Community readies for end-of-season party

Stephen Kalb-Koenigsfeld, Pioneer Editor

There are certain aspects of life in Sweet Grass County that have more to offer than meets the eye. So, when a group gathers Friday night for the third annual Kickin’ the IRS Barn Dance & Chili Feed, they’ll be celebrating more than a semi-pseudo-end to the calving season; they’ll be rejoicing in tradition. 

Riza Gilpin of Tumblewood Teas had this brainchild a few years ago; she wanted a way not only to get back to the roots of what it meant to come from an agricultural background, but also get together with some of the hardest-working people in Sweet Grass County.

“There’s nothing more joyful for me to do,” Gilpin said. “It’s an innocent form of entertainment, where people can join together, enjoy the music and laugh together. To me, it’s unique and special and these people are my heroes.”

It’s been months in the making, but when the sun begins to set April 13, the lights will go up and the music will ring in a new season in these parts. 

“When my husband and I moved here, the thing we embraced and fell in love with was the community of Big Timber,” Gilpin said. “I’ve always been historically interested in the West and how people have survived the hardest of times. I’m kind of a traditional person and like old traditions, and the idea of people gathering after difficult times or seasons, and coming together as families and communities, to let it all out.

Gilpin said she recognizes the hard work, struggle and tiresome task many in the community go through, throughout a long winter. And with the barn dance, Gilpin said it’s a unique and exciting way to help celebrate with those around the county.

Open Range, a band out of Livingston, will help feed the acoustic appetites down at the fairgrounds, while restaurants from all over the county will donate all of the food for the party. Local participation has been and continues to be a cornerstone of the yearly get-together.

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