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Back in the Saddle: Last Chance Stampede and Fair is ready to bounce back after COVID

Steven Dent at the 2019 Helena rodeo
Posted at 4:26 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 18:26:45-04

HELENA — Kicking off July 28, the Last Chance Stampede and Fair is one of the Capital City’s biggest community events, bringing in 45,000 people in 2019. And this year, with everyone chomping at the bit to get back to normal, Fairgrounds Manager Kevin Tenney and crew are hoping for an even larger turnout, one they are ready for.

“When we finished up with the fair time last year, when it didn’t happen, we started planning for this year and we crossed our fingers," said Tenney. "We really started focusing January, February when the vaccines started rolling out and we knew there was a good chance. Then about March we said, alright this is a go.”

Last Chance Stampede Web Extra

You’ll notice a few changes this year too. Specifically, there will be no gate admission.

“We’re doing a couple of new things, one of the huge things that were doing is we have always charged a gate admission," added Tenney. "This year it will be free to get on the grounds. Just kind of a welcome back, lets come back. You don’t have to pay that admission fee, come grab a burger or mini doughnut or something like that. Go to the carnival, buy something from the vendors. Just something for the community to make it a little easier to get down here.”

But another change this year isn’t such a positive one and something we’ve been seeing a lot across the state recently

"We’re still in need of temporary workers to come work the grounds, weed-eat, mow," said Tenney. "We’re also looking for our gate security crew. So if you’re looking for a job, come to my office. I’ll have you fill out some paperwork and we’ll put you to work that day.

So whether it’s for work or a little fun, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the return of the Last Chance Stampede. And Kevin even told me they have a surprise in store this year for the rodeo, that people will be able to see from a ways away.. wonder what that means.