By Tim Leeds 

Board considers events for 2012 fair


Members of the Hill County Fair Board heard this week about possible activities at next year's Great Northern Fair, ranging from a mural being painted to alligators and a small child's simulated rodeo.

Board members and the fairgrounds manager attended a convention last week to hear what attractions are available and what is new in the world of fair activities and support.

Fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon said one caught their attention.

"One thing that was a really cheap and kind of neat idea was a spraycan painter, artist, " he said. "He does smaller pictures … and sells them, but we've asked if he would do a mural (on a wall) while he's here. "

He said the artist's suggestion for a mural was right on target.

"He said 'What about the Northern Lights, ' because that's one of his specialty-type things, " Solomon said. "He (didn't) know where we were from or that that is our (college) mascot. "

Board member Missy Boucher said the artist told them he could complete a mural in two days, or he could spread it out over the duration of the fair.

Other free-stage entertainment Solomon said he and the board members looked at included an alligator exhibit which was popular at the fair a few years ago, and a Future Rodeo Stars attraction with a miniature mechanical bull for children to ride.

He said a NASCAR entertainment center with a variety of activities is another possibility, although the price would have to be negotiated down significantly.

Clint Solomon of the association that puts on the professional rodeo at the fair each year suggested free stage entertainment that would not cost the fair board anything. He said representatives of the groups putting on the night shows — the rodeo, the truck pull and the Havre Jaycees Demolition Derby — could set up displays at the stage and talk about what goes on behind the scenes at the shows.

"You don't have to pay anybody, and we get more people to come (to the shows), " he said.

Solomon said that was a great idea, and could be done in between the other free stage entertainment.

"I think if you guys are willing to do something like that, definitely we could arrange times and make the stage available, " he said.

Boucher said another activity that might bring more people to the show is an event set to provide funds for breast cancer research and draw more women to rodeos. The Tough Enough to Wear Pink event, connected to the Chicks and Chaps program, has the rodeo organizers hold workshops for women to explain the rodeo events and how the activities work.

She said the program has been set up in Missoula.

"They have raised a lot of money for breast cancer research, and more women are going to the rodeos, " she said.


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