Rodeo Bullfighter Program First of Ranching Speaker Series

RayAnsotegui, bullfighter. Image by Neubauer Photo.

RayAnsotegui, bullfighter. Image by Neubauer Photo.

The Yellowstone Gateway Museum announces its fall speaker series, A Ranching Roundup: Story and Song, beginning Wednesday, October 2. The first program is “Bulls, Bruises, & Brotherhood: Stories of a Rodeo Bullfighter,” presented by Ray Ansotegui, rodeo bullfighter. 7:00 pm, Park Photo, 115 S. Main St., Livingston. 

Raymond Ansotegui will give a presentation about the art of working with bulls in the rodeo arena in order to protect bull riders. He will cover some bullfighting history and how it has evolved through time as well as the training required to become a bullfighter. Raymond will share the philosophical side of moving energy and keeping the flow, including the mental and physical requirements needed to control fear and how to cultivate a willingness to sacrifice oneself for that of another. Program attendees will learn about the community and family of rodeo athletes and the brotherhood of men who are willing to do whatever it takes to get a bull rider safely to the fence. 

The program includes professional photographs that capture Raymond, the bull, and the bull rider during tense moments in the arena. He promises to tell stories of good, old-fashioned wrecks.

Raymond was born and raised in Livingston, and grew up around cattle. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Abused Land Rehabilitation at Montana State University and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Management at Arizona State. Ray moved back to MT in 2008 and started bullfighting when he was thirty-three years old—a paid hobby that kept him busy between twenty and forty-five nights per year. Raymond recently retired after eleven years in the arena. He quipped that he “earned enough money for gas and stitches.” Raymond worked at Arlee’s 4th of July Rodeo for five years, and bull riders in the Roughrider Rodeo Association personally chose him during his last four years to serve as bullfighter for the finals.

Other programs include Treasure State Tycoon: Nelson Story and the Making of Montana by author John C. Russell on October 16. Russell recounts the remarkable life of Nelson G. Story, a colorful and contradictory figure whose influence on Montana’s development was profound and rivaled by few others in its history. “A Pure Quill Montana Photographer” by Barbara Van Cleve on October 30 includes stories of her career taking photographs of the western range, ranchers, rodeo, cowboys, and cattle women. Barbara grew up on a ranch near Big Timber. Neal Lewing presents “The F.A.R.M. Show,” a Farm and Ranch Musical tribute on November 13—a fast-paced family-friendly show using music, poetry, history, legends, lies and a few laughs to celebrate the myriad aspects of agriculture through the ages.

“Rancher. Citizen Activist. Montana 1997,” an exhibit of black and white photographs will be at Park Photo during the speaker series, featuring photography by John Gayusky. He photographed nine ranches from Sweet Grass County to Circle in eastern Montana, documenting what inspired and motivated ranchers and their involvement in natural resource and agricultural policy making. The ranchers were members of the Northern Plains Resource Council.

Watch for more information about upcoming programs, visit our Facebook page, yellowstonegatewaymuseum, or contact Karen Reinhart at 222-4184 or kreinhart@parkcounty.org.  

Photographer and author Barbara Van Cleve

Photographer and author Barbara Van Cleve

Musician Neal Lewing

Musician Neal Lewing

Russell.color

Author John Russell