CofC SPEAKER – Mark Staples, former assistant Pondera County Attorney and top notch entertainer will be the keynote speaker at the CofC annual banquet, Feb. 24. The theme this year is "Musical Entertainment."
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Jot down Feb. 24 on your calendar. That is the selected date for the 45th Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet and awards night.
The seasonal event, one of the biggest social affairs of the year, takes place at Norley Hall and will have a jovial hour at 6 p.m. with the banquet and dinner to start at the 7 o’clock hour.
Special presentations at the CofC dinner include the Business Person of the Year and of course the Unsung Hero award, which is kept as secret as possible right up to the presentation.
Last year’s winner was Janie McFarland, a business teacher at Conrad High School.
New this year is an award for a group or an organization that has been outstanding and needs to be recognized for their outstanding contribution to Conrad.
The deadline for award nominations is Jan. 31 and they should be directed to Judy Larson at the CofC office at 7 - 6th Ave. SW, Conrad 59425.
This year the CofC has been able to have a special person return to Conrad to highlight the banquet evening.
Former Deputy Pondera County attorney Mark Staples will be the headline speaker and entertainer at the CofC feast.
Many will recall that Staples lived in Conrad and practiced law here. He served the county from 1982 to 1987.
During this time, he put in two terms as president of the Pondera Golf Club.
He headlined at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls as an entertainer/singer and wrote a musical about Conrad titled Harvest, which went on tour nationally, performed by the Montana Repertory Theatre.
It won the state finals and placed fifth nationally, in the still-running “Country Show Down” music competition.
Since leaving Conrad, Staples has practiced law in Helena and gained prominence as a lawyer/lobbyist for a great many clients and the Tavern Association.
He has continued his fund-raising shows as well and last year, in recognition of his raising hundred’s of thousands of dollars over the years for Montana civic and charitable causes, the UofM-Missoula conferred their Outstanding Service award to him at the Grizzly Homecoming.
Several years ago Staples “retired” from public speaking and entertaining to spend more time with his family in Helena.
However, he tells the I-O, “I’m making an exception for Conrad because the area is so dear to my heart.”
For further information about the annual dinner, contact Judy Larson at the CofC, 271-7791. The I-O will have further updates as the annual event gets closer.