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Working abroad and calling Billings home— the best of both worlds.

Tanner Woodcock Pilot

Angie Wong Consultant

Tyler Ready Teacher

Also Inside... Urban Cowboys Living the legend

Haunted Red Lodge Old Victorian comes alive

Soccer Mom vs Tiger Mom Who is the better parent?

MAGIC I september 2011 I 1

Pediatric Center

Specialty Care Just for Kids

If your child is diagnosed with a serious disease, such as cancer, asthma, or diabetes, you need the expertise of a pediatric specialist. Our Pediatric Center includes physician specialists working with teams of nurses, dietitians, therapists, social workers and other pediatric experts. We will partner with your child’s primary care provider to help manage your child’s care. Regional outreach clinics are available for pediatric diabetes and pulmonary care in Montana and Wyoming.

Pediatric Hematology and Oncology The pediatric cancer team provides family-based care for the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer and blood disorders. Dr. Paul Kelker is our region’s only board-certified pediatric oncologistPaul hematologist. He works with pediatric Kelker, MD cancer specialists at regional children’s hospitals to find the best treatment plan for each child, including innovative clinical research trials. This team is composed of two certified pediatric oncology nurses and a social worker, who are committed to taking care of the family as a whole through play, family support programs and activities, such as the Beads of Courage program. Our Pediatric Center has an infusion (chemotherapy) room designed especially for our smallest cancer patients.

Specialty care for children is also available in these Billings Clinic departments:

Pediatric Pulmonology

Pediatric Diabetes

The pediatric pulmonary team cares for lung and breathing disorders, Jerimiah such as Lysinger, MD asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Billings Clinic has the largest pediatric diabetes program in Montana and Wyoming. Our Pediatric Diabetes Center is Fred a comprehensive Gunville, MD program for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Jerimiah Lysinger is the only board-certified pediatric pulmonologist in Montana and Wyoming. This team has extensive training and experience in the care of children with breathing disorders.

This team cares for and controls diabetes through education, medications and use of the most current technology, including insulin pump therapy.

• Allergy • Dermatology • Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) • Neurology • Neurosurgery • Ophthalmology • Orthopedics • Psychiatry • Urology

To make an appointment with a pediatric specialist, call 238-2501 or 1-800-332-7156. 2 I september 2011 I MAGIC

The pediatric diabetes team is led by Dr. Fred Gunville, a pediatrician with a special interest in childhood diabetes.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 3

Wilsonart HD High Definition Countertop Salentina Nero 1846K-55

visit the following retail showrooms 130 Riverside Road | Billings, MT 59101 406.245.6770 | Wholesale To Trade


542 Main St | Billings | 406.252.9395

Rimrock Cabinet Co.

4 I september 2011 I MAGIC

547 S 20th St W, #7 | Billings | 406.651.8109

Kitchens Plus

1010 S 29th St W | Billings | 406.652.5772

Appliance & Cabinet Center

2950 King Ave W, #2 | Billings | 406.656.9168


Cover Stories

61Western Roots, Global Aspirations Just because an individual hails from a relatively remote area does not mean he or she lacks the expertise to go global with their dreams.


Classroom Witness to History

Tyler Ready teaches in Syria; learns a bit himself

By Dan Carter

Creating Leaders. One by One.


Angie Wong empowered herself and now teaches others to do the same.


Air Born


Tanner Woodcock went into aviation for the machines; world travel was an added bonus. By KatHERINE Berman

Look ma, no hands! The silhouette of Montana native and school teacher, Tyler Ready enjoys his day of riding camels in Jordan. Tyler works in Damascus, Syria teaching at an American School.


East or West:

By Stephan kosnar


Working abroad and calling Billings home— the best of both worlds.

Angie Wong Consultant

Tyler Ready Teacher


Also Inside... Urban Cowboys Living the legend

Haunted Red Lodge Old Victorian comes alive

Soccer Mom vs Tiger Mom Who is the better parent?

