Horse Previews Magazine website - Posted on 07/09/2001; 2:00:00PM.

15th Annual International Fjord Horse Show

Libby, Montana * September 7th, 8th, 9th, 2001

In 1985 the town of Libby Montana was looking for a way to generate some income for the local community, logging was down and the town's largest employer had purchased a mill in St. Regis, Montana. A group of concerned citizens got together to discuss the possibility of having some kind of ethnic festival. The Sons of Norway had been having a festival in the Spring and it was felt that since there's a strong Norwegian heritage in the Northwest that a Norwegian Festival of some kind could be a big draw. From that humble beginning Nordicfest has grown into a 3 day festival with ethnic foods, crafts, entertainment and a parade. It is now estimated that Nordicfest draws 10,000 people to Libby each fall on the weekend after Labor Day.

That first year Bev Tarmina asked if she could ride her Norwegian Fjord Horse in the parade. That lone entry in the first parade has now grown into the largest Norwegian Fjord Horse show in the country. The Fjord Horse show is organized by the Pacific Northwest Fjord Promotional Group, which is a group of Fjord owners, breeders, enthusiasts that share a common interest in the Norwegian Fjord Horse. It has grown into a 3-day show with something for the person just beginning their show career or the very professional show person. We've always stressed safety first and having fun.

Since we've always tried to promote the Fjord Horse breed as a versatile horse, our show offers something for everyone. On Friday mornings we have our Halter Classes. Saturday morning always starts with a large entry in the Nordicfest Parade. We have a police escort from the show grounds to the downtown staging area and then the parade itself and back to the show grounds for lunch and a break for the horses and handlers. At 1pm on Saturday we start our performance classes. Since we charge a small admission fee, we've always felt we have a responsibility to entertain our audience. We offer a variety of classes from the traditional horse show classes like English Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Light Driving Classes, Farm Classes and Costume Classes for the adults, as well as, a separate costume class just for the kids. This year we'll offer a 4 up driving class for the first time in several years. On Sunday our schedule of classes starts at 12 noon.

We have some classes that are just downright silly and fun for the
participants and our audience. Some of the fun classes we've offered in the past have been Pie Eating for the horses, non-traditional barrel race, either ridden or one year it was a driven class, we did a Jousting class one year where the participants speared rings. The fun, silly classes change each year so you never know what to expect when you come to one of our shows. This year we're having a stick horse competition for all the children of Libby. The Nordicfest committee has involved the children of Libby, the kids can make their own stick horse or purchase one, this is one time when "all breeds will be allowed in this one class."

The association between the Libby Nordicfest committee, the town of Libby, and the Pacific Northwest Fjord Promotional Group has always strived to work together to promote all the activities on that 3-day weekend. There truly is something for everyone whether it's the Craft Booths, all of the wonderful food or the ethnic entertainment of the Fjord Horses, come and explore your Norwegian heritage and learn a little bit about this versatile breed of horse in a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest. The dates for this years Nordicfest/ Fjord Horse Show are September 7, 8 & 9. For more information about Nordicfest check out the Libby Nordicfest website. For more information on the Fjord Horse show contact Dennis Johnson 208/772-2903, sprnghillcbs@nidlink.com or Sherrie Dayton 208/623-3600, sunwood@gte.net

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