The roar of a Sunday crowd - J Bar J will stock CMR Stampede PRCA Rodeo July 21

Thursday, July 11, 2019
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After disposing of his rider, this J Bars J bull decides to take out Waldo also at last year's CMR Stampede PRCA Rodeo.

Photo courtesy of Doreen Heintz

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Bullfighters Hollywood Gittins (left) and Travis Langan look to attract the attention of the J Bar J bull in order for the rider to make it to safety during the 2018 CMR Stampede Rodeo.

Photo courtesy of Doreen Heintz

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Bronc rider Gerald Ash, or Trego, Mont. rides J Bar J bronc River J at last year’s CMR Stampede.

Photo by Melody Montgomery

The allure of the rodeo, and bronc riding, is a common thread woven into Montana’s fiber. The breeding of bucking horses dates back to a Montana horseman in Ekalaka who had a clear vision in the 1930’s.

This man was Chandler Earl ‘Feek’ Tooke. He was also instrumental in starting the Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City, along with other accomplishments. Descendants of his original bucking horse stock are still making their mark today, including at the CMR Stampede rodeo, which will take place in Stanford on Sunday, July 21.

Sparky Dreesen, who operates the pro rodeo stock supplier J Bar J with his wife Marlene Dreesen, will supply riders and audience members with high-quality stock for the CMR Stampede Rodeo. Their bronc horses draw heavily from the Tooke Bloodline (see more on this bloodline below), as well as their own breeding program. Additionally, even one world-ranked rider didn't make 8 seconds on their bull over the Fourth.

“The Stampede Club is a great committee to work with. I have been bringing my stock there for over 15 years,” said Owner Sparky Dreesen.

J Bar J, based in Circle, Mont., is a two-time Remuda Award Winner, the only stock contractor in Montana to achieve this twice.

The Remuda Award is given to Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) stock contractors who produce and provide highest-caliber bucking stock for cowboys to draw from.

“He’s got some of the best stock out there,” said Stampede Club Member Dusty Solomon, to whom the 2018 Stampede Rodeo was dedicated.

Bronc Rider JC DeSaveur agrees. He will compete at the Stampede, after competing in Shelby on July 18th, Baker City, Ore., on the 19th and Napa, Idaho on the 20th. DeSaveur has in eye on J Bar J’s bronc Sweating Bullets.

“It’s a fun day, entertaining and a good rodeo. Plus it has one of the best stock contractors in the PRCA,” said DeSaveur.

Like Tooke, Sparky Dreesen is a visionary in breeding and raising pro rodeo stock. As mentioned, the J Bar J bronc horses are heavily influenced by Tooke bloodlines. Sparky Dressen started raising bucking horses in the 1980s.

“I read the book The X Factor, which is about breeding thoroughbreds. I read it again, and I read it again,” said Dreesen. “With race horses, you’re looking for performance and heart. That’s the same thing for bucking horses.”

The X Factor is a 1997 book by Author Marianna Haun, who died in 2016. In this book, she examines genetic factors contributing to the famed racehorse Secretariat, who still holds the 1973 record for the Triple Crown. Secretariat’s heart was estimated to be two to three times the size of other thoroughbreds. The sire’s heart was average size, leaving Haun to theorize that the enlarged heart was tied to the x-chromosome (i.e., x-factor) from the mare.

Decades earlier, and in another arena, so to speak, Feek Tooke was attempting to do what was then considered unachievable – the breeding of foul-tempered bucking horses.

To honor the Tooke bloodline, J Bar J’s Sparky Dreesen even has a horse he named Tooke’s Pride.

“It’s an awful good horse,” said Dreesen.

The Tooke Bloodline

The Tooke bloodline was started by Feek Tooke, who was inducted into the PRCA Hall of Fame 2008. He died at the young age of 59 in 1968. Feek Tooke has been likened to the Henry Ford of the bucking horse industry.

“People thought he was crazy when he was trying to raise bucking horses, but if he didn’t, we wouldn’t have the stock we have today,” said Tim Tooke, Feek’s grandson, in a conversation with the Judith Basin Press.

