2015 Living Indutee Jack Briggs and Family
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) is seeking nominations for the 2017 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame induction round. Every year, the MCHF&WHC honors living and historical figures that have made notable contributions to Montana’s western heritage.

"People from across Montana are invited to identify those in their communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the hall of fame" said Mark Larson, MCHF&WHC board director. "Nominations are open and welcome from the public at large."

2017 marks the seventh year the MCHF&WHC will honor living inductees and the tenth year of honoring legacy (non-living) inductees. The MCHF&WHC Board of Trustees will cast votes to select one living inductee and two legacy inductees from each of the MCHF&WHC’s 12 Trustee Districts based on nominations from the public.

Nominees can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels, etc.—anyone or anything that has made a notable contribution to our Montana western heritage. A full listing of inductees from 2011-2016, the 2017 Nomination Instructions, and more about the Hall of Fame induction process can be found online at http://www.montanacowboyfame.org.

If you would like to make a nomination, you must contact the MCHF&WHC at Christy@montanacowboyfame.org or by calling (406) 932-5444 prior to the submission deadline to express your intent to nominate. Nominations must include a cover page, a two-page biography, and a high-quality photograph. All nomination documents must be in electronic format and emailed by April 30, 2017.

The 2017 Class of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame will be announced by press release by July 30, 2017. Winning inductees will be honored at the 2018 Annual Circle the Wagons Gathering.
 
 
“The idea is not to live forever. It is to create something that will.” ~ Andy Worhol

As I was driving home yesterday, we passed our neighbor’s teams of black percherons standing together in the corral. It was said to me, “that is something I could never get into or find the fun in.” And I thought about that, and it hit me hard how much the world has changed into a fast and so-called improved pace of life. And I slowed down, and I smiled to myself thinking, “I could.”

I hear it often. The “I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you hitch a team to feed cows when you have a perfectly good motorized vehicle at your disposal? Why don’t you use a 4-wheeler instead of that cold-backed colt to night check those heifers? Who cares about seeing the Bob Marshall Wilderness from the back of a horse leading a string of mules? What is the point of climbing on that bronc just to hit the dirt short of eight seconds? I don’t get your ways.”

Here’s my answer to that…

I say iron sharpens iron. Sociologists may label the cowboy’s choices a lifestyle. Psychologists may see it as obsessive to worry over critters and hay crops and good horses. Economists just say it’s damn pointless to throw your money and effort after foolishness. But as for the cowboy, well, he just calls it living.

What you get out of life is just what you put into it. And the benefits of being a cowboy, well, words don’t suffice. It’s a life well lived and even harder earned, but it’s tradition and knowledge and heritage. It’s a legacy made of generations of hard living from hard working men and women who carved a life out of the coulees and mountains and sagebrush seas. It’s fixing old, worn saddles and harness, not always buying new. It’s the satisfaction of a well-aimed heel loop on a wily calf to drag them to the branding fire. It’s knowing that young colt is gonna test your mettle, but if you gentle him right, you’ve got a pretty good dancing partner. It’s knowing nothing is going to be handed down to you on a silver platter, and you wouldn’t want it to be anyway. Because the grit in your gut and the try in your soul is what makes the man.

It’s honoring traditions, and taking time to listen to the old men that talk about the days of long ago. It’s considering yourself lucky to look out over a herd of well-matched and bred angus in the heat of summer grazing. It’s blazing new backcountry trails on a fine mountain pony. It’s helping your neighbor come branding time whether the cooking is any good or not. It’s teaching the younger generation the meaning of a little hard work while getting dirt under their fingernails; it’s responsibility and knowing their roots. It’s about having a story worth telling at the end of the day. It’s a legacy.

So, I believe in the old cowboy ways. The things a cowboy has are simple. It’s work ethic, appreciation for land, good stock, a hard-working partner, and good neighbors. These traditions deserve to be preserved and honored. Take the time to visit with an old cowboy or cowgirl. Look around at this Big Sky country with its Charlie Russell sunsets, and be grateful for the cowboy, the Native American, and the land that made them. Is your story worth tellin’?

