RODEO CHAMP

Montana PRCA Year-End All-Around Winner Luke Gee
Thursday, February 4, 2021
RODEO CHAMP

John Gee (riding) hazes for his son Luke (right). John steer wrestled into his 50s and keeps his PRCA card active to help keep steers running straight for his son. Photo courtesy of Jackie Jensen Photography

RODEO CHAMP

Luke Gee on Brookman Rodeos Tall Timber at the Montana Pro Rodeo Finals. Photo courtesy of Jackie Jensen Photography

Luke Gee of Stanford last competed at the 42nd Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Kalispell mid-January where the Montana Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association named him the Year-End All-Around Champion for 2020.

This award is based on whoever wins the most money during the rodeo season in two or more events, which is a requirement for qualifying for the All-Around. Luke is a steer wrestler and bull rider.

As a reward for winning the 2020 Montana All-Around, Luke received prize money, a saddle, a buckle, but maybe more importantly, the honor of receiving the award.

There are 12 PRCA circuits in the nation, and Montana is its own circuit.

“The circuits can be thought of as a reward for the guys who stay closer to home,” said Luke, who works at his family’s business, Green Giant Feed Lot in Stanford.

In Kalispell, Luke placed second in the first round of bull riding, scoring 86 points on Vold Rodeo stock contractor’s bull Crazy Daisy.

Luke is competing Friday, Feb. 5, at the PRCA Rodeo in Rapid City, S.D.

He will then go onto Jackson, Miss. to compete in the Dixie National Rodeo, Feb. 11 – 17, then to the Georgia National Rodeo in Perry, Ga. Feb. 18 – 20, and then the 146th Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla.

“Whenever I see Luke’s name on the day sheet, I know it will be a great rodeo and that he is going to do his best at both ends of the arena,” said Lewistown-based professional photographer Jackie Jensen, who travels to photograph rodeos.

Luke started riding bulls when he was 14-years old. He has been steer wrestling for even longer.

What Luke finds to be key to success in his events is staying relaxed, loose and hustling, he said.

Gee Family Rodeo Legacy

Rodeo is a big part of the Gee family.

Luke’s grandpa, the recently late John “Doc” Gee, was involved in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) before starting his veterinary practice in Stanford in August 1963.

Like Luke, Doc was bull rider and steer wrestler; Doc also rode bareback. Doc won the NIRA twice. He was one of Montana’s first circuit champs.

“In 1979, when they started the Montana PRCA circuit, grandpa was the first circuit champ. He won it in steer wrestling,” said Luke.

While he continued to bull dog, Doc retired from the sport of bull riding at the “ripe old age of 29” when he married JoAnn in 1964, he said in a previous interview with the Judith Basin Press.

Still, Doc continued to steer wrestle into his 40s.

The couple's son John, Luke’s dad, steer wrestled into his 50s.

Luke is now 30-years old and not sure how many years more he will continue to ride bulls, but envisions himself steer wresting for some time to come, like his dad and grandpa.

Luke’s dad, John Jr., won the Montana PRCA Average in steer wrestling in 1995, which is the best of the average of the three times/ rounds.

John keeps his PRCA card active. In steer wrestling events, John hazes for Luke, which helps keep the steer running straight.

Luke’s siblings, too, rodeo. His older brother Caleb rode bulls and steer wrestled. His sister Meghan is a barrel racer.

Luke’s biggest fans

Given the rich history of rodeo that runs though the Gee family, it is interesting to consider the reaction of friends and family members watching Luke compete in the risky sport of rodeo.

“I’ve broken a lot of bones, but I got healed up fast,” said Luke. “Mom gets pretty worried about the bull riding, but it’s better now that I wear a helmet.”

Luke’s mother, Lisa, describes herself as a city girl from Miles City before she married John. She was not active in rodeo growing up, and had mostly ridden horses at Chico Hot Springs, she said with a laugh. Considering the Gee’s rich history in rodeo, Lisa adjusted to the sport of rodeo.

“You learn to embrace it and pray a lot. I stick by Luke and know he is enjoying his life as God intended it,” said Lisa.

Recently in Kalispell, a bull named ‘Fun Hater’ gave Luke a ‘little hook’ after he finished his ride. He termed the clowns’ roles as “shooting the gap” - to get the attention off the rider. This time, it did not work out as well.

“The bull launched me into the bucking chute, but it didn’t hurt,” said Luke.

“The rodeo clowns are really important. They make the difference between going onto compete or getting laid up and going home,” said Luke. “If you do not notice them, then they are doing their job.”

Luke’s girlfriend Odessa, who rodeoed up until high school, travels with him to many rodeos. She said she is usually behind the video camera.

“That takes away some of the anxiety. It’s fun to watch him and cheer him on,” she said. “My brother rode bulls, so that acclimated me.”

Of Luke’s year-end champion crown, Odessa said, “It was exciting. He has worked really hard at both events. It was good to see him rewarded.”

Luke’s father agrees.

“It’s something he’s strived or and has came close to achieving two or three times already, so I was glad to see him win the All-Around this year,” said John. “He worked hard for it.”

Category: