On behalf of the Ravalli County Fair Commission, and Fairgrounds staff, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make the 2017 Ravalli County Fair & Rockin’ RC Rodeo one of the best ever. It is a tremendous feat, being able to bring the community together to showcase the summer's bounty from displaying your prized flowers, preserved foods, livestock projects, handwork and more. It's a time for youth to re-unite with friends over some Bingo cards as they begin another school year; time for neighbors to chat while enjoying great fair food; time for 4-H and FFA kids to shed a tear as they bid farewell to their animals; time for great rodeo, entertainment under the big top tent; and a time to come together and celebrate what makes our community special.

My first year as fair manager has been a humbling experience. With lofty goals and a few stumbling blocks, I’m proud of my staff being able to ensure each of the thousands of details were attended to as we strive for excellence. The pride in our work does not go without notice, and we appreciate all the positive feedback we have received. We have also heard a lot of comments on areas where we can improve and are planning on how to implement those suggestions. We hope that everyone who participates and comes to enjoy the county fair finds triumph in a lot of jobs well done.

We are thankful for the generosity of our sponsors who make all things possible, for the charitable organizations and local businesses who staff the food booths, for beautiful and creative entries in all categories; for barn, building and department staff, the premium office ladies, the rodeo committee, and contestants who entertain us, RC Sheriff Department, Hamilton City Police, MDMH ambulance service, Future Farmers of America, RC 4-H; for community groups who help with picking up trash, set up and tear down, ticketing and security; to the pink lady and blue man for keeping our bathrooms fresh, and to the many, many volunteers without whom the show would not go on. We are also thankful for everyone who attends and helps to make fair the best time of the year in the Bitterroot. We are grateful to the vendors who put in long hours to staff their booths, and the patrons who support them.

In my years of working this fair, there is always an epic storm that blows through, either during setup, or the first day or two. This year was no exception. As the sky opened and brought gusts from the sky at dusk on Wednesday, there wasn’t a person around who didn’t jump into action and help the vendors secure their tents and help catch the merchandise blowing about. It was a clear indicator to me, that "Country Pride, County Wide" was an appropriate theme for the fair this year. Neighbors helping neighbors with nothing expected in return is what country folks do, and is as American as it gets.

Cryss Anderson

Ravalli County Fairgrounds Manager