Distinctly Montana published my article “Tales of the Belgrade Bull” in its Spring 2016 issue. It’s the boisterous tale about the son of a Holstein dairy cow that nobody could ride. The bull was “discovered” on a ranch north of Belgrade, Montana, where he learned to buck off children who attempted to ride him after Sunday school. When a threshing crew member mounted him as a full-grown bull in the fall of 1892, it set off a series of wild rides.
An enterprising pair of brothers bought the bull, took him to Belgrade and offered a $25 reward to anyone who could stay on him. Soon cowboys were coming for hundred of miles to try try their luck — only to be sent sprawling.
By 1894 the Belgrade Bull’s fame had spread and he went on tour to Anaconda, Butte and Helena where he took on all challengers. A wild west show bought bought him and took him back east. The show went broke in Indiana and sold the bull to a farmer. Apparently, the bull lived out his days as a herd sire.
I became interested in the story of Belgrade Bull when Ann Butterfield showed me a letter she found in the research collections of the Pioneer Museum in Bozeman. Ann, who was then associate director of the museum, thought maybe I could write an article based on it. I love piecing together stories out of the detritus of the past, so I decided to give it a try.
The bull has been legendary around Belgrade for more than a hundred years and soon I was buried under a treasure trove of newspaper clippings, letters and reminiscences. From them, I assembled an article that was published in the Spring 2009 issue of The Pioneer Museum Quarterly (now The Gallatin History Museum Quarterly). You can read the unabridged version that appeared there on this blog. Begin with Part 1 and follow the links.
You can read the Distinctly Montana version on the link above, but I urge to you buy the magazine. It’s easier to read, and the double-page illustration looks much better. You could get a copy of the longer version by buying a copy of Spring 2009 issue of The Pioneer Museum Quarterly at the Gallatin History Museum, 317 West Main, in Bozeman, MT.
- You might also like Distinctly Montana’s version of my article “Yankee Jim Tangles with Rudyard Kipling.”