A group of Helena’s youth interested in journalism is covering the Last Chance Stampede and Fair this week.
From a mobile newsroom donated by Montana RV Center and a booth inside the main exhibit hall, the teen news crew will write stories, shoot photographs and produce videos live on site. One story and accompanying photographs will be published each day on the Independent Record’s Montana page, while the remainder of the content will appear exclusively online at helenair.com/stampede.
This year’s Stampede Standard staff is made up of Kyle Carson, Brendan Fox, Olivia Keith, Hilary Nelson, Liz Samson and Ashleigh Taylor.
Carson is the eldest of the crew at 19. He recently graduated from the Project for Alternative Learning. Carson completed his senior project working with Independent Record staff learning about journalism. Carson became increasingly interested in the profession through that experience and is eager to learn more, which will help him pursue a career in writing.
Fox, 17, will begin his senior year at Capital High School next month. He’s a musician and plays a laundry list of instruments including the bass, guitar, piano, viola and mandolin. He plans to study music after graduating. Last year Fox took a photography class and applied to the Stampede Standard to learn more.
Keith joins the staff with experience as a writer for Helena High School’s school newspaper, The Nugget. She likes research and says it’s what determines newsworthy events.
Nelson, 17, applied to be a photographer on the staff, but says she’s willing to try her hand at writing news stories and producing videos. A Helena High senior, she is active in sports and clubs through school.
Samson is interested in photography, but is a qualified writer as well with honors classes in language and English. The 17-year-old Helena High senior owns and operates a small business called Blue Horse Solutions through which she trains colts and cleans stalls, and says she does all sorts of manual labor.
Fifteen-year-old Taylor last year attended Broadwater High School, where she wrote for the school newspaper and took photographs. She says her favorite subject to capture is sports.
“I love capturing images that others do not necessarily see initially,” she said.
Taylor is enthusiastic about learning to operate a video camera and produce videos.
Carson is the first of the group to admit he’s not much for the rides at the fair because they make him ill.
Fox enjoys the rodeo. He said he has a strong appreciation for rodeo culture.
The movement of the fair intrigues Samson — the horses, rides and people.
“I like the collision of everything,” she said.
Keith started going to the fair in 1998 and is drawn to the art exhibits.
“I’m fascinated by creative, talented, inventive people who work and live in Lewis and Clark County,” she wrote in her application. “The work demonstrated at the county fair always inspires me to be more creative myself.”
Her favorite aspect, however, is the food. She is looking forward to peaches and cream snow cones, funnel cakes (heavy on the powered sugar), and cotton candy.
Nelson loves the atmosphere because, she says, it’s great people watching.
Taylor moved to the area from California two years ago and has attended the fair both summers. She likes the rides, music and art displays.
This is the 50th annual Last Chance Stampede and Fair, and features a carnival, three nights of PRCA rodeo, and demolition derby. The fair begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and runs until 11 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gate admission is $3 per person per day, although children ages 12 and under are free.
The Stampede Parade is scheduled for noon Saturday, July 31, in downtown Helena.
Visit www.helenair.com/stampede beginning Wednesday to see all the work generated by the Stampeded Standard staff.
Fairgoers are also invited to join the conversation on Twitter (follow @helenastampede), text or
e-mail photos to only12dour@
photos.flickr.com or send videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Alana Listoe:
447-4081 or alana.listoe@