Happy Trails,
Heather Layman
Havre, MT
MCHF & WHC District 4 Trustee 
Granddaughter of 2015 Inductee Clarence Barron “C.B.” Rich of Seeley Lake, Montana

See Heather's original post on her blog, Cowgirl Ramblings Blog and Photography
 
 
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) honored its newest class of inductees during the 11th Annual Circle the Wagons Convention in Great Falls, Feb. 3-4 at the Best Western Heritage Inn. The weekend events began Friday evening, Feb. 3, with the Welcome Gathering, emceed by District Trustee KellyAnne Terry of Lewistown. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Hall of Fame welcomed 34 new inductees during the morning recognition ceremony and brunch. Over 600 people attended the Circle the Wagons events.

“Family and friends gathered in Great Falls from across the great state of Montana, Canada to Texas, Hawaii to Rhode Island, and as far away as Germany,” said Christy Stensland, MCHF&WHC executive director. “Attendees commented that the history lesson contained in the biographies of the inductees presented by District Trustee Will Rasmussen of Choteau and MCHF President Jeff Bolstad of Lewistown was incredible. Many were grateful for the family reunion opportunity.”

MCHF&WHC board members and trustees representing 12 Montana districts met for the organization’s annual business meeting and trustee gathering. The celebration continued into the evening with dinner, dancing, and a lively auction at the Cowboy Ball. Big Sky Country from Great Falls provided the music and emceeing the event was auctioneer Robert Toavs of Toavs Premiere Auction in Wolf Point.

The MCHF&WHC will announce its 2017 Inductee Nomination Policy and process in the coming week.
 
 
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) extends an invitation to all to attend the 11th Annual Circle the Wagons Convention in Great Falls, Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Best Western Heritage Inn.

“We are excited to be celebrating our 11th anniversary of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame,” said MCHF&WHC President Jeff Bolstad. “We are honored to celebrate those who embody the qualities of our Montana communities and way of life.  If you are proud of your Montana Western heritage and wish to help preserve and pass it on to the next generation, we invite you to join us in Great Falls for this special event."

The Inductee Recognition Ceremony Brunch will begin at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the notable accomplishments and lasting legacies of the inductees to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Tickets are $30 per person. Early registration is recommended as this event sells out well in advance each year!

The 11th Annual Cowboy Ball and Benefit Auction will kick off at 7:00 p.m. This event will feature a Chuckwagon Buffet dinner and live Western music by Big Sky Country. A silent and live auction will feature unique Western items. Tickets to the Cowboy Ball are $75 per person or $570 for an eight-person table.

Register online at www.montanacowboyfame.org, by calling (406) 653-3800, or email Christy@montanacowboyfame.org. Rooms may be reserved at the Best Western Heritage Inn by calling (406) 761-1900.

 
 
Today the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) announced the ninth class of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The inductees were chosen from a field of candidates nominated by the general public. Inductees are honored for their notable contributions to the history and culture of Montana.

“Our volunteer trustees around Montana vote on nominations that come from the district in which they reside,” said Jeff Bolstad, Helena State Farm agent and MCHF&WHC President. “It gives the local communities a strong voice in who will represent them in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to honor those who have made an impact in their part of the state and represent Montana’s authentic heritage for future generations.”

The MCHF & WHC board of directors has designated 12 trustee districts across the state from which up to 20 trustees may be appointed. Nomination criteria established by the board for the Class of 2016 inductions allowed the election of up to one Living Inductee and two Legacy Inductees from each of the 12 districts.

The 2016 inductees into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame are:

