The Rhoadside Event Center Now Open
Winter 2021 Issue
Huntley Couple Built Their Dream
It has been busy 11 years since Pam Gable took over the Blue Cat Bar & Grill. Over the years she has built it into a business that has fed and entertained folks from Billings to Hardin and from Roundup to Wyoming. Her watering hole is busy. It is one of Huntley’s main gathering spots and the place to be when events are happening.
Thanks to the success of the business and the faithfulness of her patrons, when the lot next to the Blue Cat became available, Pam and her partner, Randy Rhoads, decided to build an event center, believing it would be well used.
“Our community needs an event center,” Pam said. “It’s that simple.”
It proved to be anything but simple. Ground was broken in August of 2019, and when the work was halfway done, the country was suddenly turned on its heel by the pandemic. Materials were harder to get and costs were more than anticipated. The finishing date was pushed back several months and then several more months. Still, that did not stop Pam and Randy from moving forward.
The work was contracted out to as many locals and clientele of the Blue Cat as Pam could use and much of the finishing work was done by the couple and Randy’s brother. They have plenty of stories of how things were done and sometimes redone through the course of construction.
“Pam’s a perfectionist,” Randy said. “She knew what she wanted this place to look like and she made sure it happened.”
The floor is polished concrete, the slick surface a dancer’s delight. It also makes for easy arranging of furniture to accommodate different functions. Using earth-tone colors, Pam wanted the place to feel cozy yet spacious, creating a feeling of warmth in the winter, but cool in the summer.
Upper mezzanines flank each end of the building, making great use of the space and allowing for extra seating. Rebar railings were rusted and clear-coated to give a clean industrial look that allows patrons to easily see the activity below. Tucked beneath one of them is a stage large enough to accommodate large bands or a wedding party. There is a large upper deck outside the south-facing mezzanine that overlooks a frequently used roping arena and a covered patio just outside the main floor, which opens to the area that will become a courtyard.
An astute businesswoman who admits she sometimes lacks a filter, Pam expects a lot of her employees, but she is also very generous with them.
“I have amazing help,” she said. “And I try to take care of them. I need to stay open and in business so that my employees can make a living, too. We’re in this together.”
But underneath that sometimes tough exterior is a tenderhearted woman with a sense of humor. She has a reputation for clever sayings and political posts that light up her front sign and keeps her community on its toes.
“I do manage to get myself in trouble now and then,” she laughed.
Already being used, the Rhoadside Event Center (a play on Randy’s last name, Rhoads) made its debut in the fall of 2020 with several events. At Christmas, the couple hosted the Cubby’s Christmas Tree, an annual event in memory of a young man in the community killed in a car accident. The tree was covered with cards listing the needs of underprivileged children in the area.
“I have a heart for kids,” Pam said. “All kids, 4-H, FFA, Boy and Girl Scouts. But the Christmas tree really gets to me. Kids ask for things like a haircut and food. It’s heartbreaking.”
The event has gone on long enough that some of the first recipients have come back to bless the current ones.
“It just shows the power of community,” Pam said. “It’s how we do things down here. Randy and I can’t wait to have our place full every week to share events with our community.”
To learn more about the Rhoadside Event Center, call 406-348-2404 Or visit them on Facebook.