Montanans Dominating at the Last Chance Stampede

By Ruth Nicolaus

HELENA, Mont. (July 23, 2015) – Two Montana State Bobcats lead the steer wrestling after the first performance of the Last Chance Stampede in Helena Thursday night.

Austin Malek, Highwood, and Dayln Wingard, Havre, both made 4.3-second runs to take the lead in the rodeo.

Malek, a senior at Montana State this fall, will graduate next year with a degree in animal science and livestock management. He’s competed collegiately at Montana State, but injuries have kept him from qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo.

And right now, he should be home. It’s harvest time on his family’s wheat farm, and his dad spared him long enough to let him rodeo. He competed in Lewistown this morning, and early tomorrow morning, he’ll make the two hour trip back home to jump into a combine.

Wingard day works, helping out ranchers in the Havre area, and will be at the Libby, Mont., amateur rodeo tomorrow night.

Malek and Wingard competed on the college rodeo team this past spring, and even lived together for a while.

“I actually lived on his couch last year for a while in college,” Wingard said. “(Rodeo people) are good people. They’ll give you the shirt off their back, as long as you don’t do them any harm. You can stay at anybody’s house if you need it, and eat out of their fridge, and they don’t care.”

Montanans took the lead in five of the remaining six events. Bareback rider Jessy Davis of Power scored 80 points to lead his event. The Utah native, who moved to the Big Sky State five years ago, has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo six times. Bull rider Kody DeShon, who grew up in Idaho but now calls Helena home, scored 76 points to take the lead in his event. DeShon, 29, is ranked 17th in the world right now, and is hitting the rodeo road hard, trying to break into the top 15 that qualify for the Wrangler NFR.

Other leaders include team ropers Scot Strauser, Havre, and Shane Bessette, Great Falls (8.6 seconds), saddle bronc rider J.C. DeSaveur, Roberts (73 points), and barrel racer Ashley Sudan, Whitefish (17.70 seconds). The tie-down roping lead is held by Nick Travaglia, Magrath, Alberta (11.5 seconds).

The Last Chance Stampede continues tomorrow night with a Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance on July 24 at 7:30 p.m. Fans are asked to wear pink for Tough Enough to Wear Pink night to support St. Peter’s Foundation. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website at Tickets are $18 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12 and are available online and at the gate.

Courtesy of PRCA