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History of the Big Sky Horse Park
From what was once a cow pasture and farm land, the Big Sky Horse Park has blossomed into an incredible addition to the Missoula County Parks and Trails Program. Originally conceived as an equestrian facility, the Park is now enjoyed by the entire Missoula and Western Montana Community.
July 1982 The Missoula Horsemen’s Council forms, with two representatives from each of these organizations: Western Montana Quarter Horse Association, Backcountry Horsemen, Five Valley Appaloosa Club, Five Valley Pony Club, MissoulaDressage and Jump Club, Charles Russell Riders, Five Valley Arabian Club, Halter n Hackamore 4-H Club and the Montana Quarter Horse Association.
August 1983 The Council leases 60 acres east and north of a 4-H Arena at the corner of North and 37th Avenues in the Target Range section of Missoula to be used as a horse park.
September 1983-April 1984 The Council builds a 150’ x 300’ outdoor arena at the horse park. The Missoula Vo-Tech Center provides heavy equipment to level arena and build gravel road, which was completed in the spring. A dressage arena is constructed nearby.
April 1984 The Missoula Equestrian Park arena is dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
April 28, 1984 The Council’s first fundraiser, The Missoula Horse Rendezvous, is held at the Missoula County Fairgrounds.
October 1984 A cross-country course is added to the Park.
January 1985 A water well is drilled.
Summer 1987 A storage building is constructed.
1987 The Council is awarded 501(c)3 status from the IRS.
1997 The Council’s Articles of Incorporation are restated and filed with the State of Montana.
Missoula County Parks Department and the Missoula County Commissioners organize the Big Sky Stewardship Committee to oversee and manage the Big Sky Tower Street Complex. The Complex encompasses 160 acres and includes the Missoula Equestrian Park, the Legion Ball Fields, the Little League Ball Fields, the Fast Pitch Ball Field and the Community Gardens.
1999 The 1.7-mile “perimeter trail” takes shape on the borders of the Park along North Avenue, Tower Street and 37th Avenue.
The first “Stalls for the Equestrian Park” fundraiser is held.
2000 The first Flying Colors Mini-Event is held. During the Park’s premiers fund-raising opportunity riders from Montana, Idaho and Washington come to Missoula to compete.
2000-2004 Several more “Stalls” fundraisers are held to fund the MD barns, which were constructed during this period. The stalls allow the Park to host events requiring overnight stays. The stalls also provide horse shelters in times of natural disasters.
2005 The round pen located next to the 4-H arena is constructed.
2007 Construction begins on an additional dressage arena on North Avenue.
2009-2011 The Park’s perimeter fencing is replaced.
Spring 2012 The Western Events Arena is constructed. It includes a 175’ x 300’ arena, additional landscaping and handicap access to the facility.
2012 The original 4-H arena is renamed in memory and to honor Martin Briggeman.