It’s (almost) showtime!

By 
Katherine Sears
Managing Editor
Friday, July 15, 2022
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A Lewistown favorite, the Zipper spins riders through the sky as the sun sets through a brief clearing in the smoke during the 2021 Central Montana Fair. Photo by Katherine Sears

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Rodeo fans will be treated to two full nights of action at this year’s Central Montana Fair. PRCA action will be held Wednesday and Thursday. Photo by Matthew Strissel

The social event of the year is almost here and it’s going to be one you don’t want to miss. The Central Montana Fair returns Wednesday, July 20 and runs through Saturday, July 30, with the theme “It’s Showtime!”. All the fair favorites are back for another exciting event. 

Fair Board Chair Connie Ahlgren said fairgoers should expect another fun-filled week as the board builds on last year’s success. 

“The planning has really been on track this year and it’s going to be another great fair,” said Ahlgren. 

The gate admission will be free again this year after good feedback from last year. Each day’s gate admission is sponsored by local businesses.  

“That’s one of the greatest things we heard about last year’s fair,” said Ahlgren. “People can run down for a quick lunch or to take in the fair without having to pay to get in.” 

Once inside, fairgoers will have a long list of events to take in, from 4-H shows to pig kissing, a petting zoo, a bubble tower, bouncy houses, and nightly music. 

Fair events kick off Wednesday, July 20. The horse show and speed events get underway on Saturday, July 23 at 1 p.m., with the Barrels and Poles event happening Sunday. 

On Tuesday evening, July 26, a free Christian concert featuring Jon Micah Sumrall will begin at 6 p.m. on the free stage. Sumrall, the lead singer of “Kutless,” will perform an acoustic worship set.

The action picks up on Wednesday, July 27, including the opening of the carnival at noon. The carnival opens at noon each day and closes at midnight each night. 

Rodeo slack begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday, which is different than years prior. 

“It used to be Thursday morning,” said Ahlgren. “We changed it to fit with the PRCA schedule of events.” 

Thursday is also “Lewistown Day,” which Ahlgren is particularly excited about this year.

“We’re kind of going back to Lewistown Days for the fair, and there will be a parade,” said Ahlgren. 

The parade will roll down Main Street at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 27.

The Central Montana PRCA Rodeo will be held Wednesday and Thursday, July 27-28 beginning at 7 p.m., and it just might top last year’s sold out event. Added purse money for bareback bronc riding and breakaway roping and big prizes for bull riding and team roping should attract some of the world’s best.

“We really do expect some world champs to ride,” said Ahlgren. “It will also be livestreamed on the Cowboy Channel.”

If fairgoers are looking for more fun after the first night of the rodeo, they should wander on over to the free stage to take in live music.

“This is the second year of the free stage,” said Ahlgren. “We’ve got some great bands lined up to play.” 

The free stage after party runs every night at 10 p.m. on the north side of the grandstands, beginning Wednesday, July 27 with Tris Munsick and the Innocents. 

“Tris was here last year and he liked it so much, he offered to come again,” said Ahlgren. 

Entertainment and events will be going on throughout the day on Thursday at the Gazebo, Midway, and Trade Center. 

The rodeo is back on Thursday night and includes the ever-popular calf dressing event at the conclusion. Each team is made up of four women, 18 or older, with a cash prize for first, second, and third place teams. There will be an auction for the teams before the event, with those bidding on the three winning teams taking home a cash prize. The rodeo and calf dressing will be followed by music on the free stage. 

On Friday, Chancey Williams will headline the night show at 7 p.m. in the grandstands. Copper Mountain Band and Jared Rogerson and the Rodeo Wreck will open for Williams. 

“The entertainment committee chose Chancey to come play,” said Ahglren. “Several people have seen him and thought he would be a good entertainer for Central Montana. Even if you haven’t heard his songs before, he’s going to entertain.” 

Saturday brings the noise and the action with the O’Reilly Auto Parts BGM Race at 12 noon, followed by the demolition derby at 6 p.m.

Fairgoers can expect more food vendors this year and beer will again be allowed outside the beer garden, which is hosted by the Jaycees. 

Ahlgren said those planning to attend any of the nightly events that require a ticket should get them in advance.

“Get tickets in advance so you don’t have to stand in line and to make sure you have a seat,” said Ahlgren.

In the coming week, those driving through Lewistown will notice a large electronic screen along Highway 87/Main Street near the Farm Bureau office. The screen will display sponsors and other information pertaining to the fair. 

For a full schedule of events, visit cmtfair.com.

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