• Bow Virtuoso: Expert craftsman creates one-of-a-kind hunting tools

    Story by Brian D’Ambrosio, Photos by Jeremy Lurgio

    In bowyer Jim Rempp’s opinion, simple and basic are the natural equals of skill and precision.

    “People are tired of current technology,” Rempp said. “They want to go back to the simple things. Wooden archery is the original native archery.”

    As a part of a recent consumer backlash against cheaper, newer materials in the past 10 years, Rempp has seen primitive archery re-emerge as an alternative. In a reversal of attitude, many of today’s archers prefer traditional wooden bows over modern counterparts.

    “These are the most primitive bows that there are,” said Rempp in between rounds of target practice on a spacious slice of farmland outside Missoula where he makes and tests bows. “They are all wood. Basically, they are just a stick.”

    To read the entire feature on Jim Rempp, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.

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    Postcard Portraits of Pioneers

    Story by Ednor Therriault, Photos courtesy of Philip Burgess

    Blood-chilling blizzards. Withering heat waves. Starved-out livestock. Parched terrain that stubbornly refused to support a decent crop of anything.

    The badlands of northeastern Montana could seem as inhospitable as the moon, but that didn’t keep thousands of homesteaders from making their way westward after the Civil War, hoping to find their fortune or simply scratch a living out of a 320-acre parcel of government-granted land.

    Imagine doing it all while wearing a dress.

    Montana author Philip Burgess’s latest book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, chronicles the journey of two Minnesota sisters who did just that, leaving their town of Norwegian transplants to seek the autonomy promised by claiming a chunk of land in the harsh territory of eastern Montana.

    To read the entire feature on Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.

  • Enduring art from the New Deal

    Story by Marilyn Jones

    Born and raised in Deer Lodge, painter Elizabeth Lochrie completed an art degree at Pratt Institute before returning to Montana to raise her family and pursue what became a storied art career.

    Best known for her portraits of local Native Americans, the bulk of Lochrie’s work is featured in Montana’s Museum and Holter Museum of Art, both in Helena.

    But one of Lochrie’s works remains on prominent public display thanks to a unique government project aimed at boosting the arts during the Depression.

    It stands inside the Dillon Post Office lobby, a place usually bustling as people hurry to conduct their business.
    Like the “”News from the States” mural painted by Lochrie in Dillon in 1938, wall murals painted by American artists dating back to the 1930s and early 40s are on display across Montana, giving those hurried customers an excuse to pause. Many of works were painted by artists considered the best of their generation.

    To read the entire feature on Montana’s post office murals, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.

  • Beloved Bar: Historic Miles City watering hole has new owner

    Story by Cathy Moser, Photos by Jackie Jensen

    Why would a young, first-time bar owner rejoice in the responsibility of owning a century-old bar? Why would he relish the duties of not only being entrusted with upholding its reputation as a respectable place to drink and socialize, but as curator of its traditions and impressive collection of Old West artifacts?

    “I love this bar,” Blake Mollman said unabashedly.

    Perhaps, then, it was fate when Mollman and his cousin trailed a pretty girl to Miles City in 2006 and Mollman found himself striding into the Montana Bar on Main Street.

    Mollman soon found himself bartending there. Soon after that, he was promoted to assistant manager. While working all those day and night shifts, he learned that Scotsman James Kenney opened the upscale bar in 1908, and that it is a beloved Miles City institution where the dark tones of much of the bar’s original furnishings continue to uphold its rich Western heritage.

    Mollman also came to learn that someday he’d like to own the Montana Bar.

    “Someday” came for 31-year-old Mollman in August 2013 when former owner Currie Colbin decided he wanted to sell the place.

    To read the entire feature on the Montana Bar, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.

  • Adventures on Ice: Winter climbing in Glacier National Park


    The piercing sound of my alarm rudely cuts through the peaceful night. I role over and look at the clock, it’s 4 a.m.

    My first thought: “This sucks, but today is going to be good.”

    I drag my butt out of bed and get on with it.

    Ben Brunsvold and I are heading to Glacier National Park to climb ice. Early season conditions will be good and we want to take advantage of the prime ice while the road to Avalanche Lake is still open.

