center.
This year’s title and presenting sponsors are the Yellowstone Club, Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks Mountain Club.