Fireman’s Ball vittles table.The winner is selected at the Fireman’s Ball.

Fireman’s Ball celebrated Kentucky Derby theme

Event a fundraiser for Ruby Valley’s fire departments

TWIN BRIDGES – An action-packed Kentucky Derby theme was the hallmark of the Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Fireman’s Ball at the Round Barn in Twin Bridges on Saturday, May 4. 

Two people brought the event together: Lacey Wood, the historic Round Barn manager, wanted to create a derby-style party in honor of the 1889 Kentucky Derby winner, Spokane, who trained in the barn. Joy Novich, Twin Bridges Community Association event coordinator, suggested a Fireman’s Ball Fundraiser could benefit all members, businesses and communities of the valley. Together they pitched the Kentucky Derby theme.

A figurative horse race took place in the Round Barn, where Fireman’s Ball attendees placed “bets” in jars representing the real horses in the Kentucky Derby. The winner would receive the results of the 50/50 raffle “horse race”.

Because in the real Kentucky horse race, the horse that crossed the finish line first – Maximum Security – was disqualified for interference, the Round Barn 50/50 raffle ticket was picked out of the jar for the winning horse, Country Horse. With a 1 in 65 chance, Jackie Bevans’ ticket was drawn.

Pig Out BBQ’s Jason George and Troy Martin, two Twin Bridges Fire Department volunteers, started smoking meat for the event before dawn Saturday morning. 

Community businesses from around the valley donated pies and cakes for party-goers to bid on during the silent auction. Carol Wilcox from High Tower Ranch and the Old Hotel had the highest selling cakes. RW Outdoors from Sheridan donated a 6.5 Creedmore rifle, and Hamilton Ranch from Twin Bridges donated half a beef to the auction. Mike Clark won the rifle and Linda Hamrock won the beef. 

Mad Hatters from Twin Bridges, Ericka Kirkpatrick and Shiela Massar, judged a hat contest. 

Alexis Berger fashioned a fireman’s hat to take first prize in the home-made hat contest, winning a Canty Boots gift certificate. Kiley Martinell won the Classic Hat division with a rich-colored peacock flower design.

“That was one of my favorite things, seeing how people dressed up,” Christina Rae-Holland, who helped put the event together, said.

Guests raised their champagne glasses to toast the fire chiefs and volunteers who make up the firefighting teams in the valley. 

Sam Platts and the Great Plainsmen provided the music for the event, which had dancers burning up the dance floor, according to Holland.

“The great thing about putting this event together was hearing about how the departments have really saved the day on multiple occasions,” Holland said. “From a grain fire put out in Silver Star, forest fires that were getting too close for comfort last summer, to tipped over cattle trucks on the highway… we really all benefit from their services.  Hearing their stories reinforces their heroism.”

At the event, fire departments from Alder, Sheridan and Twin Bridges expressed their need for volunteer firemen to train for service. Volunteer firefighters expressed their gratitude for the event.

“For the volunteer hours that we put in, it made us feel very appreciated,” Twin Bridges’ fire department volunteer Jennifer Konopacki said. 

The Ruby Valley Chamber plans to make the Fireman’s Ball an annual fundraiser. The chamber, a member-based organization, works with local businesses to build a stronger community through events that serve everyone.

For more information, contact Sara Gilman at 406-842-5239.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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