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By Andi Bourne

Traditions Continue at Old West Christmas Fest


December 7, 2017

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Billy Cyr brought his horses and wagon from Lincoln for wagon rides during the Old West Christmas Fest in Ovando Dec. 2.

OVANDO – "Santa is coming, Santa is coming," yelled a young girl running down Main Street in Ovando Saturday, Dec. 2. Escorted by Powell County Sheriff's Deputy playing "Here Comes Santa Claus," Cowboy Claus rode into Ovando on his trusty steed St. Nick for his 16th annual visit. Cowboy Claus was just one of the attractions again this year at Ovando Old West Christmas Fest.

Prior to Cowboy Claus' visit, visitors put their taste buds to the test at the annual cookoff sponsored by the Blackfoot Valley Cattlewomen. Five beef casseroles were on the plate and they all drew four votes each for the best.

"This is the first time this has ever happened," said Barb McNally, president of the Blackfoot Valley Cattlewomen.

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Roese Whitten of Drummond was one of more than 50 children that visited Cowboy Claus and told him their Christmas wishes. The number one request this year was a pony. Each child received a candy cane and token to the Missoula Carousel.

Eloise McNally's name was drawn out of a hat and she received the grand prize, a $25 gift certificate to Diamond Bar Meats in Missoula. However the eternal bragging rights can be shared among all the entrants: Karalee Slaght, Margaret Bauer, Terry Sheppard and Angela Williams.

The tradition of Tom Black and his ax throwing was kept alive by his brother-in-law Pete Stamp and Stamp's nephew John Stamp who came from Seattle, Wash. for the event.

And true to tradition, Jean Pocha led the gingerbread house making; Lynne Murphy offered face painting; Blackfoot Community Church had crafts and games for children; Clowns Karalee Slaght and Cindy Francis returned this year for the annual Christmas Snowdeo; Billy Cyr from Lincoln offered horse-drawn wagon rides; and no one left hungry after Ruth Weis's burritos, Jessie Geary's Navajo Fry bread tacos and goodies from Destinations for Education.

Organizer Kathy Schoendoerfer said next year the event will be under "new management." Everyone is encouraged to stay tuned for a new, fresh Old West Christmas Fest that may return to one day Thanksgiving Weekend.


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