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An unfinished event 

The turnout for last night's High Plains Bookfest in Billings has to be termed a disappointment. For the gala reading featuring Mark Spragg, Marcus Stevens, and Pete Fromm, I'd estimate the crowd in the Alberta Bair Theater was about 60.

Despite their far-smaller populations, I honestly believe the event would have done better in Livingston, Red Lodge, or Miles City.

Corby Skinner and his raft of volunteers want to make this an annual event. But they do too much work to be putting it on for so few people. At minimum, I think they should change the date -- who wants to spend two days indoors in July? (Or visit Billings in July?)

But for everyone who missed it: Spragg's reading from his forthcoming novel An Unfinished Life was a knockout. As Fromm said, this is a story about the West that's so good it doesn't have to be mythologized.

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