HOME GROWN, FARM RAISED — Jacob and Courtney Cowgill stand with their daughter Willa in the high tunnel on their organic farm outside of Conrad. Besides the high tunnel, they start their crops in a green house and have about 20 acres of land to plant in. I-O Photo by Deanna Wakkinen
By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter
Plant a seed and it will grow. For Jacob and Courtney Cowgill, their seed is a locally owned and operated organic farm just outside of Conrad.
Montana born and raised, Jacob grew up on Red Butte Lane near Sand Coulee and Courtney spent her childhood on a farm between Dutton and Brady. Returning to their roots, they had never envisioned themselves as farmers, but here they stand before me with dirt stained skin and Muck boots.
Prairie Heritage Farm is a small scale, diversified farm that, to Courtney, is like the kind of farm that existed in this region 50-100 years ago. This farm is focused on three main enterprises: organic vegetables, organic heritage pasture-raised turkeys and heritage and ancient grains.
When you think of an old-time local fair, you might imagine neighbors winning a ribbon for their famous blueberry pie, hand-stitched quilt or prized cow.
All of these things are still possible for those who exhibit their wares in the Open Class contest at the 70th Annual Marias Fair in Shelby the third week of July.
The Open Class provides an opportunity for any resident of Pondera, Toole, Glacier or Liberty counties to participate in the fair. Exhibits are broken into categories including agriculture (beef, sheep, dairy goats, poultry, waterfowl, rabbits, wool, and farm crops), home and garden (home arts, culinary, garden crops, and floriculture), art (creative arts, photography, wood, metalwork, and crafts) and FFA projects.
Each major department is broken into divisions. Often, these divisions are used to separate youth from adult and golden age exhibitors, or to separate breeds of animals for fairness in judging. Exhibitors earn premium money by placing in their respective classes. Last year, 150 exhibitors submitted entries in the Open Class division, and almost $3,000 in premium money was awarded.
HAPPY HAPPY — Members of the Conrad Rider Cup spray the Champaign and hoist the cup in victory on Sunday at the PGC. Conrad team members defended their title and get bragging rights for another year as the best golfing team in northcentral Montana. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Destined never to leave, the Rider Cup trophy is staying in Conrad for another year.
The Rider Cup is a 54-hole tournament played between Conrad, Shelby and Cut Bank over two different golf courses each year.
The popular tournament has been played for eight years with the home boys taking three of the last four events. This is the first time Conrad won the title back-to-back.
Winners get bragging rights as to being the best-of-the-best in northcentral Montana, however, the real winner is the youth golf programs in the respective cities.