Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Zoie Koostra

Valley Residents are Real Winners in "Best Of" Competition


The second year of the Best of the Valleys competition proved how highly the members of the community think of the businesses in the area. The competition was tight, with some businesses winning by only one or two votes. While many businesses upheld their 2017 title, four categories traded the top spot.

This year there were 20 categories. Thanks to readers suggestions from last year the categories of Best Convenience Store and Best Car Care were added. The category for Best Health and Fitness was changed to Best Health and Wellness to encompass head-to-toe body treatment.

All categories were write-ins and the views expressed in the results reflect the voices of our readers, not the Pathfinder staff.

In addition to the new categories the voting moved from August to May. By publishing the 2018 Best of the Valleys before the Fourth of July, visitors will have the opportunity to experience the best the valleys have to offer this summer.

While Seeley Lake residents make up the bulk of our readership, it was a pleasant surprise to see how many times Ovando and Condon businesses either made the top three or were within a few votes of the podium.

The Stray Bullet and Trixi's were just out of range of the Best Breakfast and Best Dinner under $20 by a couple of votes. In fact, only six votes separated the top four places for the Best Breakfast.

Hungry Bear Steak House in Condon held onto its third place spot for the Best Dinner Over $20.

Mission Mountains Mercantile in Condon tied with Cory's Valley Market of Seeley Lake for third place in the Best Convenience Store. Blackfoot Commercial in Ovando was only a couple of votes behind.

Painter Diane Whitehead of Ovando took second place for Best Artist along with sculptor Will Kats of Seeley Lake.

There were more suggestions for categories to include next year including Best Teacher. If you would like to suggest categories for next year please email with "Best Of" in the subject line.

Last, but not least, THANK YOU for all the responses and support for the Best of the Valleys Readers' Choice Awards. The "Best Of" contest could not happen without community participation.

Congratulations to this year's winners and we at the Pathfinder sincerely hope our readers will visit the Best of the Valleys.



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