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Rodeo clown takes on downtown Kalispell

FLATHEAD COUNTY

Rodeo clown takes on downtown Kalispell

KALISPELL, Mont. - Jason Dent, also known as Whistle-Nut, rode his bull, Ole, through downtown Kalispell Friday.

Ole is an 8-year-old bucking bull that Dent retrained to ride. The Iowa resident has even skied behind him.

At 12:45 p.m. Friday, Dent took Ole on a joyride to bring attention to the Montana High School Rodeo State Finals. Dent is working as a rodeo clown at the Majestic Valley Arena this week.

"The more people that come through that door, the better perks that those kids get for being here," said Dent.

Dent started out as a bull rider, but five years ago, a contractor asked him to give rodeo clowning a try.

For Dent, clowning involves entertaining, bull riding and stepping in during mishaps. This summer, Whistle-Nut and Ole have booked 42 events.

"I sleep in my trailer," said Dent. "Go to a rodeo, go to the next one, and if I've got five, six, seven, eight days, I just run home."

Dent has managed to make a career out of an expensive sport.

"Boots are expensive," said Dent. "Hats are expensive, belts. I mean, everything for cowboys is getting ridiculously expensive."

Horse trailers don't come cheap, either. Those with living quarters can cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

For many, rodeo is a sport they wouldn't want to live without. Celie Salmond has been competing for years.

"It's sometimes a lot of work because you have to train the horse to do what you want," said Salmond, who lives in Choteau. "And you always have to take care of them, but to me that's just part of it. I like doing that, too."

Dent says it's all part of being a cowboy.

"Cowboys (are) here for life," said Dent. "They've got a good way about them, and it's just good fun to watch."

The Montana High School Rodeo State Finals championships will be held at the Majestic Valley Arena Sunday.


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