Michael Duane Lenning was born in Billings on Sept. 22, 1962, to Duane and Shirley (Walrod) Lenning. Mike passed away on the longest day of the year, June 21, 2013, at his home in Billings.
Mike was raised on his grandfather’s ranch south of Columbus, and attended school in Columbus through his junior year, moving to Billings and graduating with the Billings Senior High School class of 1981.
Growing up in a rodeo family, Mike’s love of rodeo started at an early age. Always the competitor, Mike competed at all levels of the sport, starting his career at the junior rodeo level, through high school and NIRA, and ultimately the PRCA.
Mike capably worked five events, including the bareback riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping and bull riding, and was honored with many year-end awards and championships at all levels.
Mike attended college on rodeo scholarships at Eastern Wyoming College at Torrington, Wyo., Montana State University at Bozeman, and graduated with a degree in Agri-Business from Oklahoma Panhandle State University at Goodwell, Okla.
In later years, he worked construction, belonging to Laborer’s International Union of North America Local 1686 in Billings.
Mike belonged to the Masonic Lodge of Hamilton.
He had a smile for everyone, and his friends and family meant the world to him.
Mike is survived by his father, Duane of Columbus; his brother, Mitch and his wife Allison of Worden; his nephews, Charlie C. Lenning of Columbia Falls, C.M. (Little Charley) Lenning of Worden and Henry Lenning of Helena; niece, Lisa and husband Ryan Lien and their children of Billings; girlfriend Denise Cooper; special friends Robyn Brennan and Don Hurley; his aunt, Delores Terpstra and uncle Jim Walrod. Mike was preceded in death by his mother, Shirley; grandparents Hank and Liz Lenning and Lucille Umstead; and uncles Dean Walrod and Richard Lenning.
A celebration and remembrance of Mike’s life will be held on Tuesday, July 9, at 11 a.m., at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., in Billings.
Memorials may be made to the Larry Jordan Cowboy Crisis Fund at the Northern Rodeo Association Office, Box 1122, Billings, MT 59103.