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Ercanbrack: You can call him 'Dr. Rodeo'

by Seaborn Larson
| July 26, 2013 11:26 AM

Dr. Lance Ercanbrack serves his community as a blue-collar man in a white-coat world.

Since the beginning of the Kootenai River Rodeo, Ercanbrack has contributed his time and on-site expertise to the competition. Ercanbrack, originally from Dubois, Idaho, is a lifelong fan of rodeo events.

The event is one of two rodeo events Ercanbrack attends annually, the other being the PRCA National Championships in Las Vegas, simply as a spectator.

But his viewing of the rodeo goes beyond the cowboys who ride in the glory of competition.

“One of the things I like most is watching the pickup men, interestingly enough,” said Ercanbrack.

He referred to the cowboys we hardly notice and perhaps never write about. The men behind the scenes who handle the bucking broncs and bulls that toss around the competitors.

“They’re on horses, galloping, leaning over, grabbing bucking straps while a horse is bucking next to them,” said Ercanbrack.  “That’s full throttle. They are significant cowboys.”

Ercanbrack, an acclaimed horseman, also applauds the stock contractors who raise the animals that are held to the standard of being the strongest in the market.

“To me, it’s really a tribute to the pickup men, the stock contractors and the bull fighters, because it’s thanks to them that we don’t have more cowboys getting injured,” said Ercanbrack.

Ercanbrack has contributed his time and expertise to the Libby event each year in the spirit of safety and continuity. Luckily, Ercanbrack said, he hasn’t had to practice on site quite yet.    

Among the actual competitive events of the rodeo, he enjoys the precision of barrel racing and the courage displayed in bull and bronc riding.

The event brings together several aspects that are reflections of his home in Dubois, where he grew up on a ranch near a town of 677 people. Ercanbrack’s graduating class totaled 22 students, the largest class for the town in its time.

Dusti Thompson, head of the rodeo committee, said Ercanbrack is a strong component of the sense of safety and comfort in the dangers of rodeos.

“He really stepped up to the plate when we began in 2004, and we really couldn’t do this without him,” said Thompson. “I breathe easier when he’s there.”

Ercanbrack attended college at the Chicago Medical School, eventually gravitating towards surgery training that he received at Oregon Health Science University in Portland, Oregon.

A self-proclaimed small-town fellow, Ercanbrack desired a life in the Rocky Mountains upon completing his surgery training, which led him to a short practice in Jerome, Idaho, southeast of his home in Dubois. After four years, he discovered a line on a job in Libby, and moved to the community with his wife, Lora, and two sons, Cody and Zachary. 

He plans to stay, especially with a new hospital en route to completion.

“Some people might say it’s extravagant, but it’s really just very well done,” Ercanbrack said.

Ercanbrack said he is anticipating the new hospital to retain its small-town nature, but with a high-quality functionality that will serve the community well.

Ercanbrack serves Libby as a general surgeon, which mainly includes gallbladder, hernia, appendicitis and cancer surgeries, as well as scopes, as is required in smaller practices like in Libby.

The Kootenai River Rodeo begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday, and will continue through Saturday evening at J. Neils Park.