Boots were scootin' at the Cowboy Ball

Apr. 25—Lake County Commissioner Bill Barron called the Cowboy Ball the first party of the summer season, and this year's party was well-attended with more than 600 people sporting boots, jeans, hats, and, for the ladies, big turquoise, stepping into the huge, heated tent at the fairgrounds.

Polson Fairgrounds Incorporated hosted the yearly event last Friday evening, when the work week was finally finished. Festivities started with a social hour for mixing, mingling, scoping out the silent and live auction items and collecting a bid number.

The Perfect Shot Tavern from downtown Polson provided the no-host bar so guests could enjoy a cocktail, visit with friends and make new ones.

Guests could also purchase tickets to win a fully stocked "booze wagon," assembled by PFI, or for a handmade quilt by PFI member Billie Wall. Kari Burland's ticket was drawn for the booze wagon, and Brooke Lund took home the quilt.

For gun lovers, there was a pistol to be won. Ten good-looking PFI jackets were sold, and each jacket purchaser received a number, which was placed in a drawing for the pistol. Winner Dakota Desjarlais threw his hat in the air to celebrate.

Little Montana Catering supplied the prime rib, Jo Durant's kitchen crew served up the fixin's, and dessert was self-serve cake. Many volunteers help the event run smoothly, according to PFI members.

As dinner wound down, auctioneer Bo Carpenter started selling auction items, joking with the crowd as he found new homes for items donated by gracious, good-hearted business owners and community folks or made by PFI members.

After the auctions, Sho-Down raised the roof on the big tent until 1 a.m. with country music for dancing or just listening.

When the smoke cleared, the silent and live auctions made about $40,000. Funds go toward keeping the fairgrounds maintained, repairing and adding to the infrastructure, producing the Mission Mountain Rodeo and other events, and developing a stage/amphitheater down by the river, according to PFI directors Una Rose Graham and Jodi Seifert. A long-term goal of the group is to build an event center at the Polson fairgrounds.

Now PFI members can rest a bit before it's time to fine tune details for the Mission Mountain Rodeo, slated for June 28-29.