Woot! Everybody gets excited when the fair is in town! Which is what happened two weekends ago. And what a time it was!
We get to the fair and there are a tons of local businesses on display, as well as information about Bozeman. We stop by our friends at Ascend Wellness and I got a pulse diagnosis. Â I have to say, I had no idea how much one can tell from a pulse! Very (and creepily) impressive!
There were also some fabulous stands about the City of Bozeman itself (and I got a great pic of a cowboy looking at it. How cool!)
I thought the weed stand was pretty hilarious. And not what you think! Apparently there are some wild weeds that shouldn’t be, so the public is properly notified in order to fight these plants!
There were also some amazing vendors at the fair. My favorite were the jewelry flowers. This guy makes amazing jewelry from real flowers and butterflies!
We purchased something for someone special who has a birthday coming up (and luckily does not read this blog). Â How cool!
Of course people don’t go to the fair for stands and vendors. They go to the fair for rides!
And there were plenty of rides to choose from! However, our favorite part of the fair? The food! We decided to go for the funnel cake, and it was freakin awesome to watch it being made!
And it was freakin delicious too! I got mine with cinnamon and honey. Â First time ever having a funnel cake and it won’t be the last!
All in all the fair was a blast. Â Some good old time fun!
So the other night I was minding my own business when I get a tweet from a Bozemaniac saying that there is going to be an amazing show at The Filler on Wednesday and I should check it out.
Well now, usually Wednesday shows areÂ not my thing because a) its a school night and b) I assumed good bands play on Friday or Saturday.
I’m apparently completely wrong.
But I clicked on the link anyway. Â And I was introduced to the beautiful and talented April Smith!
If you haven’t heard of April Smith I highly recommend you check her out. I knew I had to see more, and this being her last show in Bozeman until 2013, I grabbed my favorite Bozeman photographer and headed to the Filler!
There were two other bands playing before April Smith and the Great Picture Show. Â Panther Car and Blue Voodoo, who are both fabulous local bands. Â And of course The Filler provided the great party atmosphere that I love!
The crowd that came out for April Smith was a great one, and true April Smith fans. And April Smith herself was down to earth and great to talk to!
While I could have asked for more dancing from the fans, I was fine rocking it on the dance floor anyway while April rocked on stage!
If you haven’t heard April Smith’s music or voice, I highly recommend you go check it out. I was able to snag some video at the concert for a sneak peak. She is amazing live and I’ve been listening to her non stop since Wednesday night!
So the other weekend I got invited to a very small school fundraiser for a middle school – err, well, it is theÂ elementaryÂ school AND middle school for this town about 15 minutes from Bozeman, MT.
The fund raiser was an auction for various donated items so the kids could make their annual trip to Washington, DC. Â The place was pretty busy for a school event. It looks like the whole town showed up!
There were two types of auctions going on. Â The silent auction, where you need to be the highest price, usually the last one to bid. Â You simply wrote it on the yellow paper with your special auction number.
A lot of great items were up for auction, including ski passes as well as Juliann’s precious custom metal work!
While the silent auction was going on, weÂ receivedÂ excellent service from the school kids themselves. Yep, they were actually working for their donations!
When the food was served everyone was hungry, so long lines were formed! Luckily we were with some locals and knew when stand up and wait so it wasn’t so long
After dinner, the live auctions started! This was very cool. All the items were laid out in front so potential buyers could check them out. My favorite? The gun. Yep, at a school event, they were selling a gun. Rock on Montana!
They also had a smoker and half of a bison! The bison I actually wanted to bid on, but the price was over $300. Â I so wish I had that money to spare, and the freezer space!
For the live auctions they had a professional auctioneer. Â He looked like a cowboy too!
I wish I had video of him auctioning. Â I actually did, but it looks like I’ve deleted it! It was a very cool experience, and lucky he wasn’t going too quickly so after a few minutes someone new (like me) could grasp it.
I hope the children managed to raise enough money. It was a great night and a great auction!
So with my move to Montana, I knew I would want to hunt here too.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have to do anything to be able to hunt except live in Montana for 6th months. Since I was born before 1986, I didn’t need any hunting course or any training!
However, I am all for being safe, so I decided to take the Hunter Safety Course. Â Which, by the way, is 100% free. Paid for by extra taxes on ammo and firearms. Right on!
The course was taking place at a middle school in Belgrade, Montana. We headed to the cafeteria, and I was surprised how many children were present!
We watched a video on hunter safety that was pretty hilarious. Basically it was kids not being safe, and a kid got shot. Don’t do that children!
We received a lot of free reading material as well about safety, which was geared towards children. But not necessarily unhelpful!
Afterwards we headed to the classroom. Again, I was surprised how many children were present! Apparently, you can start hunting at 12, and many of the children in the course were 11 years old!
Our instructors, George and Bonnie, Â had 50 years of hunting experience each. And the nice thing was that they completely volunteered their time to teach us about hunting. They didn’t get paid for any of the hours they worked with us. Pretty impressive.
Just a note, the guns in the classroom were not real guns. They were all decommissioned guns for the course.
While me and my brother were snickering in the back during the video because of how childish it was, we were quickly out of our elements when it came to gun education.
