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Three Forks Rodeo Brings the Crowds

Longtime Three Forks Rodeo Arena Board member Gene Townsend has helped run the concessions at the annual NRA Rodeo for over 20 years.

Townsend can remember a time when organizers would be satisfied with the attendance of 900 people on a Friday night and 1,200 to 1,300 on Saturday. After the event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Townsend was worried about what the crowd would be like when the event returned in 2021. He was more than surprised with the record-setting attendance and laughed when saying he did not thaw enough hamburger patties for the first night.

"To look out there and see that place packed with people was pretty awesome. It was like, holy crap, where did all these people come from. That first night we had 3,500 to 3,600 people. That was quite a difference from the 900 we got years ago," said Townsend. "People were ready; they wanted to get out and socialize and have a good time."

With large crowds again in 2022 and the growth in the Gallatin Valley, Townsend is again expecting a big turnout for this year's Three Forks NRA Rodeo scheduled for July 14 and 15.

"I think it will continue to grow. We will keep expanding and improving as much as we can. The Three Forks Rodeo is known as a place for people to come out and have a good time. People really support the rodeo, and it's a good time for the town," Townsend said.

The Three Forks NRA Rodeo is scheduled for Friday, July 14, and Saturday, July 15, with action scheduled to begin on both nights at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids, and can be purchased at the event or online at Gates will open at 6 p.m. on both nights.

July 14 is family night at the rodeo, with kids 12 and under getting in free with an adult with a canned food or cash donation for the Headwaters Area Food Bank.

The Rodeo Dayz celebration will officially start on Thursday, July 13, with the Farmer’s Market and Three Forks Chamber of Commerce Stick Horse Derby. The market will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the derby is scheduled for 5 p.m. Both events are at John Q. Adams Milwaukee Railroad Park.

On Friday, July 14, First Security Bank is hosting its annual Community Appreciation BBQ from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Street Dance is scheduled on July 14 at 8:30 p.m.

A busy July 15 will start with the annual Three Forks Volunteer Fire Department Annual Pancake Breakfast scheduled from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the fire hall. The Rodeo Dayz Street Fair, with a theme of "Go the Extra Mile," will occur on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year's parade is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m., and a Magic Show will take place around 1 p.m. in front of the office of the Chiropractic Clinic of Three Forks.

Following the July 15 rodeo at 7 p.m., the week's celebration will conclude with the Street Dance starting at 8:30 p.m.