Weekend Rundown

Friday already? Lots to do this weekend in Southwestern Montana so here we go.


Friday July 17th

9th Annual Madison Duathlon 8AM to 11 AM

Olympic Distance Duathlon

Run: 3 kilometers

Bike: 40 kilometers

Run: 10 kilometers

Second Leg of the Madison Trifecta​ (a.k.a. Trifecta World Cup - Yellowstone)


The original Madison Duathlon (bike/run) started out as a natural expansion of a good idea (i.e. the Madison Marathon), but it quickly became a good idea on its own. It was an A to B that started in Ennis right near the banks of the Madison River and then went up and over the mountains to Virginia City. It was a great route and many duathletes who have competed in the Madison Marathon say they had more fun on the duathlon.​


Not to screw with success, but we have a new route and new format starting in 2020. First, it will be an Olympic Duathlon. This means a run-bike-run race at distances of 3K-40K-10K.


The start and finish will be at Lion's Club Park in Ennis. The first run will essentially be a sprint of sorts. The route comes out of Lion's Park, crosses the Madison River, and then comes back. The cycling route is entirely on Montana Highway 287. Cyclists head towards Virginia City. They go up a mammoth hill, down the other side for a bit, and then turn around. After a short uphill, they have an incredible downhill in full view of the Madison Range. They re-enter Lion's Park, jump off their bikes, change their shoes if necessary, and do a 10K loop run with the finish line also in Lion's Club Park.


The cycling leg, unlike before, is entirely a road race. This means road bikes and, for some of you, serious speed. The hills though are huge so it won't be easy.


The new format and date (Friday morning) is to accommodate the plans for the Trifecta World Cup. The duathlon is the second leg of the Madison Trifecta. The first leg is Thursday evening (Madison Triathlon), the second leg is this duathlon, and the third and final leg is the very next morning with the Madison Marathon.


You get all three races in, and you're a TBA- Total Bad Ass!

If you get just this duathlon in, you're a bit of a bad ass as well. At the very least, you get to participate in Montana's only Olympic duathlon. That alone is pretty bad ass!


Free Yoga in the Garden 12 PM to 1 PM Free gentle yoga in the garden, taught by yoga instructor, Joan Hendrickson. Enjoy the beautiful creekside setting, and living things growing all around. Children welcomed.


Sista Otis 6 PM Join us for live music on the patio at 6pm with Sista Otis!!! Enjoy cold beverages, dinner and awesome entertainment 🎤 ⛱ 🎶


Fundraiser for Jack “Inky” Knapp 5 PM Our dear friend Inky was the victim of a devastating fire earlier this week in which he lost everything. Please join us on Friday for some live music and a raffle!


Country Session 9 PM to 12 PM Cole Snider: LIVE!!! July 17th starting at 9 P.M.!!! Jackson Hot Springs Lodge


Saturday the 18th



The Covid 19 3-D Archery Shoot The Beaverhead Archers will be hosting a fun shoot out in Glen this weekend. Is going to be a lot of fun. Lots of cool shots and a great way to get out of the house!


Restorative Horsemanship 10 AM Ready for a rejuvenating, unique experience? Upper Canyon Outfitters is proud to present Restorative Horsemanship Wellness Week. This will be a week balanced with structured, restorative activities and relaxing free time. The week's activities will be goal oriented in creating an authentic connection with an individual horse. Horsemanship skills and mindfulness skills will blend to allow participants to experience a genuine connection with not only their horse, but also the fellow participants. The class will be capped at 12 as to allow for individualized instruction. It is important to note that while no horse experience is required, participants will be learning intermediate horsemanship skills and will be asked to follow a comprehensive agenda each day. Mornings will be spent participating in Equine Facilitated Learning activities that focus on learning how to become a horse’s leader and provide comfort for a prey animal. Participants will learn grooming, groundwork, handling and tacking skills. The afternoons will be spent participating in a variety of activities including trail rides, guided fly fishing, guided hikes, history tour, picnics and 4x4 tours, all of which will take place in one of the three mountain ranges surrounding UCO.

Our chef will be planning a special menu for this week of wellness, focusing on delectable, nutritious meals and snacks. UCO also plans on providing plenty of free time to enjoy the daily happy hour with specialty cheeses and wines highlighted nightly. In addition, an early morning yoga class will be provided to help participants prepare for a full day of activities. The week will conclude with a celebratory dinner, a slideshow of the participants accomplishments and live music under the stars.

This experience provides participants with the perfect opportunity to deepen a connection with horses, humans and self. It is an opportunity to take a holistic vacation and return home feeling restored and rejuvenated.

Goals: Mindfulness, connecting to nature, authenticity, rejuvenate, connect


Dillon Farmers' Market 9 AM Hand made and home grown local specialties offered by up to 20 vendors


RMBA / Cmrcha Joint Show 6 PM

--> RMBA Ranch Horse Competition classes.

-->The CMRCHA offers NRCHA classes and some non-sanctioned classes.

--> Visit each assn website for show bill & entry.


13th Annual Madison Marathon 8:30 AM – 6 PM One of the Highest Road Marathons on Planet Earth

Full and Half Marathon

Final Leg of the Madison Trifecta​

Since the inaugural race over Labor Day Weekend in 2008, the Madison Marathon has grown by leaps and bounds. Every year, we host runners from around 40 states and several countries. Nearly one-half of the runners come from outside of Montana which is pretty good considering we have just 200 slots open. The 200 runner cap is due to US Forest Service policy which must regulate the number of runners on public land because the ecosystem on the Gravelly Range is quite pristine. When you see the route and its surrounding environment, you’ll understand that there is a lot to protect.​


Every year, the Madison Marathon hosts Marathon Maniacs and 50-Staters. We also get a lot of runners who have made the Madison their first marathon along with many, many return runners (some for the 5th, 6th, and even 7th or 8th time).


