It seems strange that the Ravalli County Fairgrounds hasn't held a cowboy ball in the past. But what better way to raise funds than a cowboy-themed extravaganza?
The fairgrounds will host its first Cowboy Ball on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the First Interstate Center from 6 p.m. to midnight.
"It's kind of like an old-fashioned Saturday night barn dance," said Deb Rogala, fairgrounds manager.
The event is the brainchild of the rodeo committee, a group that not only works on the rodeo during fair time, but works behind the scenes for all equestrian and rodeo events at the fairgrounds year-round.
"They, along with our staff, are always prepping our arena and always looking for ways to improve the arena and rodeo ground," Rogala said.
Over the past couple of years, the group has made major improvements to the arena: widened the fence to bring it closer to spectators, increased the size of a holding pen, put in sorting shoots for ropers and widened the entrance to the rodeo grounds themselves.
And with more improvements in mind, the idea of the Cowboy Ball was born. Funds raised from next week's event will go toward work in the stall area, updating the announcer's booth and office and painting arena panels.
The Cowboy Ball will be an evening of music, food, auctions and dancing.
Caffé Firenze of Florence, Cowboy Troy's of Victor and caterer Up N Smokin will be selling all sorts of cowboy-themed food like Whoop Ass Chili and the Cowboy Bowl. Food is available for purchase for $3.50 to $9. Cowboy Troy's will also have a full bar.
Kyle Shobe and the Walk'em Boys, a band hailing from Lewistown, will provide musical entertainment throughout the evening.
The night will also include silent and live auctions, calf pie bingo, roping demonstrations and presentations by the high school rodeo club.
The first annual Cowboy Ball isn't all about raising money. The fairgrounds has numerous sponsors that help put on the rodeo and Rogala wants to make sure they know how much their help is appreciated by the fairgrounds.
"Rodeo is a very expensive sport to bring to town," Rogala said. "We want to spotlight the people who really support us in bringing great rodeo to the Bitterroot."
Tickets are $5 to get in the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Tables are available: a table of eight is $100, a table of four is $50. Each person gets one drink ticket and two raffle tickets.
Reach reporter Whitney Bermes at 363-3300 or email@example.com.