  • District 1 (Daniels, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, & Valley Counties): Living Award – Edgar Richardson, Scobey. Legacy Award – Fire Bear - William Standing, Oswego and Tande Ranch, Scobey.
  • District 2 (Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, & Wibaux Counties): Living Award – Lawrence C. “Buck” Roberts, Wibaux. Legacy Award – William James “Bill” Brown, Sr., Sand Springs and Paul Kasten, Brockway.
  • District 3 (Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Rosebud, & Treasure Counties): Living Award – William Jr. “Chuck” Hubing, Miles City. Legacy Award – Gary Grant Gatlin, Broadus and Johnny Morris, Broadus.
  • District 4 (Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, & Liberty Counties): Living Award – Aaron “Duke” Pursley, Big Sandy. Legacy Award – Gordon Charles “Buck” Boyce, Havre.
  • District 5 (Cascade, Glacier, Pondera, Teton, & Toole Counties): Living Award – Donald Patrick Hogan, Great Falls. Legacy Award – Hattie Maria (Webb) Dear, Cascade and Jules Klint “Duke” Gustafson, Great Falls.
  • District 6 (Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum, & Wheatland Counties): Living Award – Clinton H. “Clint” & Sharon E. (Henderson) Martin, Lewistown. Legacy Award – George R. “Sonny” Smith, Grass Range and William “Bill” Skelton, Stanford.
  • District 7 (Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, & Yellowstone Counties): Living Award – Henry & Lorraine Valgamore, Big Timber. Legacy Award – Ella Maude (Daylong) Huntington, Billings and High Bird - Dr. Joseph “Joe” Medicine Crow, Crow Agency.
  • District 8 (Broadwater, Jefferson, & Lewis and Clark Counties): Living Award – Jack Leroy “Doc” Rea, Helena. Legacy Award – Frank James “Gary” Cooper, Helena and Robert F. “Bob” Morgan, Helena.
  • District 9 (Gallatin, Meagher, & Park Counties): Living Award – James Earl “Jimmy” Sarrazin, Wilsall. Legacy Award – Gerard “Bud” Story Burkhart, Bozeman and “Indian Jack” Hart, Livingston.
  • District 10 (Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, & Sanders Counties): Legacy Award – Lester P. “Les” Baldwin, Polson and The Park Saddle Horse Company, Glacier National Park.
  • District 11 (Mineral, Missoula, & Ravalli Counties): Living Award – Arnold D. “Smoke” Elser, Missoula. Legacy Award – Charles James “Charlie” Yerian, Corvallis and Elton Vanleir Brechbill, Stevensville.
  • District 12 (Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Granite, Madison, & Powell Counties): Living Award – Paul Irving Greany, Drummond. Legacy Award – Donald Philip “Don” Harrington, Dillon and Samuel Russel “Sam” McDowell, Wisdom.
Since the initial round of inductions to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008, including this year’s inductions, 274 inductees have been honored. Full biographies for past inductees are available on the MCHF & WHC’s website, http://www.montanacowboyfame.org.

For more information about the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center, or for more details on the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees, please contact Christy Stensland by calling (406) 653-3800, emailing Christy@montanacowboyfame.org, or visiting http://www.montanacowboyfame.org.

 
 
March 2016 Cowboy Clatter
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Big Timber - The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) is seeking nominations for the 2016 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame induction round. Every year, the MCHF & WHC honors living and historical figures that have made notable contributions to Montana’s western heritage.

“In order to identify those in Montana’s communities who are most deserving of inclusion in the Hall of Fame, we need people across the state to get involved in our nomination process,” said Christy Stensland, executive director of the MCHF & WHC. “Nominations are open to the public and can be made by anyone. We encourage all to reflect on those that have made notable contributions to our western heritage here in the great state of Montana.”

2016 will mark the sixth year the MCHF & WHC will honor living historical figures and the ninth year of honoring legacy (non-living) inductees. One living inductee and two legacy inductees from each of the MCHF & WHC’s 12 Trustee Districts will be chosen from votes cast by the MCHF & WHC Board of Trustees based on nominations from the public. Nominees are assigned to a Trustee District for consideration based on the area where their notable contributions were made.

Nominees can be men, women, ranches, stage coach lines, animals, hotels, etc.—anyone or anything that has made a notable contribution to our Montana western heritage. A full listing of inductees from 2008-2015, the 2016 Nomination Instructions, and more about the Hall of Fame induction process can be found online at http://www.montanacowboyfame.org. If you would like to make a nomination, you must contact the MCHF & WHC at Christy@montanacowboyfame.org or by calling (406) 932-5444 prior to the submission deadline to express your intent to nominate. All nomination documents must be in electronic format and emailed by April 30, 2016.

The 2016 Class of the MCHF & WHC will be announced by press release by July 30, 2016. Winning inductees will be honored at the 2017 Annual Circle the Wagons Gathering.
 

Leaving a Legacy

02/22/2016

 
By Heather Layman, District 4 Trustee

Some moments simply leave your mouth absent of words, your eyes filled with warm tears, and your heart so full of love and pride, and when those moments come, you make note of every detail in that capsule of time.  My grandfather, Clarence Barron “C.B.” Rich was recently inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. I have written about my grandpa in the past and shared how he impacted my insignificant, little life, but to witness what it means to really leave a legacy behind for another generation to nurture and care for as their own is priceless.

He was one of thirty-nine inductees, living and legacy, to be honored at this year’s ceremonies.  How a committee narrows down a group from all of those spread out over the years in Montana is baffling, because as I sat there and listened to the names being read and the story behind each cowboy or cowgirl, I thought how extremely lucky I was to be in the company of these fine inductees and those that came to honor them.

