Published on Wednesday, July 19, 2017
This photograph shows race horses running full speed down the home stretch and towards the finish line at the Custer County Fair in Miles City. This particular year the Custer County fair brought the excitement of a horse race, packing the bleachers and fence-line full of cheering fans.
The first fair in Custer County was held in October of 1890 and offered a large cash prize for many equine events including trotting races, free-for-all, military races and steeplechase. At this time Fort Keogh was very active and there were many soldiers who thought they could turn the race in to a grand competition. The races brought together the community of rodeo stars and military men for 3 three days full of competition.
Horse races are no longer an event at the Eastern Montana fair but the spirit of horsemanship stays alive in Miles City. The town has many events throughout the year celebrating the areas diverse equine background including the world-famous "Bucking Horse Sale."
The photograph simply titled "The Stretch" was taken by L.A. Huffman between 1890-1930. Huffman arrived in the Miles City area in 1879 and was post photographer at nearby Fort Keogh. He saw the change in the west from the decline of the great buffalo herd all the way up to the first streets in Miles City. He photographed the beginning, the heyday and the end of the open range days in Montana.
Categories: Life Out West, Montana Historical Society