    I’ve climbed in many different corners of the world and still feel Glacier National Park is as spectacular and beautiful as anywhere I’ve laid eyes on. When the conditions are good and friends are available, every bit of suffering is worth just one moment to look out over the beauty of the surroundings with your best friends.

    To read the rest of Gibisch’s story about ice climbing in Glacier, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.

    Want more? Read about another of Gibisch’s ice climbing adventures.

  • Meet Montana poet laureate Tami Haaland


    Montana’s poet laureate Tami Haaland is on a mission to mend the misunderstanding of poetry.

    Poetry is no mystical calling. It doesn’t need to be analytical, critical or scientific.

    It only needs to be expressive.

    “I tell people that it’s OK to hate poetry,” Haaland said. “A lot of people think they can’t understand it – and many times they can’t. But there are many kinds of fiction that are really difficult to read as well. So, it’s really a matter of giving poetry a longer chance, sticking with it, and evaluating what’s going on and whose talking. From a writing standpoint, it is about expression – and we can all do it.”

    Read more of Haaland’s poems at her Montana Arts Council page.

    To read the rest of D’Ambrosio’s story about Tami, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.

    Goldeye, Vole


    I say sweep of prairie

    or curve of sandstone,

    but it doesn’t come close

    to this language of dry wind

    and deer prints, blue racer

    and sage, its punctuation

    white quartz and bone.

    I learned mounds of

    Mayflowers, needle grass

    on ankles, the occasional

    sweet pea before I knew

    words like perspective or

    travesty or the permanence

    of loss. My tongue spoke

    obsidian, red agate,

    arrowhead. I stepped

    through tipi rings, leaped

    buffalo grass and puff ball

    to petrified clam,

    jawbone of fox, flint,

    blue lichen gayfeather,

    goldeye, vole—speak to me,

    my prairie darling, sing me

    that song you know.

    “Goldeye, Vole,” taken from Breath in Every Room Story Line Press, 2001. ©Tami Haaland. Poem reprinted by permission of Tami Haaland.

    A Colander of Barley


    The smell, once water has rinsed it,

    is like a field of ripe grain, or the grain held

    in a truck, and if you climb the steel side,

    one foot lodged on the hubcap, the other

    on the wheel, and pull your body upward,

    your hands holding to tarp hooks, and lift toes

    onto the rim of the truck box, rest your ribs

    against the side, you will see beetles

    and grasshoppers among the hulled kernels.

    Water stirs and resurrects harvest dust:

    sun beating on abundance, the moist heat

    of grain collected in steel, hands

    plunging and lifting, the grain spilling back.

    “A Colander of Barley” from When We Wake in the Night by Tami Haaland, ©2012 WordTech Editions, Cincinnati, Ohio. Poem reprinted by permission of Tami Haaland and the publisher.

  • The Ultimate Hobby: Homebrewing in Montana


    On a recent Friday evening, several people are packed in the kitchen of a small Bozeman house scrutinizing the flavors, aromas and body of several Indian pales ales.

    “I’m getting a floral aroma and a little bit of cattiness, and the flavor is very hoppy with passion fruit and tropical fruit,” Scott McCormick says of one beer.

    McCormick is president of the Bridger Brew Crew, a group of 15 or so home brewers that had gathered for the club’s monthly meeting where members sampled homemade beers and took suggestions for how they might improve their brews.

    Bridger Brew Crew is one of at least five homebrew clubs around the state. In addition to Bozeman, there are clubs in Missoula, Helena, Butte and Billings. All the clubs are dedicated to what Christian Claeys, a founder of Helena’s High Mountain Hoppers, calls the “ultimate hobby,” a hobby that combines science, creativity and, perhaps most of all, community.

    To read the rest of Brewer’s story about homebrewing clubs across Montana, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.

  • Familiar Faces: A unique glimpse of Montana Wildlife


    For Lisa and Jaime Johnson, capturing a perfect Montana wildlife moment often means waiting and watching for days to get a shot that reflects a true piece of their subjects’ personalities.

    The Johnson’s photographs provide unique portraits of a wide range of animals that call Montana home, giving a distinctive look at some of the state’s most familiar wildlife faces.

    They are the kind of photos that can only be captured through careful and prolonged observation of the animals in their most natural habitats.

    To see the rest of Johnson’s photos of Montana wildlife, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.

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