HOME OF CHAMPIONS
The Red Lodge Rodeo dates back to the late 1890’s with local cowboys getting together on a Sunday afternoon at the railroad stockyards to ride exhibition broncos. In 1929 a group of local cowboys built an arena gathered up some wild horses charged admission and contested the rides. In 1930 wth the success of the rodeo the year before the Red Lodge Rodeo Association was formed. In 1932 the Association acquired 180 acres of land and they went to work building a new arena and grandstand at its present location. In 1954 after local cowboy Bill Linderman won his third World All Around Champion Title the name “HOME OF CHAMPIONS” was adopted.
In 1950, Bill Linderman of Red Lodge, Mont., became the first man in professional rodeo history to win three world titles in a single season, claiming the championships in the all-around, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding.
Born April 13, 1920, Linderman won six world titles between both ends of the arena and was the first professional cowboy to win more than $500,000.
Always a leader, Linderman was elected to the RCA Board of Directors in 1947 when he was 27 years old. In 1951 he was elected president of the association and was re-elected annually until he refused to accept nomination in 1958.
Typical of his dedication, he qualified for the first National Finals Rodeo in 1959, but he withdrew from competition to serve as arena director to help ensure the success of the new venture. He served as secretary and treasurer of the RCA from 1962 until his death in a plane crash on Nov. 11, 1965, in Salt Lake City.
It may seem like Deb Greenough was destined for rodeo greatness. He was born into the family of the “Riding Greenoughs” and named after World Champion Deb Copenhaver. Yet, Greenough credits a three-letter word for much of his success – try. He rodeoed through college and earned his PRCA card in 1986.
Greenough qualified for the National Finals Rodeo 13 consecutive years (1988-2000), tied with Joe Alexander for the fifth-most overall NFR qualifications in PRCA history. His 15 career NFR go-round wins at the NFR is also fifth most in his event. Greenough won a bareback riding NFR average title in 1992 and the world title in 1993.
Greenough was also known for his success within the Montana Circuit, where he won five circuit titles. At the time of his induction, Greenough remains tied for the most National Circuit Finals Rodeo wins among bareback riders with three career wins (1995-96, 1999).
“The biggest thing that comes to mind for me is this is just a true, neat, awesome feeling, and an honor,” Greenough said. “I grew up watching Bill Smith, J.C. Bonine, Donnie Gay, Larry Peabody, just tons of people. I dreamed of one day rodeoing and going up and down the road and getting to the Finals and hopefully winning a world title. That was my passion. But, something like this comes (being inducted in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame) and it is something I never even thought of as a kid. Now that it has happened, it is a thrill.”
Perseverance, talent, the support of family and friends, and hard work. In the end, it turned out to be a winning formula.
For Scott Breding, it was a winding road — both extremely trying and joyfully triumphant at times — but it has led him to the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. The Edgar bull rider was inducted in the Legends category in 2021.
A 1980 graduate of Sweet Grass County High School, Breding started competing in the Montana Junior Rodeo Association when he was 12 and continued until he was 18. From there, he attended Miles Community College on an art scholarship and later earned a rodeo scholarship.
Breding rode saddle broncs and bulls for the Pioneers and was the 1982 college rodeo national champion in bull riding for Miles CC.
“I couldn’t believe it, really,” Breding said when recalling the 1982 college championships. “I started in the middle of the pack and bull by bull was climbing. I was near the top in the average and then rode my bull and ended up the champ.
Clint Branger conquered the fearsome Bodacious twice.
And that’s just the start of a long line of accolades for the retired bull rider from Roscoe.
Having competed at both the National Finals Rodeo and Professional Bull Riders World Finals, he’s performed under the biggest lights in his sport.
But it’s how Branger, 57, is spending time now with his loved ones and friends, and the work he does at the family ranch, that are “the highlights” of his life.
Ranching and raising bucking broncs on the ranch near Roscoe make for rewarding days for Branger.
Days at the base of the Beartooth Mountains can also be long but fruitful.
They’re the kind of days, even after a lucrative and highly successful bull riding career, that Branger dreamed of as a child.