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Red Lodge ready for Fourth of July weekend

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Posted at 11:21 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 12:12:57-04

Even with two wildfires and Stage II fire restrictions starting Friday, people are ready to celebrate Independence Day in Red Lodge.

Fire crews continue to work on the Robertson Draw Fire south of Red Lodge, which is at 65 percent containment. The Crooked Creek fire to the east is at 72 percent.

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In Red Lodge, Tourists enjoy the Montana Candy Emporium all year.

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"We're selling candy. We're not selling Maytags," said Keith Olson, a clerk at the candy emporium. "Everybody likes candy. Everybody eats candy. We've had record days already. And even last year, pandemic notwithstanding, we had a record summer."

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KTVQ photo

Olson lives in Arizona and comes to Red Lodge every summer to help his friend, who owns the store.

"Everybody's happy," he said. "They're buying candy. In that regard, you know, it's very rewarding."

Olson said it's busy at other businesses in town.

Those in Red Lodge are expecting even more on the Fourth of July.

"It's a very patriotic town, all the time," Olson said.

A big part of the patriotism and the Fourth of July in Red Lodge is the Home of Champions Rodeo.

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KTVQ photo

"I don't think there's anything more American than rodeo," said Shari DeSaveur, promotions and marketing director for the rodeo. "The patriotism, when the Star Spangled Banner plays, Pledge of Allegiance, when Old Glory goes in the arena on horseback, the whole crowd just starts standing up as that flag moves in front. There is not a more patriotic audience than your rodeo audience."

Even with all the fun, there is the need to be careful with two wildfires nearby.

"There's some hotspots, but they're paying very close attention to it," said Carbon County Commissioner Bill Bullock. "They still got some aircraft here for support and water drops and retardant drops. They're prepped for anything that comes up."

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KTVQ photo

Bullock said commissioners have worked with the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce to have the fireworks show.

"It should come off without a hitch," Bullock said. "We should have a normal show. The resources are there. Fire trucks personnel. They're going to surround that thing and make sure nothing bad happens. We're ready for the worst and we're hoping for the best."

The county is not prohibiting fireworks, but Bullock recommends also being prepared.

"Be careful," Bullock said. "Make sure you've got plenty of water. If you decide to light a sparkler or a bottle rocket, make sure you've got a water truck, a tender, some buckets of water, a shovel, something like that. Everybody's got to be responsible for their decisions."

And they're all back and ready to celebrate.

"Everybody's ready to rodeo," said DeSaveur.

"I think we all want to get back to normal and celebrating their independence and what America is. I think that's most important and best thing we can do." Bullock said.

No estimates are available on how many will be in Red Lodge this weekend, but ticket sales indicate the rodeo may draw up to 5,700 each day.

The Home of Champions Rodeo started Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The parade runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at noon.