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Gianforte Announces Spirit of Montana Recipient: Chris McGuigan of Plains

April 12, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte recognized Chis McGuigan of Plains with his Spirit of Montana commendation for his more than two decades of service and outstanding dedication to improving the Sanders County Fair and Rodeo.

McGuigan has served on the Sanders County Fair Board since 2001 and became its chairman in 2011. Under his leadership, the fairgrounds have been upgraded, earning the rodeo wide acclaim for its excellence. In fact, the annual rodeo has attracted some of the top competitors on the professional circuit.

Gianforte’s Spirit of Montana is a weekly recognition of Montanans for their accomplishments, dedication, or service. Gianforte highlights the recipient in the U.S. House of Representatives and personally contacts the honorees.

Gianforte encourages anyone to nominate Montanans for the Spirit of Montana award by contacting his office at 202-225-3211 or by e-mail at https://gianforte.house.gov/contact/email.

Gianforte’s statement in the Congressional Record follows:

RECOGNIZING CHRIS McGUIGAN OF PLAINS

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Chris McGuigan of Plains whose work with the Sanders County Fair and Rodeo has attracted the world’s top professional competitors.

After years of volunteering at the fair, Chris began serving on the Sanders County Fair Board in 2001 and became its chairman a decade later. In 2017, Chris was appointed fair manager, a position from which he recently stepped down. Over the years, he estimates he has volunteered at least 1,000 hours to help make the fair and rodeo a success.

A retired Sanders County sheriff’s deputy with 25 years of service, Chris helped lead many improvements to the fairgrounds, including upgrading the livestock facilities, improving the rodeo surface, constructing a 4-H horse arena and crow’s nest, and making the arena ADA accessible.

The vision and accomplishments of the Sanders County Fair Board under Chris’s leadership have brought the fair and rodeo wide acclaim for its excellence. In fact, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association seven times recognized the rodeo arena surface as having the best footing in the region.

“Hands down, the Sanders County Rodeo is one of the top-notch rodeos in Montana, and Chris has been the right-hand man there for years,” said Lori Franzen, co-owner of Powder River Rodeo, which produces the rodeo in Plains as well as 90 professional rodeo events across the country. “Last year in the bull riding event alone, 10 of the top 15 cowboys in the professional circuit were competing in Plains.”

Madam Speaker, for his more than two decades of service and outstanding dedication to improving the Sanders County Fair and Rodeo, I recognize Chris McGuigan for his spirit of Montana.