Fan favorites of 2014: Which stories did you like the best?
With 2014 coming to a close it’s hard not to look back and remember more than a few great stories we found to share with you inside Montana Magazine.
But what did you, our online readers, decide were their favorites? Here’s our top four most popular stories of 2014, as decided by all our online friends.
- Unlocking history: Long-forgotten underground speakeasy uncovered in Butte :Writer Ted Brewer takes us under the streets of Butte to a place where Prohibition wasn’t given a second thought.
- Alpine Icons under observation: They’re one of the most iconic animals inside Glacier National Park, but surprising as it is, scientists don’t know much about mountain goats.
- Small prairie town fosters big-time creativity: Chester is a place where they keep grand pianos in grain elevators. And Grammy winner Philip Aaberg operates a bed and breakfast.
- Glasgow native donates wild gift to children’s museum: Skip Erickson has traveled the world hunting animals of every kind. Now, as he battles colon cancer, he’s giving his trophies to the local children’s museum
What’d we miss? Tell us your favorite feature of 2014 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch: Short film shows off cycling under the Big Sky
Need a little at-your-desk getaway to get you through the day? Take a trip from Libby to Whitefish with the Adventure Cycling Association in the organization’s newly released short film. It features a ride along the Northern Tier route, which goes cross-country from Anacortes, Washington, to Bar Harbor, Maine.
The film highlights the section of the route between Libby and Whitefish, much of it along Lake Kookanusa. Safe to say, there’s some OK scenery to take in . It’ll have you daydreaming about road riding on warmer days. It was made by Rachel Stevens and Bobby Jahrig.
This is the first in a series of films featuring bike travel in Montana. Adventure Cycling produced the series in partnership with a group called Epic Montana and the Montana Film Office and each one highlights one of the five Adventure Cycling Routes in the state (totaling about 3,500 miles).
Montanans shine at rodeo finals
No surprise here: Montana cowboys and cowgirls kicked butt at Las Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo.
Here’s the story for the Associated Press. Recognize any names?
Montana cowboys and cowgirls stormed the latest Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with multiple successes over 10 days of the average competition in Las Vegas recently, culminating in several top-10 placings in the year-end PRCA world standings.
Billings team roper Clay Tryan, a header, along with heeler Jade Corkhill (Fallon, Nevada), led the Treasure State’s contingent, winning both the average and the world championship. Tryan garnered a total of $220,058 for the year, while garnering his third world title (2005, 2013-14).
Clay, who is the cousin of 2012 NFR qualifier Chase Tryan of Helena, is now a 13-time NFR qualifier, and is just $3,000 shy of $2 million career earnings.
Bull rider Beau Hill of West Glacier placed third in the average and fourth in the world standings, collecting a year’s earnings of $148,911. Ty Erickson of Helena finished runner-up in the steer wrestling, and seventh overall, pocketing $123,116.
Team roper Dustin Bird (header) of Cut Bank placed 11th and in the average and sixth in the year-end, for $146,731. In bareback bronc riding, Power’s Jessy Davis took 11th in the average and 14th in the overall, earning $75,757.
Culbertson native Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota, captured the barrel racing average championship and placed runner-up in the world standings. She pocketed a total of $265,514.
Tie-down roper/team roper Trevor Brazile (Decatur, Texas), a former Last Chance Stampede titlist, claimed his 12th PRCA all-around crown.
Take a look: Montana’s ‘E’ towns
Can you name all the ‘E’ towns under the Big Sky? Hint: There are 11.
Having trouble? Let this slideshow from photographers across the state help out.
Kentucky derby winner upstages statehood announcement
It’s been said that this cooper-colored guy got more attention for his 1889 Kentucky Derby win than news that Montana was granted statehood.
Spokane, foaled at a ranch new Twin Bridges, was a big deal back then. And in 2008, his racing accomplishments earned him a spot in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Here’s more on Montana’s most famous horse from writer Cathy Melin Moser:
Copper-colored Spokane was foaled in 1886 at Noah Armstrong’s Doncaster Ranch near present day Twin Bridges. Cowboys who worked the silver-mining magnate’s ranch gave the colt his early training as a racehorse.
Spokane showed talent and heart in his early races. Then on May 9, 1889, he joined eight fiery 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs for the 1 ½ mile Kentucky Derby. For the first time he would compete against his future rival, Proctor Knott, favored to win the Derby. Chestnut-colored Knott had won the prestigious 1888 Futurity Stakes and was named horseracing’s “Two-Year-Old Horse of The Year.”
At the start of the race, Proctor Knott surged ahead. Spokane lagged in fifth place but at mid-race uncorked an explosion of speed that quickly cut down the distance separating him from Proctor Knott. The big chestnut responded to Spokane’s challenge with blazing speed of his own.
Twenty-five thousand spectators stood, their cheers drowning out thundering hoof beats as Spokane raced into history. Judges proclaimed Spokane had beaten Proctor Knott “by a flaming nostril,” and he’d won the Derby in world record time of 2 minutes and 34 ½ seconds.
Six months later, Nov. 8, 1889, Montana was granted statehood.
Her residents hotly debated which was more noteworthy: statehood or Spokane’s victory.
Bitterroot critter cam captures elusive wolverine
Here’s a cool Montana story focused on a study about wolverines – an animal biologists know little about.
As Ravalli Republic reporter Perry Backus tell us in his story, biologist believe several wolverines were caught on motion-activated cameras set up by biologists who attracted the animals with a carcass.
Images of wolverines were captured at eight different sites. They also captured fur that will allow them to identify and study the wolverines more thoroughly.
The smell of rotting meat didn’t just attract wolverines.
For the last two winters, that’s just what Bitterroot National Forest wildlife biologist Andrea Shortsleeve has done in an attempt to better understand the habits of forest predators on the prowl.
Last winter, the photographs taken on 60 different bait sites offered a glimpse into the lives of bobcat, marten, fox, mountain lion and even a trio of squabbling eagles in the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains.
The main focus of the study was the most secretive predator of all.
No one knows for sure just how many wolverines there are on the Bitterroot National Forest. Before Shortsleeve and her crew began setting their motion-sensitive trail cameras up to document critters drawn to the smell of rotting meat, no one even knew where they ventured.
See the enter slideshow of images here.
A snowy slideshow: Winter arrives in Montana
It’s hard to beat the winter scenes Montana produces as we move deeper into winter.
And lucky for us, our Facebook friends have been out and about capturing the beauty. Here’s a few examples of the images they’ve captured.
Thanks to everyone who shared photos on our Facebook page. Have photos of Montana you’d like to share? Email them, along with a short description and photographer information to email@example.com.
Remember these? A year’s worth of covers from 2004
In honor of Throwback Thursday, we went back 10 years into Montana Magazine’s history and found all the covers from 2004.
Cover images include several snowy scenics, one tough looking cougar, and a celebration of the Crow Fair. Take a look and see if you remember any of these beautiful covers. And stay tuned for a new cover unveiling here soon – we’ve already started working on our first issue of 2015.