PARSHALL – The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Rodeo Association held its first year end finals rodeo this past weekend, August 26-27 at Healing Horse Ranch.
“We are very pleased with the first season, especially the finals,” said Northeast Segment, Parshall-Lucky Mound, Tribal Council Representative, Mervin Packineau. “The youth coming out and participating in rodeo and seeing the beginning of their careers has been great.”
Packineau explained that the Indian National Finals Rodeo Association hosts a lot of rodeos, but they are long distances away.
“Jim Baker and I just thought, let’s have our own association. We wanted to bring the segments together from around North Dakota and have rodeos in their back yards, so to speak,” added Packineau.
The Tribal Council representative was right alongside the community and rodeo contestants competing at each rodeo from Twin Buttes to Parshall throughout the summer. Packineau was entered in the team roping, senior team roping and senior breakaway events.
“Our purpose behind forming the MHA Rodeo Association was to promote local rodeo and bring community together by uniting all people to come together and rodeo on the prairie,” explained Jim Baker, Supervisor at Healing Horse Ranch and Treasurer of MHA Rodeo Association.
“This was kind of new territory for us, starting a rodeo association, so we were hit with a lot of questions, but overall, everything went very well, and we have a lot of joyful rodeo contestants and youth participating,” added Baker.
Jodi Bombach, rodeo contestant, said, “These rodeos have been super nice. They are so close to home and the youth get to enter twice in multiple events. It is great for the kids to be able to have the opportunity to rope with some of the professional and higher-level ropers as well. The atmosphere is so great too and it is set up to make the trip worth it for everyone in the family.”
“Kathy Fredericks Johnson and Sadie Young Bird did an excellent job this first season. Some outside help was brought in to help produce the rodeos and they were top notch at their jobs as well and knew what was going on,” said Packineau.
Kathy Fredericks Johnson is the chairman Fox representative working on the MHA Rodeo Committee as Chairman Mark Fox’s representative. She is also on the Twin Buttes Rodeo Committee where she has lifelong roots embedded in the community. Alongside Sadie Young Bird, certified secretary representing Parshall/Lucky Mound and board member, the two ladies are a team with some other committee and community members helping to make the ‘back side’ of the chutes and the arena a success.
“This was such a confidence builder in our rodeo community, especially for the youth. The rough stock riders can get on smaller quality stock and work their way up” said Packineau. “We really want to get the youth and communities back involved with horses and rodeo and this way of life.”
With a jumbotron added to the south end of the arena for contestants and fans to watch themselves, lights to rodeo until dawn, and chutes full of stock-the MHA rodeo association had an incredible first season.
The MHA is hosting an upcoming banquet on October 29 at Four Bears Casino and Lodge for finals awards and to gather and share their plans.