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Sip 'n Dip launches contest to find new musical performer

Sip ’N Dip Lounge at the O’Haire Motor Inn
"Piano Pat" Spoonheim performing at the Sip 'N Dip Lounge in Great Falls, Montana
Sip ’N Dip Lounge at the O’Haire Motor Inn
Posted at 9:58 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-17 10:10:32-04

GREAT FALLS — The Sip 'n Dip lounge in Great Falls on Thursday launched a contest to find a new musical performer. The lounge is known for its tiki theme and "mermaids" swimming in the pool behind the bar - and of course, "Piano Pat."

Sip 'n Dip launches contest to find new musical performer

Pat Sponheim, the iconic entertainer who passed away in May, had been behind the keyboard belting out favorites at the Sip 'N Dip since 1963. Pat was one of the reasons that the Sip 'N Dip was named by GQ magazine in 2003 as the "#1 bar on earth worth flying for" - coupled with the near-equally iconic mermaids behind the bar.

A website called has been created for people to submit applications, and for people to view the submissions.

The website pays tribute to Pat and says that was an amazing woman - but they don't want another Pat, because "honestly, we can't fill her shoes."

Applicants are not limited to only playing the piano, but there are two limitations for applicants: "You and your instrument need to fit into the space and staff prefers: no bagpipes, accordions, or drum sets."


  • AUGUST 25: Submissions (including videos) are due by 5 p.m.
  • SEPTEMBER 2: Finalists will be notified.
  • OCTOBER 5-6: Finalists perform for the judges.
  • OCTOBER 8: Winner's first official performance at the Sip

There will be four judges. One is actually a husband and wife team - country music performer Aaron Tippen and his wife Thea (a Great Falls native). Also on the panel is Sandra Thares, who is the general manager of Sip 'n Dip; and Jim "Sarge" Sargent, a popular radio host in Great Falls. The fourth judge has not yet been chosen.