On the Cover

Western Roots, Global Aspirations

Debating the merits of divergent parenting styles


Urban Cowboy:

By brenda maas

Tanner Woodcock Pilot

Living the legend


Pumping up the Volumes:

By laura tode

Billings champions for a new library

Photo illustration by Bob Tambo

MAGIC I september 2011 I 5


The List: Fun, fascinating finds ....................................................... 11 Profile: Nicole Mohr........................................................................................12 Giving Back: United Way of Yellowstone County..................... 14 Artist Loft: John Felten ............................................................................ 16 Featured Block: The Heights .......................................................... 18 Elements: Home on the Range ............................................................. 22 Media Room: Reads, tunes, DVDs and technology .............. 20





Fine Living

Great Estates: Wildly Urbane .............................................................................24

32 From the Garden: The Gift of Gourds .................38 Epicure: Flavorful Fall Goodness .......................................40 Libations: Sipping in Seattle ...............................................41

Transformation Touchdown ................................................






Beyond Billings: Grape Expectations ...................52

Montana Perspectives Legends:

42 Ghostly Writing: ........................................................................ 46 The Saga of Victorian Queen Anne ..................................

I’m Just Sayin’:

50 Photo Journal: Different Lands. One World...................5

All Creatures Stupid and Dangerous.................................

In every issue Editor’s Letter: Roots and Wings............................................................8 Contributors....................................................................................9 Seen at the Scene........................................................... 91 DateBook............................................................................. 95 Last Word: Downwind.............................................................98 6 I september 2011 I MAGIC

Why Magic City? In the early 1880s, immigrants and adventurers came in droves to seek their livelihood on the verdant land along the Yellowstone River. The hastily constructed tents and log cabins made it appear as if Billings materialized overnight – thus earning the name “The Magic City.” Today, as the largest city in Montana, Billings proudly retains its ‘Magic City’ moniker. As for Magic City magazine, we promise to continue our mission to uncover all that is unique and wonderful and changing in this great community ... and we guarantee a few surprises along the way.

september 2011


Michael Gulledge




Publisher 657-1225


Allyn Hulteng Editor 657-1434 Bob Tambo Creative Director 657-1474 Brittany Cremer Senior Editor 657-1390 Dina Brophy Assistant Editor 657-1490 Evelyn Noennig Assistant Editor 657-1226

toys t gifts t clothing t shoes

Larry Mayer, David Grubbs, James Woodcock, Casey Page, Bob Zellar, Paul Ruhter Photographers Kyle Rickhoff, Preston Stahley

Online Web Designers


Free gift wrapping! Free popcorn everyday! .POEBZ'SJEBZBNUPQNt4BUVSEBZBNUPQN 1510 24th Street West, Billings, MT 59102 (next to Sanctuary and The Joy of Living) 406.294.1717

Smart Toys for Smart Kids

Dave Worstell Sales & Marketing Director 657-1352 Ryan Brosseau Classified & Online Manager 657-1340 Bonnie Ramage Sales Manager 657-1202 Linsay Duty Advertising Coordinator 657-1254 Nadine Bittner Lead Graphic Artist 657-1286 MAGIC Advisory Board

Jim Duncan, Brian M. Johnson, Denice Johnson, Nicki Larson, Susan Riplett Contact us: Mail: 401 N. Broadway Billings, MT 59101 Find us online at our newly redesigned website Find us at various rack locations throughout Billings, including area Albertson’s, Borders Books, Music & Cafe, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Hastings Books, Music & Video, Holiday Stationstores and Gainan’s. Subscriptions are available at the annual subscription rate of $29 (5 Issues). Single copy rate $4.95. Mail subscription requests and changes to address above, ATTN: Circulation Magic City is published five times a year by Billings Gazette Communications CopyrightŠ 2011 Magic City Magazine All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written consent is prohibited.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 7


this this issue issue

Roots and Wings Inside we introduce you to three such professional pioneers: Angie Wong, founder of Wong Global Leadership; Tyler Ready, who teaches literature in Damascus; and Tanner Woodcock, first officer with Omni Air International. Each of these individuals has a unique story of what inspired him or her to pursue an international career, and all three agree: being able to work abroad and still enjoy the lifestyle Montana has to offer is the best of all possible worlds.

