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Cowbells, bull riders, and a couple tons of grain and hay

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BIG SKY – 320 Ranch is donating a ton of grain and a ton of hay to the Big Sky Professional Bull Riding event—literally.

“We thought it was a nice tie-in with what we do at the ranch with our own stock, and how we support ourselves and the community,” said 320 general manager John Richardson.

Started in 1898 as a homestead, 320 has been taking guests since about 1906, Richardson said. Today it keeps around 60 head of horses and a couple of mules.

“It’s kind of the left hand helping the right hand. We’ve always got grain and hay,” he said.

And 320 isn’t the only sponsor getting creative.

Ryan Kulesza and Tallie Jamison from Big Sky Sotheby’s are furnishing cowbells to the first 500 event-goers.

“We thought we’d come up with something that was fun and would add to the event,” Kulesza said. “It’s all about the experience when you’re in Big Sky.”

The Big Sky Community Corp. is also on board with the PBR, receiving a portion of the proceeds from the July 31 Calcutta auction, and providing volunteers to help take tickets and sell programs at the gate.

“Basically, we’re being given a cool opportunity to be involved in the event,” said BSCC executive director Jessie Neal.

Also in PBR news, event producers The Outlaw Partners (also the publisher of this newspaper) recently announced a partnership with last year’s Big Sky champion Beau Hill.

Hill, a Montana native, last year won the event in dramatic final ride.

In the final round, Hill hung on when his bull hopped sideways into the fence, but his score was negatively impacted, and he would’ve finished second had he not risked it all in a re-ride.

“It’s pretty awesome to get on board with you guys, being out of Montana and promoting the Big Sky event,” Hill said of the partnership.

“It’s such a great event, and I’m glad to be a part of it. For me it’s different because it’s in my home state. A lot of friends and family get to come, and that makes it special for me.”

Hill, who lives in West Glacier, has competed in three PBR events this winter already, and says he’s been “going pretty hard since the first of January.”

Big Sky’s event is world-class caliber, Hill said. The bulls, which will again come from Chad Berger’s North Dakota ranch, are the same ones at the PBR finals, Hill said. And the bull riders coming to Big Sky are also some of the best in the world.

“When you have those two elements it definitely makes for a good show.”

The Big Sky PBR will be hosted in the Big Sky Town Center Aug. 1. Tickets go on sale June 22 at 9 a.m., and can be purchased at, the Country Market or Outlaw Partners’ office in Big Sky. General Admissions tickets will be $40 each and Golden Buckle tickets will be $150. Admission for children 6 and under is free. Tickets are limited and expected to sell out quickly.

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