MISSOULA - It's almost that time again...
The Western Montana Fair will kick off Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the Missoula Fairgrounds. The fair will run through Sunday evening.
This year's fair is named the Butterfly Effect to honor the Rocky Mountain Gardens and Exploration Center which will open in a few weeks.
Set up is underway for the rides, games, and food trucks.
Pre-fair activities — including 4-H and FFA farm animal showings — began on Monday.
On Wednesday, there will be carnival activities, dance performances, a barn dance, and 'Xtreme' bull riding.
"Xtreme Bulls kicks off the Missoula Stampede at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 9 and will include Jr. Barrel Racing hosted by Marsh Performance Horses featuring 14 local racers ages 12-16," Event & Operations Manager, Billie Ayers shared.
The PRCA rodeo will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday. This year, the money for the rough-stock events has been doubled, raising the intensity of the competition. The Missoula Paddleheads will be in attendance for 'Tough Enough to Wear Pink' night.
The rodeo on Friday will honor the new 4-H and FFA champions of the Western Montana Fair while Saturday's rodeo is in honor of 'Western Montana legend', Anna Marie Linehan Clouse. Sunday, there will be free flat-track motorcycle racing in the morning.
Bottle Calves and Gems & Minerals are new exhibitions this year. This year's Western Montana Fair will have double the activities with two bingo parlors, a new video arcade, and plazas for dancing, demonstrations, and storytelling.
Paul Maurer Shows, a complete traveling amusement park company, is providing rides to the Western Montana Fair for the second year in a row. Company general manager Marque Lundgren took a break from the event set up to talk with MTN News.
"Mostly the kids. I get paid to make smiles and keep them safe so life doesn't get better than that. And you're in Montana, what more could you ask for?" Lundgren said when asked what excites her about the business.
Admittance to the Western Montana Fair is free, however, tickets for fair rides/games, parking, and food will need to be purchased. You can save $5 per arena event ticket or $10+ on carnival passes if purchased before Aug. 8. Click here for more information about the fair.
There will also be a Mountain Line shuttle available for people heading to the fair.
This year's fair will be the last year for the grandstands at the Missoula County Fairgrounds as rodeo fans and music-goers will soon enjoy events from a new seating facility.
The existing bleachers were built in the 1950s, but by 2024, a new arena and grandstand will be under construction. The $3 million project has been years in the making and will soon be called the Clouse-Bauer Arena as the Clouse and Bauer families have strong ties to the community.
Missoula Concrete Construction, owned by the Bauer family, provided a generous donation for the construction of the new arena. They want to honor Dale Clouse, a member of the Fairgrounds Foundation, who worked for the concrete company since age 16.
The demolition is scheduled for Sept. 24 with Missoula officials hoping for the new facility to be up and running by next year's fair.
Excitement is building and you won't want to miss out on the fun!