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     The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) announced today a $100,000 challenge gift made by Klein and Karen Gilhousen of Copper Spring Ranch. The gift kicks off the Founders phase of the MCHF & WHC Homesteaders Campaign. 

     The Homesteaders Campaign will fund the construction and endowment of the hall of fame’s cultural education center.  As the statewide headquarters for the MCHF & WHC’s educational programing, the center will inspire future generations through the examples of those that have contributed to our rich cultural heritage. 

      “We understand the importance of creating momentum to launch a fund raising campaign,” said Karen Gilhousen.  “We are excited to realize the building of this center as a tribute to those that have come before us and as a resource to the next generation as it carries on the great traditions of our Montana way of life.” 

     “History often overlooks the hardworking members of our communities who have selflessly contributed to the day-to-day improvement of our hometowns while providing leadership for the next generation,” said Director of Finance Aaron Lyles.  “The hall of fame exists most notably to celebrate and pass forward these examples of leadership.”

     Board member Mike Gurnett observed, “This is truly an idea for which the time has come.  Each day we lose more of our heritage and it is our responsibility to act now.  How many of us regret not capturing the stories of our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors before they were lost forever?”

     Officially designated by Montana state legislature, the MCHF & WHC is a 501c3 non-profit organization.  Having selected the strategic location of Big Timber Montana for its building site, organizers have worked with nationally renowned firms Storyline Studio and ConsultEcon to complete the exhibition design and operations planning for the center.  The announcement of the Homesteaders Campaign marks an important milestone for the organization as it works to realize its vision of building Montana’s premier western heritage destination attraction.

     Gilhousen adds, “It is our hope that this initial challenge encourages others to become examples of leadership, and to inspire those who cherish our Montana way of life to invest in the promise it holds for the next generation.”

     For more information about the Homesteaders Campaign and the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center, visit www.MontanaCowboyFame.org or contact Aaron Lyles, Director of Finance at (406) 600-8231