Madison County Fair – the fun after the storm


Twin Bridges will prove that you can’t keep a good community down by putting on a series of events this week, despite getting hit earlier this month by a devastating storm that brought down trees, tore off roofs and left the town without power for more than 24 hours.

“We have a great community and people just stepped up,” said Dana Escott, manager of the Madison County Fair, which will proceed as planned, with no events cancelled, today through Sunday, despite the August 1 storm mangling an aluminum set of Fairgrounds bleachers and hurling it into the arena. 

“We had fifty people out at the Fairgrounds helping the morning after the storm,” said Escott, who said thanks to their efforts and the efforts of many others in the community, the annual Madison County Fair will proceed as planned, today through Sunday at the Fairgrounds and various other locations in Twin Bridges, with no events cancelled or even scaled back.

This year’s Fair will include, among many, many other things:

*A 4-H Dog Show today at 9 a.m. in Riverside Park which will be answered by a 4-H Cat Show starting at 3:30 p.m. in the Jeffers Building.

*Madison County Barrel Racing starting tonight at 6:30 p.m.

*Helicopter Rides from Snowy Owl Aviation throughout the day today, tomorrow, Friday and Saturday in Riverside Park.

*The Jacobs Livestock NRA Rodeo at the Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

*A Friday 9 p.m. concert by The Cropdusters in the Beer Garden.

*Motorcycle stunts performed by Play With Gravity, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

*The Twin Bridges Volunteer Fire Department’s Annual Pancake Breakfast, starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday in the Fire Hall on Main St.

*The annual Parade down Main Street, starting at 10:30 a.m.

*The Fourth Annual Demolition Derby at 2 p.m. at the Fairgronds.

This year’s Fair is also hosting the first Music Fest, which will take the stage on Thursday in the Jeffers Building. 

The Music Fest will feature a set by Bozeman’s Boss Falcon at 1 p.m., an acoustic set by On Tap at around 4 p.m., the Twin Bridges group Muddkikker at around 6 p.m. and Helena’s 1980s tribute band Metal Steel, who will storm the stage at about 9:30 p.m.

“It’s gonna be a fun and loose atmosphere for all ages,” said Music Fest organizer/promoter and performer Shawn Kelly.

“We want people to come check out our music and check out the Fair,” said Kelly, who plays guitar and sings in Muddkikker, which also features his 11-year old daughter, Kiki Kelly, on bass, and son Eddie “Caveman” Kelly, 13, on drums.

“We play straight up rock—good old fashioned, down and dirty rock ‘n’ roll,” said Kelly of Muddkikker, which came together about two years ago.

“I started to teach my boy to play drums, and my daughter said she wanted to play bass. We started just goofing off, playing together, and all of sudden I realized, ‘this is the best band I’ve ever been in’, recalled Kelly, who said he’s played in bands almost his whole life. 

“I’ve never had this much fun in a band. Some people teach their kids to work on cars, I taught mine to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Kelly also had high praise for Metal Steel, which he describes as a 1980s tribute band out of Helena.

“There won’t be a song they play that you don’t know if you were around during that time. I’ve seen a lot of these type of tribute bands all over the country and these guys blow them all away. They have a guitar player named Andy Rose who is just phenomenal.”

Tickets for the Music Fest are $10 in advance and 15 bucks the day of the show, and will qualify you for the electric guitar giveaway during the Muddkikker set.

“I just wanted to do something different for my hometown and for the Fair,” said Kelly, who was born and raised in Twin Bridges.

“This is a great town. Just look at how it responded to the storm. If you hadn’t heard it had happened, you could look around and not tell that it happened. In Twin Bridges, we all pitch in to help and we look after each other.

“And Dana does a great job with the Fair.”

Escott passed on the credit to others who helped her put on the Fair, including Hannah Konen, Abby Williams, Paige Phillips, Morgan Martin, Bob Lancaster, Teri Larsen and Jimilea Grose.

“They’ve been here all summer putting in the effort to make sure this happened.”

For more information about the Madison County Fair, August 14-18, in Twin Bridges, go to and click on  Departments, then Fairgrounds and Fair Pamphlet.