“Grandpa had a little vision and a little luck,” he said. “He bought a workhorse that was just too ornery to ride, and bred it to a hot blood mare. [The Tooke bloodline all goes] back to that Arabian colt, Prince.”

Prince was a dark sorrel who stood 17 hands and weighed 1,700 pounds. He was only the son of the sire King, who was kicked by a mare and ruined for stud services. Prince’s mother was a Shire “with a bad disposition that Prince inherited.”

“Last year, 28 of the 30 bucking horses at the final go-round of the 2018 NFR traced back to the Tooke bucking horse,” said Tim Tooke.

In 1968, Feek Tooke won the Top Saddle Bronc Award from the NFR, presented in Oklahoma City, for his horse Sheep Mountain. Tooke, still clutching his crowning achievement, suffered a fatal heart attack.

“He went out of the ring and fell off the back of the horse,” said Tim Tooke. “He was dead when he hit the ground.”

Editor's note: Readers might want to keep an eye out for the documentary coming out by Kent Howie about the Tooke bloodline. It is called 'Feek’s Vision.'

Prize stock coming July 21

Circling back to the CMR Stampede Rodeo, J Bar J’s Sparky Dreesen listed a handful of stock for rodeo goers and riders to keep an eye out.

A notable bronc coming to the Stampede is 394 Big Valley, who has been to the NFR twice.

Big Valley won this past Fourth of July at the 2019 Kildeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo in North Dakota with 87 points.

One of Dreesen’s featured bareback horses is 179 Outcast, who has been to the NFR once and is the daughter of the stud Night Jacket.

Another featured bareback horse coming is 270 Painted Brush, who has been to the NFR seven times and is the son of Night Jacket.

A bull Dreesen suggests keeping an eye out for is 19 Little Big Man, who has also been to the NFR twice.

Little Big Man recently threw off pro-bull rider Stetson Lawrence at the Kildeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo on July 4. Lawrence is currently ranked 15th in the World.

‘The roar of the Sunday Crowd’

Riders may rodeo for the love of the ride, or the “dust and the blood and the roar of a Sunday crowd,” as written by Larry Bastian and recorded by American country music artist Garth Brooks in the song Rodeo, or like Tooke, for the love of rodeo itself.

Still, the NFR would be “the ultimate achievement,” said returning Bronc Rider DeSaveur.

While not all will make it to Las Vegas, the CMR Stampede competitors of all abilities will be sure to entertain audiences for a worthy cause.

Editor’s Note: The Stanford Stampede Club is sponsoring a raffle drawing for tickets to the NFR, which will be drawn after the barrel races.

Rodeo Events

Events include Bareback Riding (sponsored by Zoettis/Stephanie Hedrick), Ladies Barrel Racing (sponsored by Steel Etc.), Bull Riding (sponsored by Steel Etc.), Saddle Bronc Riding (sponsored by Skelton Ranch Company), Steer Wrestling (sponsored by Judith Basin Veterinary Service), Team Roping (sponsored by Joyce Fuel and Feed) and Tie-Down Roping (sponsored by Stockman Insurance).

Kids ages 5 – 8 will participate in Mutton Bustin’ prior to the Ladies Barrel Racing. There are currently 15 confirmed riders, and the club will be taking up to five alternates.

Raffle drawings will be held after the Barrel Racing for tickets to the NFR and a Gun Raffle Drawing, with five guns and five chances to win.


Stampede Club gives back

The rodeo has two purposes – to provide entertainment and to raise funds for causes in Central Montana.

Examples of entities benefiting from the Stampede Club include the Blessings in a Backpack program, the Stanford Beautification Committee, the Stanford Pool, Judith Basin County Free Library, the Windham Community Club, the Raynesford Community Club, the Judith River Senior Center in Hobson, the Judith Basin Senior Center in Stanford, the BINGO Fiesta in Geyser as well as a range of student activities like the BPA club, Close-Up Trip, Central Montana Shootout and the Wildwest Hoop Fest.

“On average, as a club, we are able to donate around $10,000 - $15,000 per year,” said Stampede Club Treasurer Rob Todd.