Valley Journal
Valley Journal

4-H shotgun competition kicks off Lake County Fair

A small crowd consisting of the participants’ families showed up to support the three boys during the 4-H shotgun competition. The competition was the first event of the Lake County Fair. 

Isaac Cantlon, Tristan Oberwenger and Andrey Bauer each scored high enough to receive a ribbon for two separate shotgun events: trap, and five stand. The events were held at Big Sky Sporting Clays in Polson. 

MSU Lake County Agent Nori Pearce said this year’s group of competitors was smaller than in the past, but it was still a successful day. There was a total of nine kids in this year’s shotgun program, but only three ended up competing Sunday. 

Cantlon scored a 30 out of 50 in trap and an 11 in five stand. Oberwenger scored a 34 out of 50 in trap and an eight in five stand. Bauer scored a 49 out of 50 in trap and a 19 in five stand.

Pearce, who has been working with Lake County 4-H for nine years, said that without the help from volunteers and coaches, the program wouldn’t be possible.

This year the 4-H shooting sports received a grant of more than $10,000 from the NRA to help purchase new equipment for all of the 4-H shooting events, Pearce said.

The shotgun competition was the first of many events throughout the week. 

The Lake County Fair officially started Monday, July 24, with 4-H interview judging at the fairgrounds in Ronan. 

On Tuesday the dog show and 4-H Large animal events take center stage. 

By Wednesday most of the livestock and other open class show items should be at the fairgrounds. The open class items will be judged by age group. Tim Marchant, fair manager, said in the past the open class items have included everything from woodworking to local photography.

Later Wednesday the Little Big Band will play at the fairgrounds. 

One of the biggest events of the annual fair takes place Thursday night, the Buyer’s Recognition Dinner and the 4-H Market Livestock Sale, Marchant said. 

“The bidding can be quite fierce, it’s really remarkable how the community steps up to help the kids,” he said. 

Buyers from the last year’s auction get into the dinner free, others are allowed, but at $10 a head. Dinner will also include live entertainment from local band, the Rock Pickers. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and the auction starts at 7 p.m.

Friday there will be a project costume contest at 2 p.m. followed by the Lake County talent show at 5 p.m. The top prize for this year’s talent show is $100, Marchant said.

Then to wrap everything up, the Ranch Rodeo starts at 1 p.m. Saturday. But this rodeo won’t include bull riding, Marchant said. The event pits local cowboys against each other in roping events and doing other things that they would normally do on a ranch, he said.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday the local band, Out on Bail, will perform during the dance on the fair grounds to celebrate the end of the fair week. The dance will also have a beer garden, something Marchant said is new to the fair.


The Lake County Fair is the culmination of what the local 4-H kids have been working on all year. While the fair certainly includes other events, the 4-H certainly seems to stand out, Marchant said. 

Throughout the week local 4-H kids will be judged on the projects they’ve spent the last year working on. They are judged in three main categories. Market - which is based off the animal’s overall size and health, showmanship - which is more a judgement of the kid’s ability to show the animal, and breeding - where the animal is judged on physical attributes and breeding potential.

The program is designed to teach kids responsibility and decision making along with other real-life skills needed in the agricultural industry. 

“The fair is one of the last true venues for the agriculture industry,” Marchant said. “A lot of people get distanced from their food source, it’s nice to be able to see the people who are out there doing this for a living.” 



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