Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame honors inductees in Great Falls
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF) honored its newest and 12th class of inductees during the 14th Annual Western Heritage Gathering in Great Falls, Feb. 7-8 at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls.
Nearly 600 people attended the weekend’s events. On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Hall of Fame welcomed 24 new inductees during the morning recognition ceremony and brunch. MCHF Director KellyAnne Terry of Lewistown served as emcee along with MCHF Past President Jeff Bolstad of Lewistown. The Great Falls Police Department Honor Guard presented the flags, Jennika Heikkila sang the national anthem, and Lloyd Irvine performed the Nakoda Honor Song.
“Family and friends gathered in Great Falls from across the great state of Montana, Canada to Texas, South Carolina to Washington,” said Christy Stensland, MCHF&WHC executive director. “Attendees enjoyed the history lesson contained in the inductee stories. Many were grateful for the family reunion opportunity.”
Full bios and photographs of the inductees are available on the MCHF’s website http://montanacowboyfame.org/ and a recording of the Induction Ceremony is available on the MCHF’s Facebook page.
MCHF board, district trustees, and members 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. The local Merle Travis Band provided the music and emceeing the event was auctioneer Robert Toavs of Toavs Premiere Auction in Wolf Point.
During the weekend’s events, the MCHF formally announced its opportunity to partner with the Charles M. Russell Museum and establish its inaugural exhibit within the internationally known museum in historic Great Falls. Efforts are already underway to curate the specific content for the initial exhibit. The organizations’ goal is to enable the public to learn about the lives of those who have impacted Montana’s heritage—those whose stories may otherwise go unnoticed. The MCHF is currently working to raise $30,000, which the C.M. Russell Museum will match, to make the inaugural Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame exhibit within the museum possible. Donations can be made online through the MCHF’s website, http://montanacowboyfame.org/donate.html.
The MCHF&WHC will announce its 2020 Inductee Nomination Policy and process soon.
Inductee Wylie Galt Gustafson, Conrad (left), with MCHF Director Mike Gurnett of Helena (right).
Dullain Erhlich of Washington, family of District 5 Legacy Inductee Belknap Ballie Buck (left), and Jack Stensland of Wolf Point, District 1 Trustee (right).