Big Sky Vaqueros

ImageThis Montana-based organization brings together working cowboys and weekend ropers in friendly competitions, while celebrating the ways of the early California vaquero.

It is almost dark by the time I reach Bozeman, Montana. While reading the directions I had scribbled on a small piece of paper, I navigate through an upscale neighborhood on the edge of town. After one last turn, I try to read the street numbers in the dim light. Looking ahead, I see dark silhouettes in cowboy hats roping a dummy right in the middle of the street.

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Adjusting to the Costs of Competition


These are some of my rodeo friends. Sharing horses and traveling expenses have enabled us to continue to compete during this tough economic time.

Young horsemen rise to the occasion to keep doing what they love.

Horse trailer is hooked up, horses are loaded and you and the family are ready to go to an equine event. You fuel up your truck, putting at least $70 worth of gasoline or diesel in the tank, each gallon costing at least $3.90. Three-hundred miles down the road, your fuel gauge shows you’re tank is almost empty. Your finances are already being drained, and you haven’t even arrived at the event, where you’ll spend more money on entry fees, food and lodging, and stalls for your horses.


High fuel prices and a strained economy are drastically changing the horse world, making it more difficult than ever for horse people to afford to compete. But there are ways to adjust to the rising costs of the competitive horse world...

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Secret Weapon

ImageCasual rodeo fans might not recognize her name, but some of the sport’s best ropers often turn to Lari Dee Guy
when in search of new horsepower.

The banging open of a chute gate precedes a hail of flying dirt as a calf heads full speed for the back of the arena, a horse in hot pursuit. His chances of getting there are somewhere between slim and none, however, because Lari Dee Guy rarely misses with a rope. Sure enough, moments later she lets the rope fly and makes a clean catch.

With her tongue curled over her upper lip, one can’t help but see the obvious comparisons between the Texas cowgirl and her basketball hero—Michael Jordan. In the world of women ropers (and horse trainers, for that matter), Lari Dee is a perennial all-star. She’s got countless titles on her roping record, and her horse-training resume includes a reference from possibly the greatest timed-event hand the sport has ever known, Trevor Brazile.


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Balancing Act

ImageAt age 45, saddle-bronc great Billy Etbauer is gunning for his sixth world title. Behind the scenes, though, the Oklahoma cowboy is shifting gears, partnering with his wife and family to raise some of the country’s top speed-bred performance horses.

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Versatile Champion

Active ImageTime off and a change of scenery prior to January’s AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Show proved just the right mix for Sixes Pick and Chance O’Neal. 

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