Many years ago while rummaging through the dusty recesses of a used book store I came across the title A Bride Goes West. Written in 1941, the book tells the story of Nannie Tiffany, a well-heeled belle from West Virginia who married Walt Alderson, a young cowboy from Kansas. In 1882, the newlyweds made their way to the eastern plains of the Montana Territory in search of adventure and prosperity.

Back at the ranch

Promised land

Through the pages, the protagonist recounts in a measured voice life on the untamed prairie. From her first glimpse of the sod-roofed shack that would be their home, she understood there would be sacrifices. Creature comforts were few; even rarer was the company of another woman. But there was also a beauty and rhythm to Montana, and the opportunity for a better life. Nannie and Walt took pride in rooting their family in a place where honesty, hard work and respect for the land came together. Those attributes – the unwritten Code of the West – laid the foundation for the work ethic and self-reliance that still characterizes Montanans today. A new frontier

Much has changed since Nannie and Walt’s time. The western frontier, once wild and lawless, has been tamed and fenced. Most people are several degrees removed from the land, living and working in modern cities with amenities that our forbearers could not have imagined. Life is comparably easy. Still… the spirit of adventure runs deep. Our shrinking world has opened a new kind of frontier filled with amazing career opportunities. No longer limited to locality, people can live one place and work on the other side of the globe – even from Montana.

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While travel and technology have enabled Montanans to compete in the global workplace, some folks prefer to keep their boots firmly planted in tradition. Like Abby and Bart Aby. As young parents, Abys want their children to take advantage of the many opportunities the city has to offer, but as third-generation ranchers, they also want them to have a connection with the land. Inside, these real time urban cowboys share what it’s like to balance the demands of both – and they’ll tell you straight up, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why do you live in Montana? The pioneers who first ventured west understood that Montana was a very special place. They knew life here would not be easy, but they weren’t looking for easy – they were looking for quality. Their hard work and appreciation for the land resonated through the generations. Today, those same values are in large measure the reason we have an enviable quality of life. And quality of life is why many of us choose to call Montana home – even when life takes us to places far away.

Allyn Hulteng


Lee Hulteng

grew up in Billings and moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1986 where he worked as a visual journalist for the Grand Forks Herald until 1998. While there, the newspaper staff he worked with received a Pulitzer Prize for coverage during the 1997 flood. He has lived in Maryland since 1998 where he worked as a senior illustrator for McClatchy/ Tribune in Washington, DC. He still lives in Maryland where he now freelances, along with restoring vintage motorcycles.

Stephen Kosnar lives and writes in Billings. He and his wife have two children. Since becoming a father, he has been particularly interested in writing about parenting and childhood development.

Gail Hein entered college in mid-life, graduating in 1990 from Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University Billings, in the same class as her son, Bruce. In addition to working in her family business and volunteering with Rimrock Opera, she writes, edits and reads passionately. Laura Tode started her writing career more than a

decade ago at a small weekly newspaper. She went on to write for the Helena Independent Record and the Billings Gazette. She’s now working as a full-time freelance writer based in Red Lodge. Her stories have been featured in numerous local and regional publications. When not on deadline, she can be found fishing nearby rivers or hiking with her dogs in the Beartooth Mountains.

Dan Carter Born and raised in the Gallatin Valley, Dan spent more than 20 years in journalism before moving into his latest adventure as director of university relations and government relations at MSU Billings. He and his wife, Lynn, have been enjoying the magic that is Billings with their family since the late 1980s.

