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vintage Whoop-Up rodeo photo
vintage Whoop-Up rodeo crowd on the hill photo


The Conrad Lions Club was Chartered on December 14, 1928.  As a service organization, the Lions needed a way to finance all the activities they wanted to sponsor.

That's when the idea of Whoop-Up Trail Days began . . . 

The Whoop-Up Trail Days celebration was started in 1939 as a "Days of 49" type celebration with a colorful western themed parade and gambling.  This idea "caught on" and grew for several years, pouring a lot of money in the coffers of the sponsors.  All of these funds were put in a trust and used only on community betterment projects.

This type of celebration had to be discontinued, because it involved certain games of chance which were in conflict with state and local ordinances.  As the celebration and its sub-legal activities provided the major share of the profits, the Lions were forced to look for some other type of western entertainment that would be typical of our area and have the same appeal.  View 1953's Whoop-Up Queen & attendants from the Great Falls Tribune. 

In 1959, the directors of the Conrad Lions Club appointed a committee to select a site, build an arena, and organize a rodeo.  The committee visited the Oral Zumwalt Arena near Missoula, took measurements, and patterned the Conrad arena like it ... an arena at the bottom of a hill side and the hill used as its grandstand. Conrad's rodeo site was chosen next to the Dry Fork creek on Hales-Elliot property.  From that point forward, the Conrad Lions Club Whoop-Up Rodeo grew in size and scope. 

historical photos above provided by Janice Farkell


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