Polson Fairgrounds, Inc (PFI) was formed from a branch of the Polson
Chamber of Commerce in 1984, when a group of volunteers devoted themselves to
the preservation, maintaining and improving of the fairgrounds property.
Originally, a portion of the fairgrounds was donated to Lake County in 1938,
with the designation as a "public rodeo grounds" by Hilbert Hanson, a local
business man. The other portion was purchased by Lake County with the help of
county commissioners. At that time it was a much larger parcel of land that
extended all of the way to the old bridge. Over the years, small pieces have
been sold but improvements have been made to the remaining area.
The improvements are much attributed to a man by the name of Les Baldwin.
Baldwin was a rodeo enthusiast that wanted to build the needed facilities for a
rodeo. In order to do this, he began gathering donations from local businesses
around town and in 1939 a rodeo grounds began to take shape. With the help of
many local citizens, a grandstand, corrals, bucking chutes, an arena, as well
as, a race track were built. In 1940, the first "Polson Roundup" rodeo was held.
At the time, the rodeo was on a RCA circuit that included Cheyenne Frontier
Days, the Calgary Stampede and the Pendleton Roundup. Rodeo continued to be a
large event for the area through the years with the devotion of Baldwin who
passed in 1978.
By 1984 the grounds had began to deteriorate and due to the Ronan Fair site
being the main focus for the county, no money was funded to the grounds for
repair. This is when local citizens stepped in and Polson Fairgrounds, Inc (PFI)
was formed. PFI leased the property from the county and began the needed work to
repair the grounds. With the help of fundraising and volunteers, the property
has been self-supporting ever since.
Polson Fairgrounds, Inc (PFI)
PO Box 1243 | 320 Regatta Road
Polson, Montana 59860