Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame challenges Montanans to build on $100,000 Gilhousen gift in 2015


Today the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center (MCHF&WHC) looks to kick off 2015 in a big way by challenging Montanans to match the $100,000 gift made by Klein and Karen Gilhousen of Copper Spring Ranch in Bozeman, MT to the Homesteaders Campaign. 

The Homesteaders Campaign funds the construction and endowment of the MCHF&WHC’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.”

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 marked 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.”

Looking ahead to 2015, the MCHF&WHC will host its 9th Annual Circle the Wagons Gathering, Cowboy Ball & Auction Feb. 6-7 in Helena at the Great Northern Best Western Hotel. On Jan. 19, Headwaters Livestock in Three Forks will hold a special benefit cattle auction for the MCHF&WHC. Producers who would like to donate cattle to the sale should contact Aaron Lyles, MCHF&WHC director of finance, at (406) 600-8231.

For more information about the Homesteaders Campaign and the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center, visit