Leighton Berry, of Weatherford, Texas, finishes with 81.5 points aboard Gargamel in the bareback riding at the Yellowstone River Round-Up on Friday night.

BILLINGS — Most weekends, Ryan Siemsen can be found at a rodeo somewhere in the state, competing with his children Tylie and Royce.

But not Friday night.

Friday night was dad’s night at the PRCA Yellowstone River Round-Up.

The former multi-time Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit and Northern Rodeo Association champion has returned to the arena after stepping away for a few years.

“We got busy with the kids and got in the middle of all their stuff,” said the 41-year-old Huntley cowboy. “And truthfully, I was burned out a little bit. It got to the point where I didn’t put in the effort that I wanted to put into it.”

Siemsen showed plenty of try on Friday, posting a time of 14.5 seconds on calf that weaved his way down the arena.

“After not competing a couple of years, it’s nice to have those nerves again,” he said.

Siemsen estimates he’s been competing at the MontanaFair Rodeo for 30 years, first when it was sanctioned with the NRA and now with in its 10th year sanctioned by the PRCA.

“Oh my gosh, that’s kind of insane. Thirty years,” he said.

There were lead changes in three events in the second performance. Utah bull rider Josh Frost went 87 points on Fireball Flannigan, while Chase Brooks of Deer Lodge moved to the front of saddle bronc riding with 86 points on Cat in the Hat. Hallie Hansen of South Dakota is the new leader in barrel racing with a run of 17.25 seconds.

The rodeo concludes with a 7 p.m. performance on Saturday.

Siemsen has a combined (year-end, Finals) five all-around, five tie-down roping and one team roping championship during his Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit career. He also won two all-around titles and three in tie-down roping in the NRA.

Along with his supporting his children’s endeavors, Siemsen had another good reason for his arena absence.

“I had a stroke three years ago,” he explained. “That knocked a gear out of me.”

Siemsen was helping his daughter with her school homework when he was struck.

“I tipped plum over,” he recalled. “My speech went bad. I came out of it three hours later. Physically, it didn’t take a whole lot out of me.”

As his children began roping, his competitive fire was re-lit.

He came to his hometown rodeo ninth in the MPRC standings and leading the NRA tie-down roping standings, by more than double the nearest competitor.

“I had a nice horse, seven years old and not getting used,” Siemsen said. “So I got my PRCA card again.”

All three Siemsens have qualified for the NRA Finals this October in Kalispell.

“That’s the funnest thing, being there with my kids,” said the father.

And Siemsen said he’s changed since returning to rodeo competition.

“I have mellowed,” he said.

“A little,” Siemsen finished.

In other events: Tanner Baldwin of Arizona and New Mexico’s Nano Garza put up a time of 4.5 seconds to move into second place for team roping, while Brady Tryan of Huntley and partner Clay Futrell slid into third place with a 5.1-second run. Hardin’s Trevin Baumann is third in tie-down roping after going 10 seconds.

Canadian Pascal Isabelle went 85.5 points on Irish Eyes to move into second place for bareback riding.

Brady Boyce of Belgrade’s 4.8 seconds was best among the steer wrestlers while Cole Patterson of Kansas took over the average lead for steer roping.

Email Joe Kusek at or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

Sports writer at the Billings Gazette

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