There were smiles, silent tears, hugs, videoing and loud cheers from family and friends as 100-plus car show enthusiasts revved their engines together during the first “Live Your Dash Auto Show” on May 7 in Fairfield.
Jason Stott, one of co-organizers of the new event to raise funds for scholarships in honor and memory of Trysten Fellers, told the crowd after the sound and cheering faded away, “Trysten would have loved that.”
“Extremely blessed,” were the words Stott used when reflecting on the day. There was a cross section of people who attended, Stott said. They ranged from Trysten’s family and friends of Trysten’s who knew him in the different phases of his life. There were community members from Fairfield and Augusta, those interested in donating to a worthy scholarship fund, and auto show enthusiasts who love to participate in a good show and even better if it is for a good cause.
“They came to support the cause and because of them, area youth in Augusta and Fairfield going into a vocational-technical field will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships in Trysten’s memory,” Stott said.
Stott, Rene Peters (Trysten’s aunt) and Chelsea Schilling, all of Fairfield, organized the show. There were more than 120 cars, trucks, motorcycles, semi-trucks and campers registered. Most of the license plates were from Teton, Cascade, Pondera and Lewis and Clark counties, Stott said.
Stott explained Trysten was an amazing young man who loved all things loud, lifted and custom. Trysten was only 22 years old when he was killed by a gunshot in a homicide near his rural Fairfield home in May of 2021. “I was a co-worker of Trysten before his death and still work with his dad Sonny,” Stott said. “There was just something between Trysten and me, we just connected.”
“It has been a rough year for his family and all who loved Trysten,” Stott said. “Saturday was good for all of us. It helped mend our hearts just a little bit.”
This all started to add funds to the scholarship fund that was started after his death through a GoFundMe account, said Stott. “His friends and family couldn’t think of a better way to raise money for his scholarship fund, than by having an auto show he’d be proud of,” Stott said. “And boy would he have been proud of this auto show.”
Stott said he would have been excited to raised $5,000 but what was raised just blew him away. “It was just unbelievable,” Stott said.
All totaled, $22,034 was raised from the one-day event. The donations were given in the following ways: $3,060 from the auto registration; $10,009, silent auction; $2,635, backyard pack raffle; $650, 50/50 drawing; $3,420, cash donations including First Bank of Montana’s donation bucket and match, anonymous; and auto show award givebacks; $1,200, Covered Wagon Ranch of Big Sky package; $1,060, from vendors and food.
The face painting raised $261. The funds from face painting went to Trysten’s Helpline Foundation. The Helpline Foundation in his name was started by his grandparents Mark and Karen Hansen. The nonprofit will donate to those who need just a little helping hand, such as an elderly couple who need firewood or a family who loses a loved one suddenly or a hardworking individual or couple who has hit a rough patch. The foundation has given to the Fairfield Food Pantry so far. If there is a family/person who could use a small boost to get them through a tough situation, please reach out to one of Trysten’s grandparents or his aunt, Rene Peters.
The organizers had a long list to thank for those helping with the auto show. Among the businesses they thanked were Fairfield Drug, 7 Electric, Fairfield Fire and Fairfield Emergency Medical Services, AJ Pumping and Concrete, Hot Dang Ninja, Milk & Honey, Cozy Corner and Faster Basset, Teton Tunes, Iron Horse Metal Works, HL Ventures, Choteau Acantha and Fairfield Sun Times.
The list of individuals who volunteered to help is also long and includes family members, friends and community members. Both Stott and Peters said there is no way to thank everyone who helped in any way or donated one of 92 items for the silent auction or raffles. “That doesn’t include those who contacted the drivers about the event and those who registered their vehicles,” Peters said. “We could write an entire page of everyone who helped. If we didn’t name you, it was not on purpose, and please know your help did not go unnoticed.”
The first scholarships will be awarded this year. Stott said it is only fitting the scholarship will go toward someone pursuing a degree in a vocational-technical field.
Trysten was the only son of Earl and Rory Fellers. He was a graduate of Augusta High School and worked in heavy construction with his father and was preparing to take over operation of his grandparents’ hay farm. The message on the GoFundMe page said, “Trysten loved loud trucks, big equipment, the Rocky Mountains, Glacier Park, his family and friends and sharing his infectious laugh. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. Trysten was a proud farm kid who never met a stranger. In Trysten’s honor, his family created scholarships for students pursuing tech or trade school, like he did for welding.”
Stott finished his remarks after handing out the auto show awards by asking the crowd if they would like to do this again next year. “Same place, same date,” he said. If the cheers were any indication, mark your calendar for the second annual “Live Your Dash Auto Show.”
“Lots of people made this possible,” said Peters. “Trysten’s family and friends are very appreciative of the money that was raised to keep his love of helping others alive, and sending young adults to trade schools. We are certain he was smiling and giggling at everyone on Saturday. We look forward to next year.”
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