DARBY — A packed audience or sold-out show seems unheard of these days with all of the COVID-19 restrictions placed on events.
But that wasn’t the case for the Darby Rodeo Association Monday night as they hosted rodeo fans from near and far.
“I think it’s about time people got out of the house and came out here and enjoyed the rodeo and had a good time," rodeo spectator Mark Tannehill said.
Darby hosted the top 24 bareback riders from the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association in a world-class competition.
Cast members from the show “Yellowstone” also joined the crowd. Naturally, the event was named “Yellowstone Riggin’ Rally.”
Rodeo vendor and owner of Muley Bluz, Steve Krumm, was impressed with the turnout, to say the least.
“To have them come to a rodeo like this, in this kind of weather with all the rain and the wind... it’s unbelievable,” said Krumm, “But people come out, they’ll come for it. Put up the money and here they are.”
Ravalli County currently has eight active cases of COVID-19 which means they fall under Gov. Steve Bullock's mask mandate.
But amid the sea of cowboy hats, you didn’t see too many masks. Krumm said he didn’t mind -- he was just happy to have some steady business.
“We completely sold out of blankets. We had a ton of blankets. We’re clean out of blankets...I’m down to one roping glove and we’ve been selling a little tack.”
Neither the rain nor the pandemic kept folks away from the rodeo. In fact, it sold out with upwards of 1,500 spectators.
For rodeo-goers like Tannehill, getting the community together was worth the risk and the pushback from the Ravalli County Health Department.
“This is all family, it’s a family thing, and it’s good to see people coming out from Missoula and whereabouts, north, south. We’ve got some top name rodeo riders here tonight.”
The Steiners, a household name in the rodeo and ranching industry, are to thank for bringing the world-class rodeo to Darby this weekend.
The family is from Texas, but also own property in the Bitterroot Valley.