Rodeo History - RT Hendrickson

            RT Hendrickson, founder of the July 4th Arlee Rodeo, started riding in the rodeos as a young kid.  He went to the Little Buckaroo National Finals in Salt Lake City at the young age of 12.  He qualified in the Pony Bareback and Steer Riding.  He won a regional Bull Riding Title in the Montana Rodeo Association in 1977 and was runner up in 1976.  RT made it to the Indian National Finals Rodeo in 1984, participating in Bareback Riding at Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In 1983 he started leasing the Arlee Rodeo Grounds from the Salish and Kootenai Tribe.  He then began putting on Indian rodeos, but due to the lack of spectators he switched over to open rodeos and these have been a success ever since.

            In 1990 RT went to a Bucking Horse Sale and purchased three bucking horses.  He has been raising bucking horses ever since.  One Gelding horse he raised was sold to Professional Rodeo Stock Contractor Big Bend Rodeo out of Washington.  He has also raised and sold five more horses to Professional Rodeo Stock Contractor JS Rodeo Company.  Of these five sold to JS Rodeo, he is hoping 2 of them will make it to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.   In 1991 RT and his good friend Tracy Gardner combined their bucking horses and along with Pistol Creek rodeo providing the bull stock they started the Arlee Rough Stock Rodeo Buckle series.  RT and Tracy continued putting on these rodeos until 2000.  RT has also been a rodeo judge in the Northern Rodeo Association, he also judged many bull ridings, and last year 2006 he filled in as a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) Judge.

            Since 1991 RT has been participating in Rodeo as a Pick Up Man and in 2000 he got his PRCA card and started picking up for the Big Bend Rodeo Company.  RT continues to be a Pick Up Man for the PRCA.

            RT has a Bucking Horse Program that he calls Buffalo Skull Broncs.  He calls his program the Buffalo Skull Broncs, because he wanted to tie it to the Native Americans and Charlie Russell use to paint a little buffalo skull in the lower corner of his paintings.  This logo is RT’s little claim to fame the skull and Charlie Russell have the same logo. 

            In 1996 RT and World Champion Bareback Rider Deb Greenough started a bareback riding school with Deb acting as the instructor.  Tracey Gardner and I provided the bucking horses.  The common reason they all shared in putting on this school was to help the young kids get started and with good instruction they will get a safer start.  When they first started the school, they were getting around 20 students a year from all over the US and Canada.  Now we get around 10 students.

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