State Fair Race Meet opens Saturday with jockey shortage


With the exception of the pandemic year of 2020, the Great Falls Turf Club has been running the State Fair Race Meet at Montana ExpoPark since 2013, and it has been a qualified success.

So much so, that the race schedule for the ninth season, which begins Saturday, has been extended to three weekends instead of two at the Montana ExpoPark Grandstand, giving them seven race days in all, including the first three days of the Montana State Fair (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29-31).

Sparky Koettke is the president of the Great Falls Turf Club, and he said getting the races set up to go at post time (1 pm Saturday) can be a challenge.

“It never gets old, and it never seems to go at an even flow,” Koettke said. “It seems like, every year, we have this problem and that problem getting things set up and ready to go.”

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