On July 23, 2022, at the Missoula Fair Grounds, volunteers will transform the ice rinks into an agricultural exhibit space. Campbell Barrett is the MSU Extension Agent for the 4-H Program in Missoula County. He said this shift from ice to a livestock barn is something they have to do every year for Fair Week.  

“We don’t normally advertise the setup because that is sort of an internal thing, but it is illustrative of the challenges of shared space and highlights the need for facilities that you guys have been talking about with some of our volunteers on the air,” Barrett said. “It is an opportunity for our folks to put in some time and transform that clean sheet of concrete into what will be a livestock barn here in a couple of weeks for the Western Montana Fair.” 

As of now, the fairgrounds don’t have sufficient facilities to provide year-round space to both ice sports and popular agriculture education programs such as FFA and F-H. However, that might not be the case for long. 

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“We will be asking the Missoula County Commissioners on July 28 to put a general obligation bond on the ballot for November to complete the phase of development by building a livestock and equestrian arena and also a third sheet of ice so that both of those programs can serve the public year-round instead of having to shut down the ice for a couple of months in the summertime to transition to fair,” Barrett said. 

According to Barrett, that would create more opportunities for both of those groups to reach more people in Missoula County and the Western Montana area.  

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