Dirtwire to cap off the night with Street Dance
By Bella Butler EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – Before skiers and fly fishermen stepped into the forefront of Montana’s identity, the cowboy was the embodiment of the West. Nowadays, long summer nights in the state are spent celebrating the culture and majesty of these Western roots with rodeos. On July 16, one such rodeo will ride into Big Sky to kick off a week of festivities leading up to the Big Sky PBR.
In its second year, the Big Sky Community Rodeo will bring acclaimed rodeo athletes from Montana State University as well as other competitors from around the region to Big Sky for an exciting night leading up to the Big Sky Community Street Dance and a performance by the nationally touring band Dirtwire. The street dance and rodeo will help launch Big Sky’s Biggest Week, a series of events leading up to the Big Sky PBR.
The rodeo, put on by Outlaw Partners, publisher of this newspaper, and the Yellowstone Club, will bring the family-friendly crowd prime seats to watch MSU rodeo athletes compete in events like bareback and saddle bronc riding, roping and steer wrestling, among others.
“We’re excited to partner with the Yellowstone Club again in 2021 to bring this event to the community of Big Sky,” said Outlaw Partners VP of Events Ennion Williams. “This event showcases college rodeo talent, which is a different format from Big Sky PBR,” he added, highlighting the diversity in events presented as part of Big Sky’s Biggest Week.
In June, the MSU Rodeo Team vied for a national title to cap off an already successful season at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. The women’s team victoriously brought the national title back to Bozeman—its first since 2011—and the men’s team claimed 11th place. After being distinguished as the best in the nation, a handful of these reputable athletes will provide Big Sky with what MSU Rodeo Head Coach Andy Bolich thinks will be “an action-packed rodeo.”
“It’s a really small arena and all the seats are right there close to the action and so I think it’ll be a really fun rodeo experience,” Bolich said. “As far as rodeo arenas are concerned, they don’t get much closer than that one.”
Bolich, who qualified for the national rodeo with MSU for four years before graduating in 2003 and joining the coaching staff, expressed how rodeo goes beyond sport. “All the things that the Western lifestyle has to offer is kind of showcased into a rodeo,” he said. When families show up to a rodeo, they’re not only watching great athletes, Bolich suggested, but also traditional cowboys.
Anyone who’s been to a rodeo knows the excitement and adrenaline felt while exiting the arena. This year, Outlaw Partners and sponsoring partner LMNT Hydration will offer a chance to keep the party alive with the Big Sky Community Street Dance.
Dirtwire, a band self-described as “back-porch space cowboy blues, swamptropica and electro-twang,” will perform on a closed-off stretch of Town Center Avenue with a unique energy and sound that only the West Coast group could bring.
The experimental band brings a variety of instruments to the stage, from banjos to things you’ve likely never heard of like a West African kamala ngonis, to marry music styles from around the globe.
“We are grateful to LMNT Hydration for bringing us a nationally recognized band for the community to enjoy after the Big Sky Community Rodeo,” Williams said, expressing excitement at the idea of congregating for live music once again.
The rodeo will begin at 6 p.m. and the street dance will follow at 9 p.m.
Both community rodeo and street dance tickets are available for purchase at bigskypbr.com. For more information on these events and Big Sky’s Biggest Week, download the Outlaw Partners app for Apple and Android.