Northwest Montana Fair had robust numbers as attendance up slightly

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Gary Clark and Mike Valler judge Dahlia's at the Northwest Montana Fair last week.

Gate attendance at the 2019 Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo was up 1,265 guests from last year, a 1.6% increase. Fair officials report that 79,372 people attended events and viewed exhibits Aug. 14-18 at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.

“While it’s still early for detailed reports of all the programming that happened, we want to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone involved that made this event such a fun, safe and exciting community-wide celebration,” Fairgrounds Manager Mark Campbell said. “The fair provided a venue for all to ‘Capture Montana’s Best Days of Summer.’”

Country music performer Gretchen Wilson attracted 2,858 fans on Aug. 14, although the show was concluded about 10 minutes earlier than planned due to heavy rain and lightning.

“It was a unforgettable show for everyone there,” Campbell said.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday night’s PRCA Rodeo saw 13,000 people in attendance, with Saturday night’s event selling out early that evening. A total payout of $73,535 was awarded to the competing athletes.

Twenty-three teams representing three states and Alberta, Canada, competed in the Indian Relay Races, now in its 30th year at the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo thanks to sport pioneer Leroy Skunkcap. The Black Rock Relay of Browning was crowned the Indian Relay Race champions on Saturday evening.

More than 8,000 exhibits were entered in the 4-H, FFA and Open Class competitions, a 10 percent increase over last year. “Entries were up in most of the 23 different departments, but especially in the livestock market classes,” Campbell said.

Gross sales at the Market Livestock Sale were similar to last year’s record levels with more than $560,000 being bid. All proceeds directly benefit the local 4-H and FFA participants with animals in the sale.

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