The Western Montana Fair and Rodeo, Missoula

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: February 15th, 2023

In Missoula, around the time of mid-August, the Western Montana Fair and Rodeo comes to town. This is the much-anticipated local event that brings with it the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of rodeo events, the fun of carnival rides, concerts, arts and crafts, animal events, and plenty more.

Missoula residents will gear up for six days of fun-packed activity in all, with the fair activities and events typically running from Tuesday through Sunday.

Guide to the Western Montana Fair and Rodeo in Missoula

event first established

When was the Event First Established?

The fair dates back some 120 years and has its origins in the Missoula Fair and Racing Association which was formed in the late 19th century with the intention of hosting a fair. After choosing an initial site, it was decided a couple of years later a new site was necessary for what was to be an annual event.

The land was purchased 1.5 miles northwest of Missoula in 1888, and this site incorporated a speed line that ran to the edge of the fairgrounds. This new site was owned by the federal government and was used until 1914.

Eventually, it was settled to host the event at the present-day Missoula County Fairgrounds after County Commissioners had toyed with the idea of purchasing grounds for a permanent fair site.

This eventually happened in 1913, with what is known today as the Missoula County Fairgrounds being purchased in line with plans for the annual fair.

What Kind of Activities and Events is Featured?

activities and events are featured

The event features 4-H exhibits and livestock, carnival rides, concerts, commercial displays, a Demolition Derby, and of course the Stampede PRCA Rodeo.

There are also fine arts and crafts, culinary displays, and food vendors galore, plus plenty more besides. The Missoula Stampede Rodeo is held Wednesday through Friday and generally begins around 7:30 pm.

You can check out the full schedule of events from the last festival in 2022 HERE.

Entry Fees and Tickets for the Event

The times of the event will vary with every program. Check listings closer to the event for full details.

Carnival hours:

  • 5 pm-midnight on Tuesday
  • Noon-midnight, Wednesday through Friday
  • 11 am-midnight on Saturday
  • Noon-10 pm on Sunday

Carnival Entrance Costs: A Carnival Day Pass will typically set you back $35, while a Carnival Week Pass will be $80.

The Rodeo and its accompanying events all carry separate price tags in the region of $10-$16.

  • Ranch Rodeo, $10
  • PRCA Xtreme Bulls, $16
  • PRCA Pro Rodeo, $16
  • Stampede Showdown and Demolition Derby, $16

The Venue for the Event

venue for the event

The venue is the entire space of the Missoula County Fairgrounds. If you leave your car at a local park-and-ride and take a free bus ride to the grounds you’ll get discounted admission.


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About The Author

Mark Barnett

Mark Philip is a writer and lifestyle enthusiast from the Midlands in the U.K. With a background in martial arts and fitness, Mark headed out to Bangkok, Thailand where he now lives and works. Mark has authored e-books, articles, and blogs across a wide range of topics for commercial, educational, factual, lifestyle and leisure-based purposes.

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