The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Catherine Ellerton
Contributing Writer 

Madison County Fair continues a long run


August 15, 2018

Melissa Jenkins

Above, Kate Braxton enjoys a corn dog at the Madison County Fair.

"I pledge my head to clearer thinking; my heart to greater loyalty; my hands to larger service and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world."

This pledge is that of the 4-H Clubs around the world but it can also be said to be that of the leadership and volunteers that have run the Madison County Fair and Rodeo for the last 116 years. This Fair began in 1903 and continues to grow and develop encompassing 4-H, FFA, Open Class, Food Vendors, Rodeo events, and more.

The Horseshoe Tournament has been held for over 70 years enthused Susan Held of Waterloo who has been running the event for 21 years. Her husband, Bruce, has been throwing since he was 14 years old, and his Dad and Uncles before that. This year there are twenty-six players from all over the United States. The Woodwards are from No. Carolina and come to take part every other year; while Marvin Southwick, who drives truck, came home from Maryland to be able to participate; another state that was represented was Wyoming.

There are many events that are occurring every moment. In the Commercial Building one can find various businesses providing information from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest to the Ruby Valley Healthcare Foundation to the Madison County Sheriff's Office to the 'Happy Trails Healing's Table Massages. There is a beautiful Flower Show which adds their color to the Quilt Show sponsored by the Patchwork Pals. The President of this organization is Elaine Salisbury of Sheridan. Carol Bruggom, also of Sheridan, explained that the organization also makes lap quilts for hospitals and nursing homes and Valor Quilts for the veterans. During the show there is a Quilt Challenge – one design – each quilter's individual, colorful interpretation of that design.

Continuing on, the fairgoer wanders next into the 4-H/FFA Building. It is here that the many 4-H clubs (to include: Big Sky Wranglers, Big Sky Livestock, B.Y's, Cardwell Hillbillies, McAlister Mountaineers, Madison Wranglers, Rocky Mt. Rascals, Ruby Valley FFA, Spoons-N-Spurs, Super Stars, and the Trailblazers) show their projects from cooking to sewing, photography to wood-working and their Project Boards on Cat Breeds, Dog Treats, Fly Strikes, Big Game Animals and the Performing Theatre.

Melissa Jenkins

Pictured is 4-H participant Dalaney Scafani.

Next one takes a fast stop in the Open Class Building with its many entries in the arts and photography and cooking and sewing and on to the animal barns. Just missed the Round Robin where 4-H/FFA members demonstrate their skills at showing cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits and on and on. But the fairgoer just has to wander through the various animal barns and watch the young 4-H/FFA members taking care of and showing their animals to understand what a 4-H Fair is all about.

Wandering throughout these many buildings and arenas, watching the cows chew their cud, the chickens pecking for the finest piece of grain, the goats getting grass from their hanging bags, propels one to the food court. Here the fair-goer can satisfy their cravings with Ribbon Fries, Taco In a Bag, Cotton Candy, or Blue Moose BBQ, Hawaiian Shave Ice or Bison Ribs before they head on to the Team Roping or the Youth Rodeo or the Women's Calf Bloomering or the Benny Reynolds Wild Cow Milking events.


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