The stories shared were truly etched from the pages of Montana and western history; stories from train robbery attempts and assisting outlaws to carving out an honorable life from the harsh and formidable landscapes we now take for granted.  Underneath every Stetson hat in that room, was a true and honorable cowboy or cowgirl.  And somehow, I was lucky enough to be connected to this amazing moment in time.

I looked around the solarium full of people, close to seven hundred, and with each name read from the inductee list, there was a family member or friend there to receive the award.  There was a deep pride each one felt hearing their inductee being named, the standing ovations and the well-deserved applause for those known and not known, for their accomplishments and attributions to the community we call “cowboy”.

There were bronc stompers, ropers, farmers & ranchers, cattlemen & women, teamsters, outfitters, outlaws, horses and horse trainers, artists, authors & poets, rodeo competitors, and livestock entrepreneurs, all being honored. They were, and are all “cowboy”, and all darn sure legendary.  Their stories were significant, entertaining, and different, but the commonality was all of these people were and are, tough as a new bride’s biscuits.  They tended livestock in the worst of weather, they cut trails, built barns, rode rough horses and even rougher country, all in the name of providing for a family, a community, and a country.  Their purpose was strong, bold, and etched out of crusted sweat on their brows, and callouses on their weathered hands.  Not a one of them missed the mark on work ethic and values.  They all knew what it meant to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  They loved their families and communities, and fought for their country and our freedom.  They had grit, true grit, in their guts and steel in their veins.

I observed the younger generation looking on in the room, and wondered if any felt like I did?  Will generations yet to come understand what it took for their ancestors and loved ones to build their legacies, their homesteads, ranches, and hard-earned dreams? Better yet, will they even care?  Will they know to look up from their mobile devices and televisions, and work at a back-breaking speed to beat a storm?  Does our current culture and warped society give a damn about such things anymore?  Do they care about pulling calves in a March snowstorm? Will they know the exhilarating feeling of throwing a leg over a fresh colt, or to climb a mountain pass and blaze a new trail over rugged miles of rocks and trees?  Will they know the art of carving life out of a Charlie Russell landscape? Will they appreciate the hue of the prairie sunrises and sunsets as they glance of the coulees and breaks?  Will they be inspired to do more and be more?

I hope so.  These people leave an amazing legacy to carry and pass on down the line.  They take so much knowledge and history with them when they go, and they lived big boots to fill.  I am honored to be a part of such a life, and I hope that I am able to do more than ride along on the coattails of my grandpa’s legacy.  Because it’s about time I made my own…

Happy Trails,
Heather Layman
Havre, MT
MCHF & WHC District 4 Trustee 
Granddaughter of 2015 Inductee Clarence Barron “C.B.” Rich of Seeley Lake, Montana

See Heather's original post on her blog, Cowgirl Ramblings Blog and Photography
 
 
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) extends an invitation to all to attend the 10th Annual Circle the Wagons Convention in Great Falls, Feb. 5 & 6 at the Best Western Heritage Inn.

“We are excited to be celebrating our 10th Anniversary of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame,” said MCHF & WHC Executive Director Christy Stensland. “It is an honor to celebrate those whose examples embody the qualities of our Montana communities and way of life.  If you are proud of your Montana Western heritage and wish to help preserve and pass it on to the next generation, we invite you to join us in Great Falls for this special event."

The weekend will kick off Friday evening, Feb. 5 with a free Welcome Gathering. The Inductee Recognition Ceremony Brunch will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 10:30 a.m. to celebrate the notable accomplishments and lasting legacies of the inductees to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Tickets are $30 per person. Early registration is recommended as this event sells out well in advance each year!

The 10th Annual Cowboy Ball and Benefit Auction will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday with a social hour and auction preview. This event will feature great Western music by World Livestock Auctioneer Champion Kyle Shobe and his band The Walk ‘Em Boys. There will be both a silent and live auction featuring unique and Western items. A Chuckwagon Buffet dinner will be served. Tickets to the Cowboy Ball are $75 per person or $570 for an eight-person table.

Register online at www.montanacowboyfame.org, by calling (406) 653-3800, or email Christy@montanacowboyfame.org. Rooms may be reserved at the Best Western Heritage Inn by calling (406) 761-1900.
 
 
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