By Leslie Kilgore and Mira Brody
Big Sky’s Biggest Week is produced by Outlaw Partners, publisher of Explore Big Sky.
The Big Sky’s Biggest Week continued July 18 with Community Day and Mutton Bustin’, a family-friendly event that included pony rides, carnival games, mutton bustin’, and the third annual Dick Allgood Community Bingo Night.
Every year Bingo Night raises funds for one local nonprofit that is making a difference in the Big Sky community and this year, the proceeds from the night went to Wellness in Action, an organization dedicated to providing much-needed services, including counseling, education programs, scholarship opportunities for summer and winter camps, and support groups focused on substance abuse and suicide prevention.
“WIA’s entire mission aims to support Big Sky now and into the future,” WIA’s Executive Director Allison Bradac said. “Mental health has been identified as a primary concern and priority for Big Sky to address, and Wellness In Action is the only local nonprofit that provides a coordinated system of mental health support to the community. As needs continue to increase with the growth of Big Sky, expansion of our services is critical so that individuals and families can thrive. Fundraising nights are critical for organizations like ours because they bring the community together for a great time while giving back.”
Families of all ages gathered under the PBR tent to yell “BINGO” for the win and raise money for WIA on top of a 50-50 split raffle. The winner of the $1,275 raffle, longtime Big Sky resident Shana Seelye, generously donated her winnings back to WIA.
“Seeing all those who came out to support Wellness in Action is truly incredible,” WIA Community Health Worker, Hope Finch said. “The support received tonight matters. It is this support that enables our organization to help meet the real and pressing needs our community members face. Sustaining our existing needs and continuing to provide these essential services will require ongoing community support and commitment. The showing at PBR’s Bingo was overwhelming and we look forward to continued community engagement and support.”
Preceding Bingo night was a family-favorite, Big Sky Community Day, which filled Town Center with a cacophony of activity as families of all ages participated in carnival games, pony rides with Eagle Mount, a petting zoo, ice cream cones and mutton bustin’ competition. Forty young, aspiring cowboys and cowgirls filled mutton bustin’ slots by the afternoon and lined up in anticipation for their chance at arena glory.
The rules of mutton bustin’ are simple—after the chute opens, the young rider must hang onto the running sheep for the longest of their peers for the highest score. Professional bull rider Dakota Luis greeted competitors at the gate offering words of encouragement. A popular event, mutton bustin’ provides the younger members of the community a taste of rodeo life.