The Roundup -

Richland County Fair Adds New 4-H Structures

 

The outside of the new sheep, swine & goat barn during construction. B&B Builders was the general contractor for the project.

The Richland County Fair & Rodeo will feature some new construction for this year's event. The new 4-H complex and buildings were built with B&B Builders as the general contractors for the project. The new complex consists of a horse barn and stalls; a sheep, swine and goat barn and a cattle barn. Along with these three separate barns, there is also a new show area with expanded grandstands. B&B is also constructing a new fence around the north parameter of the fairgrounds.

The buildings are replacing the old 4-H structures that are planned for removal.

The new buildings are located where the old agriculture building once stood, to the east and north of the 4-H food booth. The exhibits and booths that used to be in the old agriculture building will be in the commercial building this year.

The Richland County 4-H program has needed this expansion for many years. "Plans were in the works before I started as extension agent in Richland County back in 2010," said Richland County Extension Agent Tim Fine. Due to increasing numbers of 4-H participants the program outgrew the old buildings years ago. The hope is this new expansion will suit the needs of the 4-H program for years to come.

This year will be a learning year for how to best utilize the space. "We are still working out the kinks," said Fine. "We are figuring out how to run things more efficiently." Besides using the structures for the fair, the hope is to also use them year round. Most notably would be the Keith Steinbesser Memorial Livestock Judging Competition that has been held at the Dynneson Feedlot.

The new project is part of a grand plan for the future Richland County Fair and Rodeo. "This is the biggest thing in Eastern Montana," said Richland County Commissioner Duane Mitchell. "We get people from all over. Last time I counted we had 32,000 people in four days."

The expansion was four years in the making. Richland County officials spent a full year of that time evaluating what was needed with two years of study. They used projected growth data, input from fair participants and board members to assess what was needed. The location near the main grandstands and large rodeo arena was key along with the ability to use the structures year round. "There are so many tiny details, it just takes forever to get things figured out," stated Richland County Commissioner Loren Young.

Local ranchers have also stepped up to provide temporary livestock panels for this year's fair. "For this year we are going to use livestock panels donated by large producers in Richland County and western North Dakota," said Richland County Commissioner Shane Gorder. Everything will be permanently fenced in for the future, but this will give them a good idea of where these permanent fences should be placed.

The project hasn't been without its challenges. Weather and the pandemic have been the biggest hurtles to overcome. The project started Oct. 22, 2020, which was late considering the size of the project and the required completion date. The next biggest challenge has been obtaining the materials for the project. The disruption in distribution chains due to the pandemic has been a fight for the contractors.

Inside of the sheep, swine and goat barn.

The weather conditions have also been both a blessing and an obstacle for the project. "Mother Nature treated us good this winter. It worked well for pouring winter concrete," stated B&B Builders owner Roger Byer. The spring and summer climate has had the opposite result for the project. "The top dirt is just dust," Byer added. "It takes a lot of water and time to make the dirt usable."

Luckily the recent storm on June 10 didn't force any major setbacks. There were a few dented items and a contractor trailer was totaled. None of the new structures were damaged.

B&B Builders worked closely with the fair board, Richland County Commissioners and SDI Architect Desig, Miles City, in constructing the project. "Its nice to be doing this expansion for such an incredible staple to our community," said Byer. B&B Builders was also the contractor for the fairgrounds office & ticket building, Richland County Events Center, 4-H & school exhibit building located at the fairgrounds.

 

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