KALISPELL — Caden Camp got by with a little help from his friends.
Riding borrowed horses in two of his three events, Camp blazed his way through the Northern Rodeo Association/Northern Women’s Rodeo Association Finals for his first all-around cowboy title.
Competing in steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping, the Belgrade cowboy won almost $6,000 to be the NRA’s top hand for 2021.
Camp’s rousing performance was one of many during the three performances, Oct. 28-30, at a full Majestic Valley Arena.
The 47th annual NRA/NWRA Finals concluded the Mountain Health Co-op Tour and helped determine the year-end champions. The top 10 in each event qualified for the organization’s showcase event.
“Speechless,” said Camp after collecting his championship saddle and buckle.
Camp entered the Finals sixth in all three of his events and third in the all-around standings behind Sam Levine of Wolf Creek and Bozeman’s Brice Patterson.
Camp finished with $13,805 in 2021, the most of any competitor.
Camp vaulted to the all-around lead with a spectacular second performance, placing first in both steer wrestling and tie-down roping and fourth in team roping with partner Delon Parker of Two Dot.
“I didn’t have a very good start. I was pretty mad,” Camp said. “I was surprised I did so well. I felt pretty good after Friday. I knew I had a chance to win the all-around.”
Camp finished second in the final standings in both steer wrestling and tie-down roping and seventh among team roping headers.
Other year-end champions were: Celie Salmond, all-around cowgirl, breakaway roping; Brice Patterson, bareback; Andrew Evjene, saddle bronc; Kobe Whitford, bull riding; Cole Detton, steer wrestling; Coltin Rauch, tie-down roping; Ian Austiguy, team roping heading; Sam Levine, team roping heeling; Abby Knight, barrel racing.
Joining Camp as a first-time champions were Salmond, Patterson, Whitford, Detton, Rauch, Austiguy and Knight.
Whitford, won the first round with an 85.5-point ride, the high mark of the Finals. It was good enough to also place second in the average and lift him to first place.
Patterson, won the bareback title by a scant $1.19 over Sam Petersen.
Knight had the most dominant performance of the weekend, winning all three rounds and the average. She was second in 2015 and fourth in 2020 and 2017.
Detton finished first, second and shared first to win the average and rocket from seventh to first in the steer wrestling standings. He was also the Finals champion.
Evjene also won the saddle bronc title in 2018. It is the fourth team roping championship for Levine.
Camp rode Bernie, the NRA steer wrestling horse of the year owned by Walt Anseth of Helena. Anseth was also Camp’s hazer. The new champion also borrowed Peachtree, owned by 2020 NRA champion Jade Gardner of Winnett, in tie-down roping.
“I called Jade and he said, ‘You are always welcome to use my horse,’ “Camp, who rode his own horse Cash for team roping, said. “I raised and trained that horse. He’s 13 and I’ve had him for 13 years.
“I’ve got to give a big thank you to Delon Parker. He’s the one who got me here.”
Camp paid Anseth and Gardner 25% of his winnings in each event for the loaned horsepower.
“We always say 75% is better than no percent,” Camp said with a big smile.
Salmond of Choteau, was the only double winner of the year. The first-grade teacher in Augusta led from start to finish, from the season opener in Conrad to the conclusion in Kalispell.
“That was the goal from the start of the season,” Salmond, who also competed in barrel racing over the summer, said of the all-around. “I’d say I had a pretty good season.”
Salmond won the breakaway roping in four of the first five rodeos of 2021 and separated herself from the rest of the field by winning $1,943 in both events Labor Day weekend.
“That last weekend, I told myself I need to put some space between us,” she said of herself and the rest of the field.
Salmond rode Hot Shot during the Finals, winning the first round and place third in the second, third and the average to add another $2,241 to her total.
Salmond’s $10,461 in breakaway roping was the most won in a single event, male or female.
The other Finals winners were: Sam Petersen, bareback; Tyler Friend, saddle bronc; Payton Fitzpatrick, bull riding; Ben Ayre, tie-down roping; Miles Kobold, team roping header; Riley Wilson, team roping heeler; Bella Fossum, breakaway roping.
Fitzpatrick, the only bull rider to post two rides, climbed from 10th to second in the final standings.
Year-end junior events winners were: Payton Levine, all-around, breakaway roping; and Brooke Billingsley, barrel racing.
Junior Finals champions were: Ryle Lytle, breakaway roping; and Brielle Zempel, barrel racing.
The Mountain Health Co-op Tour sponsored 28 rodeos across Montana and featured competitors from nine different states and Canada.