MISSOULA — The Western Montana Fair kicked off its livestock competitions Sunday with a handful of new rules and regulations due to COVID.
Fair officials knew any type of livestock show would be tricky to pull off considering how many exhibitors we have in Missoula County, but they were determined to give kids the chance to compete come August.
"We started planning in February," said Billie Ayers, the Missoula County Fairgrounds Events and Operations Manager.
By working in tandem with the Health Department, fair leaders have created a game plan for the rest of the week’s livestock shows.
"We've broken the fair into pieces, spreading it out and breaking the boundaries of time and date, taking one species per day, dedicating that day to that one species, running them in the morning, show ready, no washing no grooming, everybody has the same disadvantage," said Ayers.
Kicking off this COVID conscious fair were the goats. They, of course, had a hard time remembering their masks, but the exhibitors followed the rules without any issues.
Staying 6 feet apart while also handling an animal poses some challenges, but overall exhibitors were just happy to have the chance to compete.
While the public isn’t allowed on the fairgrounds during the shows, you can still support exhibitors at the livestock sale on Saturday.
"Pre-COVID these kids had already put all their time into buying the animals, breeding the animals themselves in many cases, feeding them, training them...so it's very important that they're able to get their economic turnaround to happen," said Ayers.
You can find details and times for the livestock auction here.