And the 11 year olds were way moreÂ knowledgeableÂ about the fire arms.
So what exactly did we go over the 5 days in the classroom?
- The four rules of firearm safety: Always treat every firearm as loaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction, always know your target and beyond, and always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
- Parts of a firearm
- General hunting rules and regulations (and that you should read the regs for the hunting year!)
- How to be a safe hunter
- Where to shoot an animal for a quick kill. How to gut it.
- How to avoid bears and be on the look out for animals that may smell a fresh kill
- What to do if you get lost and how to avoid hypothermia
We also went over how to hold a gun and how to prove it before passing it off, which is what Bonnie is doing here.
It was very interesting to see the young children holding the firearms, especially when the firearm is bigger than them!
We also went over the four shooting positions: prone, sitting, kneeling, standing. Â Here is a young boy in the kneeling position, taking aim.
On Wednesday a game warden came in to discuss some of the regulations with us. She was very informative and I learned a lot of rules I didn’t know. Like the fact it is illegal to shoot from a road!
On Friday we took the written test. There were about 80 questions we needed to answer, multiple choice, true and false, and we had to write out the four hunting rules. I got a 96%. Yes, I missed a few questions!
Saturday was the big day though. It was the field day, where we went through different stations learning about hunting. We had to dress in hunters orange (by law) and carry around an unloaded weapon to show we knew how to handle it safely.
The first station was about where to shoot, tracking a shot animal (following the blood), and then learning to tag it. This station was with the best instructors ever (our instructors), George and Bonnie.
The next station was about the animals we would hunt. There were a lot of furs to show us the difference and how they look.
The instructor here went over the difference between grizzlies and black bears, and a bit about which animals we could shoot, what needed tags, and what was edible or not. Â Well, all of it is edible, just not all of the meat may taste good!
The bear paws were very interesting as well. Grizzlies have huge claws which aren’t good for climbing, unlike the black bears. Â You can also drive a straight line through a black bears print, unlike a grizzlies, which is more curved.
We also went over animal horns and antlers, etc. It was all very interesting!
The next station, which I have no pictures for, was the shooting station. Yep, we got to shoot .22 rifles, in all 4 positions. My favorite? The sitting position!
Afterwards, we moved on to the truck/rancher station. This was very interesting.
First, we learned how to load a gun into a truck safely. Making sure the muzzle was always pointed in a safe direction (aka, not at somebody). Â The rancher station was the best though.
How it works in Montana is that state land anybody can hunt on. Private land, you have to ask permission. So there was an instructor being a grumpy old rancher whose land we want to hunt on.
It was great to watch the kids try to ask him to hunt, and him giving them a hard time. The main points? Be kind, beÂ persistent, and explain to him you are helping manage animals. Oh, and being adorable never hurts!
The very last station was the one I was most nervous about. Shot gun station! Now I’ve never shot a shotgun before, and we were aiming at clay pigeons flying through the air!
As the children went before me and missed every single clay pigeon, I was feeling more confident that if I missed, I wouldn’t look like a complete fool. But, I must have had some beginners luck because I got my first two clay pigeons out of the three, woot!
And guess what. I passed the course!
Now, apparently hunting is a bigÂ controversialÂ here in Montana.
So a small disclaimer.
I don’t like hurting animals. But I do like meat. And I respect animals enough to let them roam free. Â I use all the meat, I don’t hunt for sport, I think it is only fair to hunt if I do eat meat, it is extremely organic, and it is a part of the circle of life.
I’m a big tree hug-er, and I like to hunt.
Time to get crazy!
So in Montana, the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day is Butte.
So Butte we headed!
First off, for St Patrick’s Day you have to dress the part. Right down to your toes.
We got there at about 4pm, and the party was already way under way. So underway that the whiskey was already out and about!
And the trash cans were already full… of beer cans!
Our first stop was.. The Dublin! Guess what. It’s an Irish pub!
It was loud, dark, and packed with green inside.
Pretty fun party, but, no beer on tap! What? They apparently they didn’t have time for tapped beer. Lame. We grabbed a Guinness and then left. Â Yep, St Patrick’s Day in Butte is the one day you can drink on the street! Â And there were plenty people on the street!
Next we headed to a place where I could get some good beer on tap (yes, I’m a beer snob!)
And where was this? At the Quarry Brewery!
They dig beer! And this place wasn’t lacking in St Patrick’s Day festivities! Â There were lots of green tutus…
And crazy green heads floating around in the crowd…
And of course drunk Americans signing the national anthem (because that is so Irish!) while standing on tables!
One of my favorite parts was an American tradition I hadn’t had for more than a decade. The jello shot.
What fun! I took that shot like an expert. And boy was it strong!
Unfortunately we were only allowed 3 beers, so off we were to the next stop. But wait, what happened here? Â It’s not a party until your cheap heel breaks!
That’s ok, I wasn’t angry. I was as cool as a cowboy!
No worries! It was time to head back to the street. It was getting dark but the party was just started.
We, however, are old and tired bunch, so we headed home. It was definitely an experience! I’m so glad I had my favorite Bozeman MT photographer with me to take fabulous pictures, and a great DD! Thanks guys for an amazing time!