AUGUSTA — If you’ve been to a rodeo anytime in the past half-century, you’ve likely seen some of the Kessler family stock in live action. For more than 70 years now, the Kessler family has supplied bulls and horses to rodeos throughout the United States and parts of Canada.
“My grandfather started the rodeo business in 1946. He loved rodeo, he competed in all the rodeo events,” said Duane Kessler. He had a passion for the sport and from that day forward he decided to start producing rodeos in the state of Montana and rodeoing in Canada.
Duane Kessler took over the family business 30 years ago, but it’s more of a lifestyle for him than a business.
“When you grow up in this business, it gets in your blood,” he said. “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, and that’s how we grew up.”
In the year In late 1994, Duane bought out his grandfather and used his father’s help to expand the business.
“We saw that we were raising more horses on our two ranches and rodeo was in high demand. Soon we were doing rodeos all over the United States and most of the northern Canadian provinces,” he said.
The Kesler family business is in its third generation and is preparing for the next person to take it on. Duane has a 26-year-old son who says he loves the business just as much as he does and will continue to do so for years to come.
The Duane family has hosted the Augusta Rodeo for more than 40 years, and this year it’s keeping up the tradition. The business is technically the reason they’re coming back, but the Kessler family loves Augusta’s energy.
“To me, the Augusta Rodeo and the people who live in this community, this rodeo is without a doubt the greatest rodeo in the state of Montana and by far the entire Northwest. The reputation it has earned and the reason it brings the best cowboys, the highest quality stock and the best rodeo fans you could ask for.
The Augusta rodeo will be held on Sunday, June 25.