Population swells in Dupuyer for annual Grizzly Day


THE REAL THING  — Russ Talmo from the FWP was closest to the theme of the day, Grizzly Day, with a culvert bear trap and a Grizzly pelt inside it. He also had it on display after the parade was over.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler





If even for just a day, the population of Dupuyer more than quadrupled on Saturday as the small town, split by Hwy. 89, celebrated their annual event, Grizzly Day.

The 20-year-old celebration is a day of family fun and a parade that closes down Hwy. 89, a major artery to Glacier National Park for the “Big Parade.”

Leanne Hayne, one of the hearty 55 souls of Dupuyer, commented, “We pulled off another great day.”

Ali Newkirk, one of the day’s coordinating organizers told the I-O when asked, “We didn’t have grand marshal(s) for the parade this year, we just went for it.”

Parade organizers also have a different twist for parade entries. Instead of ribbons, all who are in the parade enter their name and after the parade, there is blind drawing for top three spots and a cash prize is awarded.

Bill Bennel of Dillon with his horse took first place, Mike Briggs of Dupuyer was second and Bernard Widhalm of Valier with a red corvette placed third.

There was no parade theme, but Mike Talmo, a Montana FWP bear specialist had an entry that was a bear trap with a Grizzly  pelt-skin inside which was about as close to Grizzly Day as one could get.

One of the fun entries was an ATV driven by Luke Grow from Idaho and his passenger, Logan Gunderson of Kalispell.

Attached to the front of the ATV was a big wired cage with a chicken in it.

They were promoting chicken bingo, a fund-raiser for the local community hall.

Luke’s grandmother, Hootie Dodge of Dupuyer collected bets for where the chicken would deposit some poop on numbers on the bottom of the cage.

The day began with a firemen’s breakfast at the school and then after the parade the action moved to the town square where there were various demonstrations, among them John Balkenbush with a ranch demonstration and Talmo talking about, what else? Grizzly bears and craft vendors.

The Dupuyer Cache, which opened on Grizzly Day in 2008 was a popular spot with its big porch and the offering of free bottled water.

Other popular events included the Great Duck Race, later in the afternoon and greased pig contest.