Story and Photos by Anne Morsette

Rough stock is making its comeback on Ft. Berthold, and its now becoming popular amongst the youth in the area. On Saturday March 12th, the Shigaga-Adeh-Isha “Young Man to Watch” youth rough stock series took place prior to the third episode of the Cowboy Cool series. The youth rough stock event featured bareback, saddle bronc, bull, and girls ranch bronc riding for children 5-18 years old, as well as a miniature Indian relay. It was a full day of rough stock at the Healing Horse Ranch.

Since Cowboy Cool started back in January, the event has grown bigger and bigger with this past Saturday’s being the biggest event yet. The stands were filled with family, friends, and spectators. Participants came from near and far as well. The rough stock was contracted through Buzzard Bait Bucking Ponies in Richardton, ND; K-8 Bucking Bulls in Killdeer, ND; Johnson Bucking Bulls from Mandaree, ND; 4B Dale Four Bear from Poplar, MT; and M4 Marvin Driver in Shell Creek, ND;

The day started off with the youth rough stock riders. Boys and girls competed on broncs and bulls. All necessary and proper guidelines were practiced throughout to ensure safety of the riders, crew, and animals. A miniature Indian relay race was held in the Healing Horse Ranch arena.  There was a Young Guns School hosted on Friday March 11th, where youth boys and girls came out and learned shoot procedures and checked equipment. Many of the Young Guns students came out on Saturday for the “Young Man to Watch” rough stock series. There were about 22 kids that participated on Saturday. The youth series will continue on April 2nd for the finale at the Ree Ranch in White Shield. 

The third session of the Cowboy Cool series took up the rest of Saturday afternoon with adult bronc and bull riding events. This part carried on late into the evening. Riders in the Cowboy Cool have one more event to compete in for a chance to win trophy buckles. The Cowboy Cool four-part series was started to help bring rough stock sports back to Indian country, which it has been doing just that. Participants have been coming from near and far away places such as neighboring states. 

All in all, the sport is thriving here within MHA Nation. Curt Seeseequasis, one of the event organizers, is very happy to see how much momentum it is catching in the community, especially with the youth. “It’s important to give these young kids something better to do, and to teach them while they’re young. Because this is something they can take with them wherever they go”, commented Seeseequasis. Some of the Cowboy Cool participants started off as Young Gun Rodeo school students, and have picked up the skills and when they’re not riding, they travel and help out as ranch hands. It’s going to be exciting to see how the youth that participated this past weekend take up the skills of this sport into their teenage and adulthood years. This is something new for Ft Berthold, and it’s a learning experience for everyone involved. 

The next Youth Rough Stock Series is set to take place on April 2nd in White Shield, ND at the Ree Ranch. Everyone is welcome to attend or get involved, but please have your youth registered on or before March 30th, as this is the closing date for the next youth event. Cowboy Cool will be having its final championship round on April 16th at the Healing Horse Ranch. Anyone may register with Curtis Seeseequasis by calling him at 701-421-9469 and watching for updates on social media. The event organizers would like to also give an honorable mention to their sponsors for making this all possible: MHA Nation, 4 Bears Casino, Jerrilane Lincoln, Jimmy & Roseanne Johnson, Richard Whitetail & Whitetail Express, and Lyndon Old Elk.