Road Trip: Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City, MT

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s May 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here

article by Aimee Andren

photos courtesy of Kim Nelson

Rumor has it, the spring of 1950 inadvertently kicked off what the unassuming farming community of Miles City, Montana would deem its first “Bucking Horse Sale”.  Local resident Les Beaux (member of the Miles City Livestock Center) apparently bought a bunch of yearling steers from an Ekalaka man by the name of Heavy Lester. Thirty-five unruly, untamed bucking horses were thrown into the deal, leaving Beaux not sure what to do other than host a sale to get rid of them. This was the beginning of something big for Miles City, Montana.

The world class Bucking Horse Sale continues to be one of the premier places for purchasing bucking stock as well as hosting an entertaining venue of world-class cowboys vs. bucking broncs and bulls. The traditional Bucking Horse Sale of Miles City is the place to go and experience a Montana weekend like no other reminiscent of days gone by.

The annual BHS officially begins the third weekend of May, which falls on Thursday, May 18 this year. At 7:00 pm, you will have the opportunity to bask in the music of country artist Phil Vassar. Along with writing hits for the likes of country artists Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Blackhawk, Neil McCoy, Jo Dee Messina, and Collin Ray to name a few, he has also won numerous awards and possesses several of his own hits since his self-titled debut album in 1999. Phil is bound to put you in the right state of mind for Friday’s activities, starting at 1:00 pm when the fairgrounds open their doors for the trade show. The day continues with wild horse races, bucking bulls, mutton bustin’, and bronc rides. As the daytime events come to a close, the nighttime events begin with music and dancing on Main Street. Festivities continue throughout the day on Saturday kicking-off with the Range Rider’s breakfast at 6:00 am, followed by the Bucking Horse Sale Parade at 9:30 am. For a change of pace, head down to Riverfront Park at 10:30 am for the “Quick Draw” art show. Afterwards, head back to the fairgrounds to continue your day with an array of rodeo events until, once again, winding down (or winding up) with live entertainment downtown on Main Street starting at 9:00 pm. Sunday morning is a little more forgiving, not rousting the festivity-goers until 9:30 am, when the Custer County Art Center Sunday Brunch/Artist Reception starts the day. The various rodeo activities once again continue until 6:00 Sunday evening, ending the weekend with tired and satisfied rodeo professionals and spectators alike. For more details and information visit: www.buckinghorsesale.com. If you plan to stick around for the whole weekend, there are plenty of places to stay in and around Miles City, but I suggest you reserve your room soon. www.milescitychamber.com is a great place to start, offering suggestions on lodging, food, and other activities to check out in the area. For alternative places to stay, you may want to look into www.booking.com, or www.airbnb.com.

Insider Tip: If you are traveling to Miles City with the family and plan to stay for the weekend, try the Miles City KOA. It is located on the edge of town, near both the Tongue and Yellowstone Rivers, and has the prestigious honor of being a “President’s Award Winner” campground. Along with the natural beauty of containing more than 70 mature cottonwood trees, this KOA offers “Kamping Kabins" with weekly rates, a heated pool (check for opening date of pool.), full hookups, tent sites, horseshoe pits, a well-stocked store, cable TV hookups, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, and pull-through sites up to 65′.

about the author...Although a world traveler at heart, Aimee is a born and raised Montanan. After spending a few years exploring, she made her way back to Montana where she raised her kids and worked in both social work and business arenas. Her kids are now grown and exploring their own worlds, which gives her the freedom to combine her work with her passion of travel, writing, and photography.