BILLINGS — This year our region is going to lose one of biggest champions of the entertainment and agriculture industries to retirement. That’s because after 40 years of dedicated service, MetraPark’s general manager in Billings has decided to retire.
“I started full time during fair week on Wednesday, August 12th,1981,” said Bill Dutcher. “And you know what? Standing here in this spot and seeing all of the barns that used to be here, I knew every stall intimately. People used to ask me, do you know how many stalls are on the back side? Yeah, there's 550. I've bedded every one of them, rake them out, moped every seat, and started out that way in 1981. I was on the crew and then had different jobs over the years.”
He says the transformation of the original footprint to what it is today has really made MetraPark one of this region’s most-important multi-purpose facilities.
“To see these facilities as they transform and to have more year-round events changed the scope of the fair to the clean, safe, friendly, fun place that is today,” said Dutcher. “The fun has always been here, but the facility has changed into that in such a dramatic way.”
He says the agricultural community especially our young people have made a lasting impact on him.
“It's a year-round thing,” said Dutcher. “We have the 4-H building and seeing the families, the kids, the workmanship. And to see that and we're in our 106th fair and to know that nothing has changed in that as a priority in this region. That's what I'm proud of as I go out the door.”
He explains what he’s going to miss most about MetraPark in retirement.
“Well, I keep so darned busy I haven't really thought about it,” said Dutcher. “But, you know, it's just people. I don't have a lot of skills, but I like people.”
Dutcher will officially retire at the end of the year.