Katherine Berman just completed her first year living in Billings. What started as an educational journey to the West has turned into a new home. Originally from Boston, Katherine spent the last few years after college as an editor and freelance novelist. In addition to writing, Katherine enjoys adventuring with her boyfriend and talking to her family back East. Despite Katherine’s lack of the notorious Boston accent, she would like to reassure citizens of Billings that yes, she is really from Massachusetts.

502 N 30th

THE LATEST IN KIDS’ COUTURE & GIFTS Every kid deserves something with a bit of flair and fun! Stop in and check out the fantastic fashions for summer. Photos: Jana Graham Photography

MAGIC I september 2011I 9


Fun, fascinating finds we think are great.

Besitos Moscato,

2010 D.O. Valencia Spain

Move over Champagne and Prosecco, there’s a new sparkler in town. This elegantly effervescent Moscato hails from the Valencia region of Spain. With delicate notes of peaches and white orange blossoms native to the Valencia hillsides, this wine is lovely as an aperitif or dessert.

Montanainspired money clip Elegantly tooled in sterling silver and 18k gold, this handengraved money clip by Voht enmeshes the rustic West with city chic. Urban and rural cowboys alike will be taken by the nail and horseshoe design, sturdy hold and lifetime guarantee.

World Market, $10

Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters, $230

Le Souk Ceramique bowl, Tabarka design Named for the beautiful Tunisian seaside resort town of Tabarka, this bowl’s pattern reflects an elaborate blend of Italian, French and Arabic influences. Kiln-fired, this line of ceramique cookware is 100 percent hand-made, hand-painted, food-safe and dishwasher-safe. Global Village, $49

Kimochi Bug This cuddly, little creature is more than just a cute face. It’s a way for children to express themselves. Each Kimochi doll comes with “feelings” – tiny pillow faces with a word listing a corresponding emotion. Children place the emotion that best fits their disposition in the Kimochi doll’s pouch, giving them a safe, comforting way to learn how to communicate their moods. Joy of Kids, $25

Loving your Library Card Travel across continents and dimensions without leaving the comfort of your own home. Sign up for a Parmly Billings library card, which grants you unlimited access to books, DVDs, multi-media, book club packets, audio books and more. Parmly Billings Library, FREE to Montana residents

MAGIC I september 2011 I 11

By Jim Gransbery • Photo by Larry Mayer

Nicole Mohr

Farm to Table, Girl to Woman

Nicole Mohr wants Montanans to know from where their food comes. Just 19 years old, Mohr has spent her life learning livestock production from the ground up – literally. Now, she faces a dilemma: a future in agricultural education or caring for the sick as a nurse? At the risk of sounding cliche, Mohr cites family as the core of her life. She is precociously self-contained in her confidence. Her parents are both role models to her. Her father Tom is a teacher who took up farming and livestock feeding. Her mother Carla is a nurse that works with heart patients. Together they have nurtured a young woman who believes she can overcome any challenge. A 4-H member for 11 years and seven years in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), Mohr will be FFA state treasurer until the spring of 2012 and has attended the National FFA Convention twice. She intends to enter the sales and service contest, where entrants compete by developing an agricul“I love to pray, to ask turally-related original innovation, at the next God to guide me. I national gathering in am here for a reason, October. The family farm and not to be selfish. feedlot sits a few miles west of Park City on the Everything happens for old highway. Mohr’s a reason, so hardships oldest brother graduated from Montana State make me stronger.” University Billings and the other is currently a student at MSU Bozeman. Mohr, the youngest of the three, begins the next phase of her life at MSU Bozeman this fall. On a warm summer morning in the shade of an apple tree she reviewed her life and expectations. Livestock production “I absolutely love pigs,” she said. Her

