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A century celebration: Rudyard is 100


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Rudyard's centennial celebration and all-class reunion was held this weekend, compete with parades, beard contests, toilet races, fireworks and more.

On Saturday morning, sirens from the local volunteer ambulance and fire department signaled the start of the parade Along the Main Street route, everything from kids on bicycles and pulling wagons to antique cars and tractors was on show for the community Area royalty was present as well.

The reigning Miss Rodeo Montana, Jourdon Han of Rudyard, and Miss Teen Rodeo Montana, Libby Gurnett of Helena took part in the festivities.

"I had planned to be here before I was crowned," said Han. "Thankfully, it all worked out with my schedule that I was able to come." Han, 21, was crowned in January during the Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals in Great Fall and has been on the road since.

"We were in Texas representing Montana in February," Han said. "This past week we were in Nebraska as well." Throughout this past weekend the duo commuted between Rudyard's celebration and Chinook's rodeo.

"We travel a lot," Han said when asked if the schedule was a bit overwhelming.

"It's busy, but fun. I live on chaos," Han's dream of becoming Miss Rodeo Montana started when she was 5 and told her mother she would someday be Mi s s Rodeo Montana.

The vendors along Main Street and in the Memorial Park shut down briefly for the parade and then quickly got back to work.

Elizabeth Campbell, history teacher at North Star High School and local jewelry designer, was set up in a tent selling earrings that she had helped make.

"I made about half of the items," Campbell said.

When asked about the name of her company, Carter Creek Jewelry, she explained that "it's a creek on my parents' ranch, the same one my son is named after." Other items for sale included quilted purses, jewelry, carved wood statues, handmade piggy banks, plants, and scrubbies. In addition to the handcrafted treasures, food vendors set up and offered shade, a cool drink and somewhere to sit on the warm day.

The Toilet Race drew everyone to the park in the afternoon.

With contraptions built from modified bicycles or anything else they could get their hands on, competitors put on a noteworthy show.

Two teams lined up after filling the water tank on the back of the commode and after a shot, they took off.

Jake Strissel, a Rudyard resident and Strissel Boys team member with his two brothers, Matt and Josh, talked about their racer. "This is the one that was used in the '85 race," Strissel continued, looking back at the community's 75th anniversary.

The racer looked like a trikestyle motorcycle with the back made of carved black metal, a toilet in place of the seat, and the front wheel and handle bars from an old bicycle. When asked about not having a braking system, Strissel laughed, "Hopefully we won't need one." In the evening, as the air cooled, the recently reunited music ensemble Area Code 406, started playing atop a trailer and people packed onto Main Street to dance, socialize and listen to the variety of genres that the band played.

As the darkness of night approached, a fireworks display lit the sky from the football field.

The band stopped, and people gathered into groups to watch the spectacular display, later returning to the street dance to finish out the night


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