Baker to host 2016 State High School Rodeo Finals

   Word was received earlier this week that our community has been awarded the bid to host the MHSRA finals next summer, June 7-12, 2016.

By Sherry Vogel

   When Kalispell chose not to host the event this year the Fallon County Fair Board met with the county commissioners to discuss welcoming the finals to Baker.

   Fallon County is prime for such a venture. The Fallon County fairgrounds is one of the finest in the state with the recent addition of the new 1338-seat capacity covered grandstand. Also completed just this past season is the pro-rodeo arena. This project was spearheaded by local cowboy, Jason “Eddie” Coulter. He single-handedly “beat the bushes” for donations to revamp the arena saving the tax payers thousands of dollars.

   “This is a huge undertaking for a small community,” stated Jerrid Geving, fair board member. “It has always been held in a bigger community like Kalispell or Bozeman, but I think people will like the small town hospitality.”

   The state finals is the last big hurrah of the high school rodeo season. It is a “big deal” with an estimated 300-400 excited young cowboys and cowgirls from across the state coming together to compete. They will be followed by approximately 1200-1500 devoted family, friends, and fans. Many will be in need of food and lodging although some will come with self-contained RV and motorhomes. This will be a tremendous boost to Baker’s economy.

   It’s difficult to get your head around a huge event of this magnitude. A committee of approximately 20-30 people will be needed to coordinate the happenings. As plans formulate in the next few weeks and months, area residents will have the opportunity to volunteer in various positions.

   The rodeo must have a fully staffed rodeo office and arena. Food and concession stands, trade show and commercial vendors, and entertainment venues will be required. Our community will “need all hands on deck” to make this spectacular rodeo a success.