12 I september 2011 I MAGIC

hogs are Hampshire-Yorkshire crosses that she raises to sell to other 4Hers for their projects. She breeds them herself by artificial insemination. “The timing is a challenge,” said Mohr. The sows litter biannually, and she takes three pigs to the Stillwater County Fair each year. One pig is entered in the carcass contest, a competition in which the qualities of the carcass are judged by desired industry and consumer standards. “They are fairly lean and the carcass contest is advertising for me to sell my pigs.” Adversity as a character builder In February 2009, while her parents were on a trip, her sows farrowed, which, in layman’s terms, means gave birth to a litter of pigs. “It was cold and I was by myself. I had heat lamps and straw ready.” As pigs are prone to do when under stress, one sow that had 14 piglets killed all but two. The second sow had 10 and killed seven. “There was no sleep. I put the surviving pigs in the bathtub to keep them warm. I’d get up a couple of times a night to feed them. I had a passion to keep them alive.” A similar situation occurred again in February 2010. “Hardships are what make you stronger.” Ag-ed vs. nursing There are options, Mohr said. “I don’t want to babysit,” referring to teaching agricultural education in a high school setting. “There are 88 positions (vocational agriculture teachers) in Montana. It is too iffy.” Nursing would allow for helping people. Vittles veritas As for the general lack of knowledge concerning

the origin of food, she joked, “Chocolate milk comes from brown

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cows. Food comes from grocery stores.” The reason for the ignorance, according to Mohr: “Parents are not educating their children. They don’t plant gardens for hands-on experience. Parents spend too much time working rather than educating their children about the world.” Inner strength From a Lutheran tradition, Mohr said, “I love to pray, to ask God to guide me. I am here for a reason, not to be selfish. Everything happens for a reason, so hardships make me stronger.” When obstacles arise, Mohr said, “Too many people give up or give in.” She has learned from the mistakes of others before making them herself. “I have avoided mistakes because of my family.”   Attending college During her first semester, Mohr will take 13 credits because obligations as a state FFA officer require travel and time. Math, public communications and an agricultural class are on the agenda. If invited to parties, “I am automatically the DD (designated driver),” she said, adding that FFA officer requirements prohibit alcohol consumption. To help pay for college, she backgrounds steers in her family’s feedlot. To buy calves in the 600 pound range and feed them up to 900 pounds is known as backgrounding. Feedlot cattle are finished at 1200 pounds before going to slaughter where they become the beef in the meat counter at the grocery store.   Five years from now With no current boyfriend, Mohr said she sees herself graduating with a nursing degree and working in Billings. “I have no desire to live elsewhere. Hopefully, I will have a guy who has the same values as I do. There will be no lowering the bar.”

Lauren Aja Bond Realtor


MAGIC I september 2011 I 13

By Anna Paige

Day of Caring

United Way

Celebrating 50 years of local service

In January 1961, with a vision of a charitable and community-minded society, John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” Four months later, 28 citizens of Billings came together to incorporate a volunteer organization into what would become the United Way of Yellowstone County. “It’s been quite a journey,” said Carol Burton, president and CEO of the organization, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. “Some things have changed, but we’re still helping people stay in their homes, have food in times of crisis and helping children become successful.” Burton has overseen the United Way of Yellowstone County for 13 years, helping grow the nonprofit from a staff of four to more than 35 people focused on the organization’s mission to improve the lives of others by mobilizing the caring power of the community. “We’ve evolved as the community has evolved and as its needs have changed,” Burton said. “We look at the issues in our community and advocate volunteering resources so we can actually change lives and make lasting change.” Burton got involved in nonprofit work as a volunteer fundraiser and relocated to Billings from Washington State where she was also working with United Way. “We have a very involved and caring community,” Burton said. “I have the opportunity to work with great people every day including my coworkers and volunteers Carol Burton serves as president and CEO for that give so much of their the United Way of Yellowstone County. Photo by time, energy, and talent to this Casey Page. community. That is the success of Untied Way. We couldn’t do what we do without all our volunteers and partners.”

