BILLINGS – A team roping competition started as a time of mourning for a family who lost a son and a brother is still going strong more than 15 years later.
The Indian Three Irons Memorial at Millers Horse Palace brought together family, friends and competitors.
The three-day event is in memory of Clarence “Indian” Three Irons, who was a Crow Tribal member and died in a car crash in Nov. of 2002.
Team Ropers from around the country and Canada competed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s pretty special for my family, putting on this roping with Dennis Tryan since we lost my youngest boy,” said Clarence Three Irons, Sr.
“This one really touches our heart,” said Tryan, Wrangler Team Roping Championships owner. “This is one of our favorite ropings. Of the 60 events we do, put this one right at the top of the list.”
The competition draws people from all over the country and it’s been very good for friends and family of Indian Three Irons.
“Not every roping is this big,” Tryan said. “This one is big and it’s mainly they’re coming because basically give the Three Irons a hug and we want to be here for you.”
And they all say Indian could have been a pro.
“His best friend, they were like brothers, Casey Cummins,” Cameron Three Irons said about his brother Indian. “He was just as good as him, maybe better. “
Cameron also compared professional team ropers the Tryans, Clay and Travis.
The Tryan’s father Dennis, said Indian had the talent.
“ Oh he was as good as them,” Tryan said.
“He had a good personality,” Cameron said. “He treated people well. He was a very respectable young man. “
“How to be a gentleman and respect family members and horsemanship, yes sir,” said Rope Three Irons, Indian’s nephew.
“Everybody healed a little bit over the years,” Tryan said.”Turned more into a celebration of his life.”
“It’s exciting for us,” Clarence said. “Give us a good happy feeling.”
During the three days of competition, about 250 riders formed 1,604 roping teams for the Indian Three Irons Memorial.