The 2011 Madison County Fair kicked off earlier this week in Twin Bridges, offering a little something for everyone to enjoy before the summer comes to a close.
While the format for many of this years events remains the same as years past, new attractions include music by singer/songwriter Brenn Hill on Friday and Saturday night and magic by Illusions Plus magician Kent Messmer.
Rodeo events for this year’s fair include the Novich Livestock Fair Roping on Wednesday at 6 p.m., and goat roping at 3 p.m. followed by the Ranch Hand Rodeo at 5:30 on Thursday evening. Friday’s rodeo events begin at 8 a.m. with slack time at the grandstands area for the Northern Rodeo Association’s Jacobs Livestock Rodeo at 7 p.m., as well as goat roping at 1 p.m. Saturday begins with team roping at 9 a.m., goat roping at noon, kid’s steer riding at 6 p.m. and the NRA rodeo at 7 p.m.
Parade chairman Troy Martin said over the years his favorite event to watch has been the ranch rodeo.
“Some of these guys are pretty amazing,” Martin said. “Most of the teams are local from around the Dillon area, the Madison Valley and the Beaverhead Valley. A lot of it pertains to the cowboy’s natural duties in his job. It’s fun to watch local people that you know out there practicing their craft.”
Madison County 4-H contests start on Wednesday with the dog show at 9 a.m. followed by indoor exhibits from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m and cat show at 3:30 p.m. Weigh-ins for steers start at 3 p.m., hogs at 4 p.m. and lambs at 6 p.m.
Thursday begins with the swine show at 8 a.m., dairy show at 2 p.m. and sheep show at 5 p.m. Friday’s contests kick off with the beef show at 9 a.m., rabbit show at 3 p.m. and poultry show at 6 p.m. The 4-H livestock sale takes place on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Friends Sale and Show Arena.
The 4-H competitions are always a highlight for the Madison County fair because of the participants, Martin said.
“These kids have put so much work into their projects,” he said. “Its really neat to watch them show and present their stuff.”
Fair manager Dana Escott has been working toward this week for a while. In fact, preparations began the week after last year’s fair.
“It takes a year to put it on, and it’s a big event,” Escott said. “We try to bring in something new for everybody. Its fun to put on such a big event, and have all the kids and families come together and be able to have something for everybody to do.”
One of the more popular events returning from last year is the Second Annual Twin Bridges Volunteer Fire Department Demolition Derby on Sunday at 2 p.m. Entrants must sign a release and only American-made sedans or station wagons are allowed to compete in the derby. Cash prizes for the main event are $750 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third place.
While she does a lot of work in preparation for the event, Escott couldn’t say what her favorite part of the fair is.
“All of it is going to be great to watch,” she said. “You want to try to see a little bit of all of it.”
More information on specific events and registration is can be found in the 2011 Madison County Fair handbook available at many locations around Madison County.