HELENA – Stands are going to be filled with people this weekend for the East Helena Rodeo.
But before all of the cowboys and cowgirls arrive, a lot of preparations take place.
“It takes an army and it takes a great family of members, it’s a membership it’s an association it’s all volunteer who put on the East Helena Valley Rodeo,” said Mike Buckley, president of East HelenaValleyy Rodeo Association.
Organizers have been busy setting up the rodeo grounds, getting stock in place and setting up fences, while making sure the horses stay cool and hydrated.
There will be about 400 rodeo competitors. The ground is dry and dusty; Buckley said they have a sponsor with a water truck that will be working the grounds to keep the dust down throughout the event.
“The whole rodeo to me is my favorite, it’s just the people, the atmosphere, the fun. Seeing all the people and friends. Then, before it’s over and done with there will be people standing because there won’t be any sitting room,” Buckley added.
“Rodeos for me are everything, I use to compete, of course I got old, so I started to get into judging, I’ve been judging for several years now,” said Don Clark, rodeo official for Northern Rodeo Association.
Clark will be one of the judges at the East Helena Rodeo.
Clark said a lot people don’t realize the work it takes to prepare for an event. He’ll show up five hours early to mark the barrels, set barriers for timed events and transport cattle back and forth.
“Just enjoy watching a great ride or a great run, and you almost, as a judge, kind of feel like the crowd when you see a great run, you just become in awe,” he added.
Banners saying “Tough Enough To Wear Pink”, covered the rodeo stadium. Organizers said people are encouraged to wear pink clothing for breast cancer awareness.