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Converting ice rink to livestock arena poses difficulties for Missoula organizations

Posted at 11:06 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 13:06:15-04

Ice is back at Glacier Ice Rink after their annual takeover for their livestock show and sale. So what kind of challenges are presented to the ice rink when they have to change their sheet of ice into a 4-H facility, and back to a sheet of ice?

"I think the two biggest issues for us with having 4-H come in is having to take the ice out is the cost on it and also the cleaning up after the saw dust and animals which gets everywhere," Glacier Ice Rink Executive Director Laura Henning said.

"Well its a lot of work for everyone," Missoula 4-H extension agent for Montana State Campbell Barrett added.

That includes 4-H who has to change a rink into a livestock arena once a year.

"Just the fact that you are taking down the ice walls and putting up stock panels its lust a lot of work a lot of things need to be put in place for safety for both animals and people," Barrett said.

Barrett also said that it takes up to four weekends of volunteer work to prepare the rink for livestock.

The solution to all this? Officials say the fairgrounds next phase of their redevelopment plan.

"The goal is, and this is part of the fairgrounds redevelopment plan, is a new livestock and equestrian center. A new structure at the fairgrounds that will be dedicated year-round to animal 4-H and FFA and other animal organization usages throughout the year both livestock and horse related," Barrett said.

Besides cost and cleaning, Henning also said that the conversion of the ice rink to the 4-H facility can also cause some excess wear and tear on things like the boards. Both organizations said these difficulties are not an indictment of each other and say they also love working with one another.

Barrett also added he is grateful for the support shown to livestock programs from the Missoula County Fairgrounds. Registration for ice sports is now available at Glacier Ice Rink's website.