If you want to experience one of the best views in Missoula, without climbing to the "M", you'll just have to attend the rodeo at the Western Montana Fair.

That's because the completion of the year-long replacement of the old grandstands at the Missoula County Fairgrounds has also completed a favorite "perch for people" who not only watch to catch the cowboys and cowgirls but also a cool breeze.

It's one of the first things you notice about the new, concrete grandstand that will be finished in time for the fair in August.

READ MORE: All New Features at the 2024 Western Montana Fair

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An Expected Benefit

"What we thought was going to be some of the harder-to-sell tickets that were up at the top on our new standing concourse are actually the most phenomenal," explains Western Montana Fair Events and Operations Manager Billie Brown.

"There's a breeze that comes through up there because of the roof. I can't explain it, but when you go up there, it just really exceeded our expectations."

A Big Help for Some Rodeo Fans

In the past, older rodeo fans, or those with some disability had a tough time finding seats to see the action. But that's changed with a whole new section down front.

"The new arena has twice the ADA requirements that regulation wants you to have, Brown says. "So they'll be those first rows are entirely dedicated to ADA access. And along the stairs we do have, for anybody who has mobility challenges, there are some other seats that are identified."

Closer to the Action

In addition to replacing the aging, open wood grandstands, the new structure is completely covered, with the design allowing people to be right in front of the rodeo, and other events like concerts.

"So this new arena will offer a much more intimate experience for the fans. You will be right on top of the action," Brown says.

A Product of Partnerships

The new "Clouse Bauer Arena" was made possible with a generous donation by Missoula Concrete Construction. 

Brown says other partners like Stockman Bank, Clearwater, the Friends of Doran Parkinson,  the Gallagher Foundation, Epic Steel, Murdoch's, and a number of individuals helped complete the $5-million project.

RELATED: Western Montana Fair's Unique Trash Handling Inspires Others

The Amazing New Missoula County Fairgrounds Grandstands

From up close setting to rodeos and other events to the expansive views from the top, the new grandstands at the Missoula County Fairgrounds are perfect for everyone

Gallery Credit: Dennis Bragg

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