And They're Off . . . to the Pig Races?
Bored with the rodeo? Horse racing seems ho-hum? Just head down to the Bear Creek Saloon & Steakhouse (tel. 406/446-3481; www.redlodge.com/bearcreek); behind the bar is Bearcreek Downs, site of the famed local pig races.
After the famous fires in Yellowstone in 1988 created a slow tourist season, the Bear Creek Saloon & Steakhouse owners decided that a pig race might generate some visitor interest. There was some question over whether the races were legal, but the Montana legislature stepped in and said pig races were okay by them, provided the proceeds went to charity. So Bearcreek Downs porkers are sending Carbon County students to college -- more than $75,000 has gone for scholarships so far. Pig races are held Thursday through Sunday at 5pm, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Even if you don't come for the races, the Bear Creek Saloon & Steakhouse is a great place to eat. It's an authentic Western tavern, and the grub is mostly beef. Prices range from $8 to $27, and food is served Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 10pm. The saloon is 7 miles east of Red Lodge on County Road 308.