The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Indoor event center receives holiday gift from Chinook Area Chamber


January 10, 2018

Hayley Yost, Treasurer of the Chinook Area Chamber of Commerce, presents a check to Fair Foundation members Laura and Dennis Kleinjan. The area chamber donated nearly $3400 raised during the most recent Festival of Trees. The Fair Foundation has raised enough money to begin site preparation for the 100 x200 foot metal building that will be erected just east of the current rodeo grounds at the Blaine County Fairground.

In mid-December the Blaine County Fair Foundation announced plans to begin site work on a new indoor event center at the fairgrounds. The 100 x 200 metal building will have a dirt floor and can host events varying from barrel races to car shows. The county received the new metal building from Malmstrom Air Force Base through a federal surplus program that makes equipment available to local governments. The Fair Board created the Fair Foundation so donors could have a process for making charitable contributions to support projects at the fairgrounds.

Late last year the pad site, where the building will be erected, was laid out just west of the George Ortner arena. The arena is the area in front of the grandstand and the new indoor event center will be positioned to the east so it can be accessed from pens at the rodeo grounds or from nearby barns. The Foundation has raised the $20,000 needed to complete the site preparation and work should begin this spring when the weather is more accommodating.

The Chinook Area Chamber of Commerce recently donated nearly $3400 raised through the most recent Festival of Trees event. Each year the Chamber designates one or more charitable groups to receive the proceeds from the festival. Laura and Dennis Kleinjan were on hand to accept the check on behalf of the Foundation. Laura is the Foundation Treasurer and Dennis is a member of the Foundation. She said, "We appreciate the support from our local chamber. These funds will all be used toward completion of the indoor event center." Hayley Yost, Chamber Treasurer, presented the check on behalf of the Chamber.

The Kleinjans said the new indoor event center "is not just for livestock events. We can foresee where any number of events could use the indoor center from gun and car shows to 4-H gatherings and events needing to be out of the weather. It will expand the season for events we can host at the fairgrounds."

In early December the Foundation received an anonymous "challenge grant." The donors of the challenge grant specified that the $1000 would be given only if the amount was matched by additional donors. In this new year a $500 donation was received from Bill Cowan through the Browning Kimble Foundation. Dennis Kleinjan said, "With this latest donation we have doubled the amount of the original challenge grant with matching donations. That $1000 challenge grant has resulted in $3000 to the project. We're hopeful the challenge grant will continue to be matched. The financial response to the project has been really gratifying."

The Foundation has already sought and received two community development grants, one each from Triangle Communications and Northwest Farm Credit Services. Laura Kleinjan said the group also made a grant application to the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development but the grant recipients have not yet been announced. A raffle, run by the Foundation just before the Christmas holidays, also netted some funds for the project.

Some employers will match a gift given by an employee to a qualifying charitable organization. These matching programs are often described in employee benefit packages or on a company website. Check to see if your employer offers a matching grant. It could increase the value of your gift if you wished to support the indoor event center.

You can make a tax deductible contribution any time to help erect the new indoor arena. Make checks payable to the Blaine Country Fair Foundation and note if you want the money to be used toward the indoor event center project. Mail to the Fair Board Foundation at Box 1207, Chinook, Montana 59523. You can call 945-1118 for information about making a gift or helping with the efforts to secure the new indoor facility.


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