Beyond the bright lights of the show – Flathead Beacon

Days to the Northwest Montana Theater and Rodeo are the final minutes of planning, preparation and prep as the stadiums, booths and stadiums prepare to welcome tens of thousands of spectators over the weekend.

Competitive judging may not be one of the many moving parts that can easily come to mind when it comes to equitable preparation.

“Without fair participation in competitive programs, fairness will not be the same,” said Justice Manager Mark Campbell. There are many things to look for and learn in a fair competition program.

Campbell and the County Fair Board have always emphasized the educational aspect of the fair, and behind the bright carnival lights, members of the FAA and 4-H youth have the opportunity to showcase their animals and education projects.

“These are not lights and joys, but first of all we have to get back into the community and these kids have a great relationship,” Campbell said, adding that the number of animals registered this year is an all-time record.

In addition to the many animals flocking, dying, and screaming over the weekend, there are hundreds of additional exhibits by young and old members of the community to show their interest.

The official fair book lists eight major non-animal exhibitions: agriculture and horticulture, handicrafts, dahlias and gladius, arts, floriculture, home cooking, needlework and photography — but there are several categories for exhibitions in each category.

For example, there are 129 different classifications in agriculture and fruits, from potatoes (rice, 2), unusual shaped fruits, giant squash (summer or winter) to Mr. Potato main competition, five of which are different. Age categories, with the exception of one potato requirement, are subject to the official guidelines that are “limited to the imagination of the exhibition”.

Campbell claims to receive about 8,000 entries each year, and although his background is cattle and cattle, he likes to see people enter the competition they love.

“My wife loves the blankets; She loves it. ” “I really like children’s input. I like to see Lego construction and painting come out of the creativity of those 6-7-8-9 year olds. You just do not know when it will affect you. ”

Flatten resident Dana Higgins has been involved in fair life for more than 50 years, competing as a competitor, raising children and overseeing a photography competition for the past 13 years.

“I’m really upset this year because we missed out on the introductions,” Higgins said. A.D. I had 920 entries in 2019, and I have over 1,000 years of experience. I will watch about 450 this year. ”

Higgins isn’t sure if the decline in participation is related to COVID-19 or the natural variables, but even half of her expected submissions were “fruit only” during this year’s trial.

“For three days we work very hard and we put in 12 hours,” Higgins said of herself and the many judges who help her every year. Then come on Wednesday and I’ll sit down to see people submit everything.

For more than a decade, the exhibition has been a part of the state of photography, and Higgins has seen young people improve in their abilities, which is a very rewarding part of the exhibition.

“It’s great to see kids starting at 9, 10 and then going to adult competitions and winning big prizes,” she said. I always try to push them. If they have been great in the category for a few years, I will try to move on to the next category. I have seen a few go to the professional category and win! ”

The Exhibition Hall on Western Montana’s Fermentation Places opens on the first day of the week, and customers can easily spend hours viewing hundreds of photographs, paintings, blankets, and unusual shaped fruits and vegetables.

Higgins “When the kids come in and see if they have won the ribbon or if they are great champions and their eyes light up” – Higgins is emotionally devastated, “This is what the show means to me.

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