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Ravalli County Fair a combination of fun, and hard work

Posted at 7:12 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 10:13:50-04

HAMILTON - An event like the Ravalli County Fair is meant to be fun. But it's also a lot of hard work.

45-years ago this week in Washington a veteran newsman who owned the local radio station handed me a tape recorder and task me with getting 10-interviews a day during the local county fair. It must have gone well because the new week he hired me as a reporter.

That deep dive is where my love affair with fairs started and wandering through the Ravalli County Fair refreshes those great memories.

I used to think it was the exhibits, and the snacks, which are still a big part of the fair experience for me. But I've realized it's the people, and renewing friendships.


Such as the team at the Lion's Bingo Booth, where they've raised thousands of dollars for helping the visually impaired over decades.

This year, going "high tech", with a digital system replacing the old bingo cage.

"This is really simple," Bingo Master Kaye Bergman showed me. "Lot less work than before. You used to have to crank that thing."


I asked him for an insider tip to be successful at the game. "Put down your dollars," he answers with a big smile.

I persisted. "Do you know the famous song? That's what I want to know. You know, the kid's song?"

"Which song?" Kaye responded, a bit puzzled.

The Lion's Club Bingo Booth has raised thousands of dollars to help the visually impaired and other programs

"The kid's song. B-I-N-G-O, etc, etc," I explained as the entire booth starts singing, ending with a cheer after ending the refrain about the dog's "name-o".

But it's not just fun and bingo. It's also beef.

And that's where some of the hardest work takes place at the Ravalli County Fair.

Getting the cows ready to show is like trying to wrestle a three-year-old into the tub.

And keeping them preened through the weekend, with a little Nintendo to help the patience.

But starting young is what 4H is all about, no matter whether it's cows or chickens.

And building fair memories for the generations to come.