Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I am positive that Fort Benton has the most beautiful Fair Grounds in Montana.  While in the Grandstands, the view of the Bluffs, the blue sky and its fluffy white clouds, and the Missouri River are scenes that no other fairground has.  How much better could it get?  The buildings are in tip-top condition and the grounds very well kept.  The trash containers are well used and there is not any litter on the ground.  It is a pleasure to spend time there.

Thursday evening was a blockbuster.  First, there was free parking, a free dinner, and a free concert.  A large audience enjoyed all three events.  The concert was a surprise as the main attraction was not able to be here.  The MSR Project replaced him.  What a replacement they were.  Michael Shaw Killeen is a guitarist and vocalist. His partner Michael Stephan Kakuk plays the meanest harmonica you have ever heard and is a vocalist.  They performed a terrific program put together at the last moment.  They were so entertaining, that they were invited to return for Summer Celebration.

Of course, my favorite event was the Pig Wrestling because our grandson, Grayson, was here from Helena and entered in the contest with his friends, McKenna, Braden, and Jaden.  They were in the second age group (10 to 17) of contestants.  It was much to everyone’s delight that the younger group did so well getting their pig into the barrel.  The “Fighting Fifth Graders,” (Grayson and friends,) managed to get their pig in the barrel in the allotted time.  They did not win but just getting the pig in was enough for us parents and grandparents to be proud.

We also had a great time just watching the Volunteer Fire Department washing the contestants off with the fire hose.  There were more squeals from them than from the pigs although there were more squeals from the pigs than we ever heard before.  Some of them just did not want to cooperate.  (Do we blame them?)  We really appreciate the Volunteer Fire Department.  You are always, “Johnny on the Spot,” when needed and you sure were needed that evening.

The volunteers in the Floral Department said that they received more entries this year than last.  The Canned Goods, Baked Goods, Quilts, and Handiwork Department, and the Art and Photo Department, volunteers said they received about the same as last year.  One volunteer said that she is already planning for next year.  That sounds good to me.

Jessie and I took our turn at being “Parking Donation Collectors” from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. on Saturday.  It was just a fun time and the time just flew by.  Fairgoers were happy to pay a donation for the Lions Club.  We were constantly busy at the Front Street Gate.

We would always ask where the Fairgoers were from.  The first car I collected from was a woman driver with a carload of Kiddos.  She said that she just heard about the Fair on the radio, gathered up the Kiddos, and drove down from Havre.  There were two more cars from Havre, Great Falls, Belt (for the Rodeo,) and from the state of Washington.  They were just driving by and decided to stop to see what was going on.  It was, overall, a fun time and I will volunteer next year for a good cause.

Many of the Fairgoers came in that Saturday afternoon just for the Rodeo.  There was a good crowd for that event with a lot of whoopin’ and hollerin’.  My knowledge about rodeos is zero.  I will have to find out what makes those horses buck like they do.  The barrel races are my favorite and how long does it take to train a horse to do that event?

The Demolition Derby is always a fun time.  We sat in the lower bleachers and had mud splattered clear up to us a couple of times.  All thought that the Herby Derby would never end.  The final event was very exciting and it would not be a County Fair if there wasn’t a Demolition Derby.      

To support the Fort Benton Longhorn football team, you can purchase a Gold Card.  If you do not know what a Gold Card is, you have been overlooked for many years by organizations raising money.  They are mostly school sporting teams.  A young man, (Matthew at 622-3392,) rang our doorbell a couple of weeks ago with Gold Cards in hand.  The Gold Card entitles you to a discount at many eateries in the area.  We saved much more money with the card than the cost of the card. That is really not the point, as the donated money goes to the football team.  If you cannot reach Matthew, I suggest that you contact the High School office to purchase your card.  I was very happy to see him, as the season was fast approaching.  The first football game is this coming Saturday the 25th with Great Falls Catholic Central at 7:30 pm.

Next Sunday, the 26th of August, will take place another annual event.  It will be the 6th Annual “Fun Night” at Ma’s. The party is a few weeks earlier this year and it should be a pleasant evening as far as the weather is concerned.  It is a Pot Luck for salads and desserts. Greg and Maria supply the protein part of the meal.  You could bring chairs if you would like.  There is usually a good amount of tables but with this invitation, there may be a few more participants.  Greg hires entertainment and if you are inclined, you can dance.  It is just a fun evening with family, friends, and our neighbors from Loma. See you there.

We had lots of company for the Fair.  When one of them arrived, after driving over 200 miles, she said that she had a new motto for our town.  “I HOPE THERE’S A HEAVEN, CAUSE I’M DRIVING 87.”  She said that cars were going in and out trying to pass.  All in the group agreed that the bad spots were by both the elevators where the highway drops down causing a blind spot.  I called the State Highway Department a few years ago to ask if there could be double yellow lines painted in those two spots.  I was told that there had not been an accident there for 10 years and nothing would be done.  Almost everyone that I have heard from has said that they have had narrow escapes in those areas.  Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?

I just have to vent this subject out of my system.  If there is ever anything offensive to a non-smoker, it is cigarette butts.  I see them everywhere.  Front St. sidewalks have many from one end of the street to the other end.  I find them on my sidewalks around the house as I live on a corner.  However, the thing that really upset me was, the other day when I found a dozen butts in the planter in front of The Old Bridge.  Why would anyone do that to the beautiful flower and nature grass area?  This situation compares to those “litter pigs” who throw garbage out of the windows of their cars.  

I was advised not to write about this situation as those who throw butts anywhere and trash out car windows, would find great pleasure in doing it more.  I can only say to those persons, “Don’t you have any pride in yourself or your community?”  Enough already!