BILLINGS — Brian Anderson’s food bill spiked considerably a couple of weeks ago.

And for good reason.

Copper Spring Ranch in Bozeman, where Anderson is the manager, hosted many of the top steer wrestlers in the world. The top-name cowboys were in town to test drive the CSR’s pen of steers selected for the National Finals Rodeo.

“We fed them and housed them. That’s a lot of bury guys there,” said Anderson with a chuckle.

It is the second year in a row that CSR had its steers selected for the NFR. Anderson trucked 20 steers to the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The group of 20 is among the 60 that will be used during the 10-round Super Bowl of rodeo.

The steers from Montana will be used in the third (Saturday), sixth (Dec. 11) and ninth (Dec. 15) rounds.

“It’s rewarding,” Anderson said. “We work hard to have quality cattle to pick from.”

Anderson said CSR provides steer wrestling cattle for most rodeos in Montana, along with San Antonio, Salt Lake City, the College National Finals Rodeo and the Montana High School Rodeo Association state finals.

The ranch, which also produces two PRCA rodeos each summer, also provides calves and steers for the tie-down roping and team roping events.

Anderson himself is a steer wrestler, which means his phone is constantly blowing up when rodeos approach.

“Guys think I know everything about them,” Anderson with another laugh of the four-legged participants. “And that sometimes is the hardest part of the job. I’ll have 20 guys calling me if I know anything about their steers. Sometimes, I do. And sometimes, I have to tell them they’re out of luck.”

Changing dates

Wanting to find its audience, the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo will be held in conjunction with the Thunder Country Music Festival.

The rodeo, which features the Finals and year-end champions, will now be March 21-24 in 2019.

Previously, the NCFR has been held the first weekend of April.

The three-day music festival and four-day rodeo will be at Osceola Heritage Park, the site of Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida.

The RNCFR has been held in Florida since 2015.

The Thunder Country Music Festival will include concerts by Toby Keith, Luke Combs and Luke Bryan.

Best footing

The Big Sky Pro Rodeo in Great Falls won first place for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and Justin Best Footing Awards for 2018.

Each year, the WPRA and Justin Brands honors the rodeo committees in each of the 12 circuits that went above and beyond to ensure safe ground for the barrel racing horses.

Committees receive cash bonuses for the awards.

The Livingston Roundup was second in the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit and the Labor Day Rodeo in White Sulphur Springs was third.

The Most Improved award was shared by the Home of Champions Rodeo in Red Lodge and the Cascade Pro Rodeo.

Together again

One of the richest rodeos in the United States is back with the PRCA.

Officials from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the PRCA announced a new multi-year partnership.

The earnings from RodeoHouston will now count in the world standings. Previously, RodeoHouston was a non-sanctioned event.

RodeoHouston Super Series is a 19-day tournament style rodeo. It also produces a one-day Super Shootout. Money won at the Super Shootout will not count in the standings.

The partnership will begin for the 2019 season.

This past year, Edgar’s Parker Breding won the bull riding for more than $57,000.

Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

Sports writer at the Billings Gazette

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