GREAT FALLS – Over the years, horse racing in Montana has become a bit more sparse.
But in Great Falls, the sport is alive and kicking although the hats may not be as extravagant as what you might see at the Kentucky Derby. The excitement and passion is just as comparable, however.
The West family is from Lethbridge, Alberta. They have been involved in the sport for quite some time.
“You’re on a roller coaster. One minute you’re on the top and the next you’re at the bottom,” Bill West said.
It’s not just the nail biting action of betting on your favorite horse that keeps the money flowing. The economic impact to the Great Falls community is also something to consider.
“When you first roll into town, I know my pocketbook got a lot lighter and we hadn’t even really started doing anything,” Bill added. “You’re buying hay, you’re buying straw, you’re buying oats. I think a lot of people forget about that part of it. They see the horses and the betting and the exciting part of it.”
Another aspect some people may not see is how groups of people are more like a family within the sport – lending a hand where it’s needed.
Shortly before the races were scheduled to start earlier this week, a truck needed for the start gates broke down. Without missing a beat, the West family stepped in to help.
The horse races are scheduled for Friday, July 26 at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 27 at 1 p.m., and Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m. at Montana ExpoPark.
The Montana State Fair is July 26 through August 3. Click here for more information.
Reporting by Jason Laird for MTN News