Why the success? We take no credit for being good race organizers. We try hard and mostly succeed in doing what we say we will, but it’s not us. It’s the scenery. It’s the elevation. It’s the wildlife (a bear ran in front of a runner one year and there was a wolf on the route a few years ago). It’s the camaraderie. Since there are only 200 runners, you have a chance to meet nearly everyone. It’s the chance to join an elite and unique experience. It’s the extraordinary opportunity to run a marathon at over 9,000 feet on a good quality gravel road under the Big Sky of Montana.​ It’s the fact that the starting line of the Madison Marathon is at 9,250 feet above sea level and just 13 states have mountain peaks higher than this starting line.


It’s the fact that you are almost guaranteed to get a PW because of the high elevation and the four to five-mile uphills and downhills that never dip below 8,500 feet. It’s also the fact that you won’t care about getting a PW because this marathon really is all about the experience. It’s one of the Highest Road Marathon on Planet Earth (up until a couple years ago we were THE HIGHEST). Long distance running just doesn’t get any better than this.


You want to truly change your life and high five angels. This is your race.


Street Party 5 PM to 11 PM Please join us for a street party. Live DJ music and a cornhole tournament! Engine 18 will be serving food.


Sunday July 19th


Copper K Fiber Fest 8 AM to 4 PM Join us at this premier fiber event in whitehall. Classes, vendors, food....oh my!!


6th Annual Big Sky Marathon 8 AM – 11 AM

Full and Half Marathon race

The Big Sky Marathon is the result of our success with the Madison Marathon. We held our Inaugural race in 2015 to appease marathoners from around the world who were screaming for a double (both full and half) in Montana. To non-marathoners, this is completely counter-intuitive. After all, why would you host a second marathon immediately after one of the most difficult marathons in America? To the likes of Marathon Maniacs and other running groups, it makes perfect sense. Why run just one marathon over a weekend when you can run two? Why not earn Four Stars as a Marathon Maniac over the course of 48 hours vs. possibly earning just one star and only if all your other stars line up?​


We couldn’t answer the why not questions other than to say, ‘Yeah, why the hell not?’


For 2020, we're introducing a new route. It's still one hell of a downhill. Give or take it has a net drop of 3,600 feet. Turns out, it’s the Second Longest Downhill Road Marathon on Planet Earth, or at least in the top five.


The new route will once again start up on the Gravelly Range Road. The full marathon will start at approximately Mile 17 of the Madison Marathon route. Then, runners head downhill to the Madison Valley floor. Once on the valley floor, runners will no longer run along Varney Road. Instead, they will turn right at the T-junction, cross Varney Bridge over the Madison river, and run out to US Highway 287. That will be the turn-around point. Runners return to the Madison River and finish at Varney Bridge.


So for full marathoners, it will be about 22 miles out and four miles back. For Big Sky Half Marathoners, the starting line will be still up on top but not quite as high as before. It will be around five miles further down the route from the Big Sky Marathon starting line. It will then be a straight 13.1 mile shot to Varney Bridge. None to little traffic. Only a mile or so of pavement instead of more than 10 miles of pavement. And, the race ends on the tranquil waters of the Madison River, not a town park.


A good means to describe the route in terms of its challenges and level of difficulty is to break it down into three sections.

Section One – This is from the starting line to the point on the route where the significant downhill begins. The starting line is at approximately 8,500 to 8,700 feet above sea level. The full marathon start is at about Mile 17 of the Madison Marathon. The half marathon start is about 1.5 miles from the intersection of Road 292 and 290. The runners will not drop in elevation too significantly over the first five to eight miles (depending on which race you’re running). There are few or no uphills on this section of the route. It is essentially flat and on top of the Gravelly Range though everything is trending downhill. This entire section is within the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest. As runners get close to the border of the National Forest, there will be long, gradual downhills of two to three miles in length crossing enormous bowls and meadows, but they will not necessarily be quad burners.


Section Two – This is the quad burner section. It begins almost immediately after runners leave the National Forest. Runners will cross a cattle guard gate and then the next several miles will be a quite steep downhill. This is a series of switch backs that drop the runner from 8,500 feet to 6,000 feet in a relatively short distance. The “official end” of this section is when the road hits a t-junction after going through most of the Bar 7 ranch. The estimated distance is about seven miles.


Section Three – This section is a flat area that gradually declines in elevation as it gets close to the Madison River. The lower part of the Bar 7 Ranch is approximately 6,000 feet and Ennis and the Madison River is at about 5,000 feet. The first few miles will be on gravel road, but eventually the runners hit pavement near the Ennis Fish Hatchery turn-off. Once pavement is hit, runners are quite close to Varney Bridge and the Madison River (the finish line). When runners reach a T-junction, they turn right to Varney Bridge. The half marathon runners cross the bridge and run into the Varney Bridge Fishing Access to the finish line. The full marathoners continue on this road out to Highway 287 which is about four miles away. This section is entirely on gravel road and crosses an enormous open space area with fantastic views of both the Madison and Gravelly Range. At the highway, runners turn around and run back to Varney Bridge and the finish line.


That is how you run one of the longest downhill road marathons on Planet Earth!


Do not forget with the ever changing COVID-19 situation some events may be cancelled. Call or check them out online before you head out. Remember Montana we do have a face mask mandate in place for counties with 4 or more cases. Get out and enjoy your weekend.







Subscribe to Our Newsletter

  • White Facebook Icon