Sanders County Ledger - Your Best Source For Sanders County News

By Ed Moreth 

Fair brings ropes, rides, ribbons

County event kicks off Thursday in Plains


August 29, 2019

Ed Moreth

GETTING FAIR READY – 4-H parents and kids clean up the swine barn in preparation for the upcoming fair. Nearly 100 4-H members and about 30 parents spent just over three hours cleaning the barns and other areas on the grounds, along with the pavilion kitchen.

This year's Sanders County Fair is going "to be the greatest show on earth," according to Randy Woods, chairman of the fair commission and his first fair as a member of the board.

Melissa Cady, hired as the fair manager in May, also believes the 2019 fair will be one to remember. "It's going to be an amazing fair," said the Thompson Falls resident, who added that there's going to be a wide variety of food and commercial vendors and some new rides from the fair's second-year carnival, Paradise Amusements of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This year, the carnival is hosting a "Local's Day" Thursday, when each ride will be $1 all day and night. Paradise Amusements will have more than 18 rides this year, more than 2018.

Cady had 50 commercial vendors and 26 food vendors as of last Wednesday. The majority are from Montana, but she has sellers coming from as far away as Colorado, Texas and New York. She said there are about a dozen first time vendors. The Sanders County Concessions Group, a nonprofit organization, will have eight booths. Don Burrell, the group's president, said new this year will be chicken strips and chicken paddies at their burger booth. The Knights of Columbus of Thompson Falls will once again sponsor bingo next to the pavilion Thursday 1-9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Demolition Derby, the fair's biggest event of the week, will have some new activities during the competition, said Woods, including a Hi-C Chug and a Frozen T-shirt Contest. In addition, there will be lawn mower races before and during the derby. Anyone interested in participating can call Cady at the fair at 826-3202. Derby tickets range from $17-$32.

Cady said there are still rodeo and bull riding tickets available. Friday and Saturday rodeos begin at 7 p.m. The bull riding competition starts at 7 p.m. Thursday. Tickets range from $17-$27.

"We usually get some of the top 15 qualifier Wrangler National Finals Rodeo cowboys and cowgirls at Sanders County," said Roberta Smith, a fair board member since 2001 and one of two board members - the other is Jim Newman - who have been on the board during the fair. This year, all five board members will be on the grounds during the entire fair to ensure things are running smooth.

Sanders County Commissioner Glen Magera will be coordinating the mutton-busting contest, which will take place during a bull riding break. It is open to kids 5-7 years old, but weigh no more than 55 pounds. Cady said kids must wear long sleeve shirts and wear no open-toe shoes.

All seven 4-H clubs from Heron to Hot Springs will be showing a variety of subjects – photography, baked goods, woodworks, sewing items – and other craft items during the week. They will also demonstrate their knowledge and showmanship of horses, sheep, swine, goats, dogs, cats, beef, rabbits and poultry.

Plains South Side Sparks Club members Robyn, Holly and Boone Stratford were this year's winners for the fair theme with "Ropes, Rides & Ribbons."

The 4-H sponsored meals will once again be served in the pavilion Thursday through Saturday. Breakfast goes from 6:30-9:30 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and dinner is 4:30-7:30 p.m.

In addition, Charlie Gray will be showing several of his award winning Texas Longhorns on the grass near the beef barn this year. This is the first time in over 20 years that the fair has no open class horse competition because they had no one to run it this year, said Smith.

Cady has several musicians slated Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including Tanner Laws of Thompson Falls, Chilaili Wachiwi, a Crow Native American of Trout Creek, and a Plains band.

This will be the final fair for Shirley Kinkade, the extension office administrative assistant, who will retire after 26 years. To recognize her long service, she will be this year's Sanders County Community Service Award winner and grand marshal in the fair parade, which will step off in downtown Plains at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Cady said she's looking forward to bringing the community a quality fair. She said Sanders County Fair has the greenest grass in Montana. "We want to build this fair and build new exhibits and get some new vendors so we can have a positive impact on the whole county," she said.


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