And we have a winner outside of Montana!Â And no, it’s not me.Â I didn’t get that call advising that my name had been drawn in theÂ Win a Ticket to See Willie Nelson in Choteau, Montana drawing.Â
And I’veÂ got my airplane ticket purchased, bags packed, ready to go…
This lucky fan is going, too……….Â
On Sept. 9, Willie Nelson will play a concert at Randall’s Island Park in New York City.
It’s a short two-hour drive for Emily Baker, who lives in Saugerties, the town known for hosting Woodstock ’94. Instead, the 27-year-old begins her trek across the country today to see Nelson’s free July 3 concert in Choteau.
Thousands of postcards were mailed to Choteau vying for 200 tickets that were set aside for those who live outside Teton County. Baker’s name was plucked out of a garbage bin in the third of four drawings, making her the lone person outside Montana to win two tickets so far.
A famously anonymous benefactor paid for the country legend to play at the annual outdoor concert, with the caveat that Teton County residents get first chance at the 3,200 seats.Baker said Thursday that she planned to meet a friend from Alaska in Choteau and just roll the dice that someone would sell them tickets. When she got the call, all she had to hear was “I’m calling from Choteau,” to know she won.
“I started screaming ‘I won! I won,’” she said. “I’d rather see a smaller show because you’ll be able to see and hear it better.”
Baker mailed 53 of the 60 postcards she bought. Her strategy was to send cards in bunches, timing it so they would arrive just before the drawings and therefore land on top of the pile.
“I don’t know if it really worked, but that was my plan,” she said.
Baker has never been to Choteau, but has visited Montana a lot, most recently four months ago. Knowing that the hotels in town are all booked, she’s planning on bringing a backpack and camping on the Rocky Mountain Front with her dog.
She’s plans on taking the train to Shelby and hitchhiking to Great Falls and Choteau.
“We weren’t sure if she was going to come,” said Julie Barcus, one of the Jaycee concert organizers. “It was kind of neat. She’s a huge Willie fan.”
Today, the last 50 tickets will be given away.
Since the free concert was announced, the Choteau post office has been flooded with postcards, setting aside a special bin to collect them. In addition to New York and Montana, postcards came from Alaska, California and Idaho.
Fans will have a few more chances to win tickets as two dozen were handed out to radio stations in Great Falls, Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman and Shelby for promotional giveaways.
The Choteau Jaycees, which is organizing the concert, also have sweetened the annual keg hockey tournament, which calls on competitors to use fire hoses to move an empty beer keg through a hockey goal.
The double-elimination tournament is Saturday, June 30, timed with the Choteau Summer Celebration. The entry fee is $60 for each three-person team with the top three teams getting cash. The winners also get tickets to Nelson’s show.
Registration is from 10 a.m. to noon June 30, and the competition is at 1 p.m.
Additionally, the Rocky Mountain Front Treasure Hunt for two tickets begins today. Treasure boxes with clues and GPS coordinates are placed around Choteau, with the tickets hidden somewhere in town or on the Rocky Mountain Front.
For more information, go to www.rockymountainfronttreasurehunt.com.
Less competitive fans can enter their name between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. June 30, and hope to have their names drawn out of a hat for two tickets. People must be present to win.
The Jaycees also will be drawing the name of one person, who can then select a personal item to have Nelson sign while he’s in Montana. You can enter that drawing in Choteau between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on June 30.
Winners in the latest ticket drawing are: Judy Allen of Potomac, Carol Austin of Billings, Mary Bate of Great Falls, Martin Bell of Helena, Rozane Bischoff of Kalispell, Michelle Burman of Missoula, Marjorie Carter of Simms, Ron and Sandy Casey of Helena, Gloria Davis of Great Falls, Virginia Donnelly of Helena, Shirley DuBois of Shelby, Denise Fyant of Arlee, Linda Fagenstrom of Great Falls, Joyce Gibbs of Missoula, Thom Hughes of Bozeman, Heather Kjerstad of Belgrade, Mona Peshehonoff of Dillon, Joann Spaulding of Whitehall, Stacey Snow of Great Falls, Betty Stine of Kevin, Joyce Thomas of Great Falls, Dottie Thorbergson of East Helena, Beth Windom of Great Falls and Dylan Yonce of Missoula.