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Legend Real Bird is already enhancing his family’s heritage as he prepares to compete in the Junior World Finals of rodeo



Hardin, Montana – This week marks the start of the National Finals Rodeo, when a sizable group of Montana cowboys will be competing. Among them is Legend Real Bird, an 11-year-old Hardin team roper who is already gaining traction in his professional rodeo career.

“When you rope and get that good run, you get that adrenaline rush that makes you feel good, and it’s fun, and it’s really fun to rope if you practice hard enough, you can win a lot,” Legend said.

Legend In team roping, Real Bird has already demonstrated success as a healer. He travels to rodeos regularly like a pro. During the peak rodeo season, he and his family reside in Arizona and tour the area to compete in junior rodeos. He frequently faces competitors who are between the ages of 17 and 18 in such rodeos.

“As a dad, knowing how my dad felt when I played for him, I never knew,” said Legend’s father, Gordon Real Bird Jr. “But now being a dad, and watching my son, it’s a whole different thing and I get nervous for him. I don’t know if he gets nervous. I think he just has fun.”

At the age of seven, Legend took up roping, joking that his dad needed a partner. Legend quickly embraced the cowboy way of life; the family joke is that he could ride a horse before he could walk.

“I like being out here you know. It’s a beautiful land. I love the horses; I love the lifestyle. Sure, it’s a hard lifestyle but it’s the lifestyle I like.”

Legend’s lineage is rich in equestrian pursuits, rodeo, and making a lasting impression. Pius, his great-grandfather, started the family’s legacy of ranching by owning a ranch in Wyola. Gordon Real Bird, the grandfather of Legend, was a Hall of Fame coach at Lodge Grass who led the Indians to five state titles.

Pete Fredericks, a pioneer for Native Americans in professional rodeo, is his grandfather on his mother’s side. Fredericks qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times. In addition, he was inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame and founded the Indian National Finals Rodeo Commission.

Legend got its name from those three incredible men combined.

“Could have named him Gordon the Third… Pete… Pius, putting all those names together, they are a group of local legends. Thus, Legend Real Bird was born, and it’s been so far so good as he pursues what he loves,” Gordon said.

On December 12, Legend will compete in the Junior World Finals of team roping in Las Vegas, where he has the opportunity to demonstrate that he is the best junior heeler in the world. He will undoubtedly be among the youngest contestants in the arena.

“Especially a native kid coming out of nowhere and is going over there is kind of cool,” Legend said.

Gordon added, “What’s a word, mind blowing, it’s a surreal moment for us cus we’re… I just figure we got to practice,” he laughed.

In the heeler’s future in professional rodeo, a journey to the desert will undoubtedly become a yearly ritual if Legend has any say in it.

“I want to make it to the NFR 20 times, hopefully win it about 10 times, be a world champion. ”

On December 12 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Junior World Finals’ team roping phase gets underway. You can donate to Legend’s trip to the desert by visiting the family’s GoFundMe page, which can be found here.


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