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Building Champions One BIG Jump at a Time

Ricky Warren winning his way to the short round aboard Building Champions Lark. Tony Manolis Photography

HARDIN, Montana – It was the first year for Big Horn Fairgrounds to host the Building Xtreme Bronc Riders Festival. It rained. The arena was a lake and it was cold. That didn’t stop almost 30 young cowboys from driving in from as far away as Utah to ride in Saturday’s free bronc riding school and stick around for Sunday’s $17,620 PRCA approved matched bronc ride. They loved it. The fairgrounds committee loved it and is looking forward to making it an annual event, but maybe the guy who loved it most was 2001 PRCA World Champion Bronc Rider, Tom Reeves.

Past PRCA bronc riding champion Tom Reeves helps a student find his form. Building Champions Photo

Past PRCA bronc riding champion Tom Reeves helps a student find his form. Building Champions Photo

For 23 years, the South Dakota cowboy and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe traveled the world making a living with his bronc riding saddle. A few years ago, he knew he wanted to help offer that opportunity to kids with dreams of following in his footsteps.

“Tom and I go way back,” said Sparky Dreesen, owner of J Bar J Pro Rodeo and former professional bareback rider. “When he launched his Building Champions program, I knew it was something I needed to be helping him with.”

“The event in Hardin just made that commitment firmer. I watched kids roll in packed into rigs that were busting at the seams on four tires that had steel cord hanging out of every one of them,” Dreesen said. “Those kids couldn’t have afforded to go to a school they’d have had to pay tuition to. What they lacked in money they made up in dedication, enthusiasm, try and talent. We’re all looking for ways to not just give back to the community we love but to see it grow with cowboys who have a deep passion for riding bucking horses. Tom is doing amazing work and our company is proud to support it.”

The next Building Champions Schools are scheduled for June 14 through 16 in Poplar, Montana, and June 18 through 20 in Mandaree, North Dakota. Clint Corey will be teaching bareback riders and Reeves the bronc riders.

Past PRCA bronc riding champion Tom Reeves helps a student find his form. Building Champions Photo

Past PRCA bronc riding champion Tom Reeves helps a student find his form. Building Champions Photo

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Lori O'Harver is a woman on a mission to tell the stories of the world without borders known as Bronc Riding Nation. From the vast grasslands the great bucking horses call home to the bright lights of Las Vegas, where good ones buck and the people called to ride them come to make their high flying dreams come true, she writes about the horses and people who feel the spirit of freedom and devote their lives to keeping the legends alive.

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