Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame - Billings
The Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame organization began with a conversation between two area residents, former rodeo-rider and announcer Lyle Graves and noted western artist R. F. (Ron) Rains. The conversation led to the formation of the Yellowstone Cowboy Arts & Bronze Committee in 1998, comprised of well known local individuals with strong ties to Montana's western heritage. The YCABC vision was to produce a monument site to recognize individuals who had contributed to the western heritage of Montana. It was agreed that Billings native Dan Mortensen, who at that time had already achieved five PRCA world titles, should be the model for the sculpture that would become the focal point of the site. The years of planning began.
After years of work and fund-raising, the monument was dedicated October 16, 2002. The spectacular 18' bronze, seemingly defying gravity, balances atop an impressive sandstone base. The sculpture was created by noted western artist R. F. Rains and was his last major work. Rains died just six months after the unveiling of the Mortensen bronze in October 2002.
A curved, brick and granite Wall of Fame, showcasing the names of Montana's Champion rodeo cowboys and cowgirls frames the bronze statue. The completed project is complemented by beautiful landscaping and features, and illuminated American and Montana flags. The monument site is well lighted and can be viewed twenty-four hours a day.
An additional brick and granite wall has now been constructed listing the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Champions, Montana Pro Rodeo competitors who have qualified for the National Finals Rodeo, Montana Pro Rodeo Queens, Montana Rodeo Committees and Personnel.. The new wall was nearly completed before the tornado ripped through the site in June 2010. Both the original wall and the newly constructed wall sustained damage, as well as the landscaping. Fortunately the statue was undamaged by the tornado. A large number of the granite brand block displayed on the exterior wall of the MetraPark Arena were damaged as well and will be replaced when access to the site is possible. The new wall was funded by the sale of granite brand blocks engraved with Montana ranch brands. These blocks can be purchased by anyone wishing to have their Montana brand displayed in perpetuity near the monument site. They are being placed on the exterior wall of the MetraPark Arena. For more information, call 406-256-6515.
It is located at the entrance to the MetraPark Arena in Billings, Montana. Thousands of people each year enjoy this tribute to Montana's rich rodeo tradition.
The "Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame Scholarship Endowment" was later established to benefit Montana youth who participate in high school rodeo and wish to further their education. These scholarships are primarily funded by the sale of replica bronzes, contributions, and proceeds from the Annual Cowboy & Cowgirl Reunion and Scholarship fundraiser, held the last Saturday in January. To date, the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame has awarded over $200,000 in scholarship money over the past six years represented by twelve $3,000 scholarships each year. Miss Rodeo Montana receives a $2.000 scholarship and $1.000 is awarded to the Montana High School Rodeo queen.