Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Honors 12th Class of Inductees


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  and a recording of the Induction Ceremony is available on the MCHF’s Facebook page.

Inductees included:

·         District 1 (Daniels, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, & Valley Counties): Living Award – Arvid Joseph & Linda Joy (Lee) Eggen, Plentywood. Legacy Award – Benjamin F. Stevens, Dodson.

·         District 2 (Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, & Wibaux Counties): Living Award – William ‘Bill’ & Alice Cullinan, Glendive. Legacy Award – Martha Magnuson Kempton, Terry.

·         District 3 (Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Rosebud, & Treasure Counties): Living Award – John L. Moore, Miles City. Legacy Award – Joseph H. ‘Proc’ Proctor, Forsyth.

·         District 4 (Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, & Liberty Counties): Living Award – Arthur Wade Bickford, Havre. Legacy Award – Charles Leon ‘Charlie’ Floyd, Havre.

·         District 5 (Cascade, Glacier, Pondera, Teton, & Toole Counties): Living Award – Wylie Galt Gustafson, Conrad. Legacy Award – Belknap ‘Ballie’ Buck, Choteau.

·         District 6 (Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum, & Wheatland Counties): Living Award – Virginia (Mortensen) Howell, Roundup. Legacy Award – Z6 Ranch – J.C. Jensen, Inc., Lavina.

·         District 7 (Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, & Yellowstone Counties): Living Award – William E. ‘Billy’ Greenough, Fromberg. Legacy Award – Ruth E. (French) Smith Cure Weber, Dry Head/Laurel.

·         District 8 (Broadwater, Jefferson, & Lewis and Clark Counties): Living Award – Donald Edward ‘Don’ Blixt, Helena. Legacy Award – Hester Ann (Allemand) Rea, Helena.

·         District 9 (Gallatin, Meagher, & Park Counties): Living Award – James Eugene ‘Jim’ Carrig, Bozeman. Legacy Award – Theodore ‘Ted’ Hamilton Thorpe, Livingston.

·         District 10 (Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, & Sanders Counties): Living Award – Walter J. ‘Walt’ Vermedahl, Polson. Legacy Award – Quirk Cattle Company – 101 Ranch, Eureka.

·         District 11 (Mineral, Missoula, & Ravalli Counties): Living Award – Walter E. ‘Wally’ Congdon, Missoula. Legacy Award – Alex Nixon ‘Alec’ Ogilvie, Florence.

·         District 12 (Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Granite, Madison, & Powell Counties): Iola ‘Olie’ Else, Dillon. Legacy Award – Pleasant View Ranch/Jackson Morgan Horse Ranch, Harrison.


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 $35,000, 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.


Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center

Northern Ag Network

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