Miles City Bucking Horse Sale: Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

The Miles City Bucking Horse Sale will be lacking two acquainted faces this calendar year, as equally Invoice Harding and Lavetta Weeding passed absent.
Bill Harding & Lavetta Weeding

A Bucking Horse Sale Tribute to Bill Harding & Lavetta Weeding

It had been a stunning weekend. Temperatures in the mid 70s for the third weekend in Might experienced a way of placing smiles on faces. The odor of dust, liquor and sweaty horses crammed the air that hung upon the jap Montana fairgrounds. The 2021 Planet Well known Miles Town Bucking Horse sale shattered the previous ticket sales document. Right after a cancellation in 2020 because of to COVID-19, spirits ended up higher at the “Cowboy Mardi Gras.” Aged friends were reunited, and tales were being advised as attendees seemed keen to press past the doom and gloom of 2020. As the ultimate checks were handed out and the very last horses loaded on to the trailers, Bill Harding jokingly instructed his longtime good friend Lavetta Weeding, “I imagine it’s time that we both equally retire, we’re obtaining as well aged for this.”

Only God would know that when they remaining the fairgrounds on that Sunday night that it would be their very last Bucking Horse Sale.

As the result of a horse-connected accident at the family ranch northwest of Miles City, Invoice handed absent the weekend pursuing the 2021 Bucking Horse Sale. Lavetta handed away unexpectedly on October 29, 2021. The two longtime good friends, who some would explain as “two peas in a pod,” put in numerous hrs devoting their time and skills to the Bucking Horse Sale. Former govt secretary Nyoka Twitchell stated, “I in truth really don’t know how this display can go on with out them. They were both equally so instrumental.”



A indigenous of Miles City, Montana, Bill Harding devoted 41 several years to operating the Bucking Horse Sale as an staff of the Miles Town Livestock Commission, a situation that his father, grandfather and two sons, Matt and Jimmy, have all held with admiration. Invoice bought his feet soaked working at the sale barn, following carefully behind his father, D.L. He legally started off earning a paycheck from MCLC in 1978. As the unofficial “yard foreman” (a title that he refused to get), Bill took good satisfaction in working together with mentors and close friends this sort of as Doug Wall, Walt Secrest, and Scorio Dolatta. Each Tuesday, rain or shine, Invoice was at the sale barn.

His appreciation for his co-personnel and the volunteers that he worked with at the sale barn and Bucking Horse Sale was paramount, and they ended up like family members. He took a “very choose crew” to assist with the Bucking Horse Sale obligations. Lorin Larsen, Randy Pluhar, Kyle Shaw, Derek Pierce and son, Jimmy Harding were being regarded as his “right hand adult males.” Every little thing that took place powering the bucking chutes was Bill’s obligation, a duty that he loved. For ten times a year in May, Invoice worked tirelessly at the fairgrounds. “You have to give again to your group,” was what he would explain to his wife of 38 years, Roxanne.



Roxanne managed the beer gross sales during the functions and would also cook lunches for the crew and provide supper in the evenings at the sale barn. No subject how late he had to operate into the evening, Invoice liked every minute of it. Bill made friendships with and was very revered among the viewing stock contractors. Owning labored behind the chutes for 40+ decades, he was acknowledged to hold the clearly show running smoothly and horses flowing in and out of chutes with simplicity. He was honored to have labored the sale with 3 generations of Lingers: Sonny, Pat and Ty. He observed excellent joy in looking at Cal Davison pull gates. “He just cherished the folks he worked with,” Roxanne remembers.

One of Bill’s favourite duties at the sale was choosing the eliminator pen for the well known Wild Horse Races. You better have your hat cranked down if you ended up up in the initial or second session on Saturday, for the reason that that was exactly where Monthly bill put the eliminator horses.

Not only did Monthly bill perform at the rear of the scenes, he also picked up the wild horse race in 2021. Buying up was a person of Bill’s most loved hobbies, as he would pick up at place rodeos and ranch rodeos, in addition to judging a lot of ranch rodeos across Montana. A legitimate cowboy, with a heart made for assisting some others, Bill was normally fast to assistance a kid out and root for the underdog. Roxanne recalled various times that Bill would phase up and deal with entry charges for youngsters that could not afford to pay for to enter.  His finest treasures had been his spouse and children and the mates that he manufactured along the way. A person of his closest good friends was a lady from Jordan, Montana named Lavetta Weeding.

Paying out most of her existence in jap Montana, Lavetta Weeding was improved known as “Rodeo Mom” to various little ones throughout Montana and the Dakotas. As a ranch wife and mother very first, with a deep appreciation for rodeo, she begun her secretary obligations at the Bucking Horse Sale in 2007 and continued just about every yr with a smile on her confront. Whether or not it was tending to secretary duties at Large College, YRA, Ranch Rodeos or the Bucking Horse Sale, Lavetta had an encouraging existence. “You would never meet up with a kinder girl,” Roxanne Harding stated about her pricey good friend. “She took her occupation severely and she was best notch. Incredibly qualified.” Lavetta and Bill labored side by aspect for numerous many years at the Bucking Horse Sale. “When I needed to come across Bill, I would just look for Lavetta,” Roxanne laughed.

With humor and cheerfulness Lavetta would commence her Bucking Horse Sale duties on May 1 of each calendar year, when cellphone entries opened. She would anxiously sit by her cellphone taking entries for bucking horses, bulls, mutton busting and her favorite event, the wild horse races. “She lived for that,” claimed her spouse of 47 years, Doug. “It was anything she seemed ahead to every solitary year.”

Lavetta did not know the cowboys as “entries,” she understood them as family. Lavetta understood each person that walked by way of the doorway of the rodeo secretary’s business by title and formulated this sort of friendships with the riders that just one wild horse racer graciously awarded Lavetta the championship buckle he gained. Lavetta completed all her secretary work with a pencil. She hardly ever utilized a computer and figured all the payouts longhand. “She could get the job done calmly under pressure and never get mad at everyone when there would be full chaos going on,” mentioned Nyoka Twitchell. Nyoka remembers Lavetta insisting on possessing a thoroughly clean rodeo business office. “She would cleanse that business for hrs ahead of a person particular person stepped in the doorway.”

Lavetta’s adore for rodeo and ranch rodeos was evident. She and her partner, Doug followed the rodeo trail for a lot of decades with their children, Clint, Jennifer and Chantz, and more recently relished seeing their grandkids contend. Doug and Lavetta’s dwelling arena at the ranch in Jordan was usually open to any young up and comers that preferred to follow. The pair usually had cattle and were being keen to support young children that ended up hungry to master or fantastic their party. They had been recognized for welcoming children to jump in with them to haul to rodeos across the state as they usually experienced a trailer heading. Lavetta and Doug never turned down helping or hauling youngsters that required to rodeo.

Above the put together 55 years of company that Bill and Lavetta gave to the Bucking Horse Sale, they usually joked that they were never ever capable to sit down and in fact view the party. Although tremendously missed, as the 2022 Bucking Horse Sale kicks off, Invoice and Lavetta will eventually be ready to get pleasure from viewing the production–from the best grandstand in the sky.