Kootenai River Rodeo to feature specialty acts
By Heidi Desch, Western News Intern
The Kootenai River Rodeo will feature a demonstration of horse archery as its specialty act on July 30-31.
Patrick Stoddard of Libby and his horse Diablo star in the show that takes place in conjunction with the PRCA rodeo that starts at 6 p.m. both nights.
One of the highlights of the show is when Stoddard, also known as Many Dogs, hits several stationary and moving targets with arrows all while riding on the back of a galloping horse.
³One of the hardest things is knocking arrows while riding,² Stoddard said. ³It took me years to learn that.²
He also demonstrates his abilities with a lance, sword and tomahawk.
During the show, he uses a saber to cut cantaloupe from stakes and from his assistant¹s hand.
³It¹s definitely the most unique little act in the U.S., there¹s nothing quite like it,² Stoddard said.
Stoddard has been practicing and training his horse for 12 years. He adopted Diablo as a wild mustang through the Bureau of Land Management¹s adopt a horse program.
³My mustang is really a ham in front of the audience,² he said.
Stoddard rides Diablo without stirrups, using an Indian pad saddle. He has trained his horse to allow him to ride without using a halter and steer with just his feet.
Diablo also will rear on command.
Besides training his horse, Stoddard also practices almost every day for his act by shooting 1,000 arrows and said he¹d ³like to be one of the world¹s best archers.²
In 2002, he trained with the Hungarian horse archery master Kassai Lajos, and has attended the International Horse Archery Festival twice.
He also has 20 years of martial arts training.
Stoddard has been working with Mark Morain for three years to develop their skills into a show.
They took first place in a competition to recreate the auditions for Buffalo Bill Cody¹s Wild West Show in 2003.
³He¹s somebody local and so I thought he would be a good thing to work into the show,² Louise Rice with the Libby Area Chamber said of Stoddard. ³I wanted to give everyone something extra for the price of their ticket.²