Let’s go to a rodeo….

We left Lolo Springs in the morning and headed towards Missoula. It was labor day Monday and we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We stopped for gas and a man wearing overalls, a plaid shirt and straw hat asked me if the Red Sox were going to win the World Series… I told him I didn’t know we’d just have to wait and see. “Your a long ways from home,” he said. “Yup I am – but Montana’s a pretty nice place to be away from home…” “It sure is.” I asked him if there were any good places that we should visit. He told me if I had a map that he would show me. So I went in to pay and when I got back he already had his map out on the hood of his car. He pointed out Helmville on the map and said that there was a Labor Day rodeo out there, “a bunch of locals… you’ll have a great time.” Funny he should mention a rodeo because Danne and I had it on our list of things to do out west.

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So we drove an hour up a long mountain road which brought us to Helmville – population 200 but had at least 800 people there at the rodeo if not more. Danne and I were certainly not from around there – driving our honda with roof racks and were easily recognizable for being so… but we didn’t care. We scoped it out and found ourselves a seat to watch some cowgirls do barrel racing. It was amazing to watch these women with their bodies flowing and legs flying out at their sides, so in tune with the horse. They were moving. I looked around and saw the most picturesque mountains engulfing this field at 360 degrees. It couldn’t have been any better. We also saw some bucking rides, children riding sheep and lassoing. We just stood there for a while trying to take it all in. We moved over by the cowboys to get a better look. They were auctioning off the top 6 for the bull riding. They were hometown heroes here and you could feel it. We left before the bull racing but felt like we had a chance to really soak it all in. So we headed to the car and said goodbye to the rodeo.. and made our way down towards Ennis.

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Ennis was a really cool cute town – lots of rustic shops, cafes and saloons. We were looking for camping before the sun set of the day. We couldn’t find it. So we stopped in town and asked a local. It wasn’t a mile away over the Madison River. We found it – a quaint little spot by the river nestled in some trees. We got camp set up in record time and began prepping for garbanzo/spinach dinner which came out quite tasty I must say. We cracked open a few pale ales from the Madison River Brewing Co. and cheered to our adventure. I noticed that the design on the label looked a lot like where we were camping – then I realized it was where we were camping – on the Madison River. It was really cool. Danne and I spent the night talking about relationships.. with friends, family and lots of things in between. It was really nice to have someone to sit across from me and understand and listen to me. Already we had this great connection and I valued it a lot sitting there with her on the windy evening by the river. So we got ready for bed and snuggled in the tent trying to rid our bodies of the cold river air…

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