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On Sept. 15, 2011, the United Way of Yellowstone County will host the 19th annual Day of Caring to be held at Rimrock Auto Arena. Event organizers estimate more than 1,000 volunteers will participate in what is expected to be the largest day of service in Yellowstone County to date. The Day of Caring also kicks off the United Way’s annual giving campaign—a Volunteers give their golden campaign time for the Day of for the 50-year-old Caring. Photo by organization. The Day of Paul Ruhter. Caring is a national event centered on community volunteerism in which most United Ways participate. Volunteer teams are partnered with projects submitted by area nonprofit organizations. “The (Day of Caring) is what we are really about: service and mobilizing the caring power of the community,” Burton said. Last year the Day of Caring attracted upwards of 800 volunteers who made an impact of more than $59,000 across 2,800 volunteer hours. Burton hopes for as many as 3,500 volunteer hours this year. “It’s one of those days where people can get out and really have a hands-on experience,” Burton said. From taking children fishing to sorting clothing or prepping meals for families, the volunteer opportunities in the community are numerous and varied. With help from volunteers, many nonprofits can accomplish in one day what would take their staff many months to a year to complete, including landscaping, painting and other improvement projects. Participants gather at the Rimrock Auto Arena Thursday, Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m. for lunch and special presentations. Service projects begin at 1:30 p.m. The morning event includes guest speakers that have spent many years working with the organization, as well as motivational speaker Scott Lillie, president and founder of the Creative Leadership Group and former key executive with the Walt Disney Company. If interested in participating in the Day of Caring and/or attending the 50-year celebration, call United Way of Yellowstone County at 252-3839 ext. 11 or visit






























MAGIC MAGICI Iseptember september 2011 2011 I 15

By Anna Paige • Photos by Casey Page

John Felten

Master wood craftsman

Following John Felten’s divorce, he found himself furnitureless. “I ended up with an empty house, and I wanted to go buy furniture,” Felten said. “But I was dismayed with the quality.” So Felten set about making his own. An admirer of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 1800s, Felten’s philosophy of furniture aligns with the craftsmen of that time, who responded to the industrial revolution by returning to the creation of goods with their hands. Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form and focused on emphasizing the inherent qualities of the

“I thought if I bought tools and crafted the items myself, materials used.

I could make furniture that had a bit more integrity,” Felten said. He has been crafting wood into attractively functional furniture ever since

Felten, who turned 66 in May, recently retired from Border States Electric where he was a project manager for 13 years. Retirement has freed up his time to concentrate on woodworking. In his home shop, he creates household furniture pieces ranging from wine racks and clocks to nightstands, bookcases and occasional tables. Felten’s woods of choice “When you look also parallel the Arts and Crafts Movement. He at a piece of wood predominately works with and realize you can white oak, especially quarter sawn oak, meaning the make something wood is cut at a 90-degree beautiful, to me angle from the growth rings of a log, producing a vertical that idea is very and uniform grain with becoming. It’s like distinctive flecks and ribbon patterns. He also uses a clean palette for mahoganies and “as many a painter.” exotics as I can lay my hands on.”

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The exotics, such as curly maple, are seen throughout his works, from small, decorative boxes to Asian-influenced furniture pieces. The wood artisan takes pride in working exclusively with solid woods. “There’s no pressboard. There is nothing but the real thing in anything I make. I expect it to be around long after I’m gone.” What inspires you? I don’t think there are many things more beautiful than a tree. When you look at a piece of wood and realize you can make something beautiful, to me that idea is very becoming. It’s like a clean palette for a painter. I look at a piece of wood and realize it can be utilitarian, but I can still capture the beauty. Talk about the process of creating these pieces and what you most enjoy. I like going through the raw

materials, looking at the wood, and letting it say, ‘I would be good in this particular instance.’ I study the grain, take that idea, mix it with tools and glue and bring something out on the other side. And I can say, ‘I made this with my hands.’ There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with making something out of raw materials.




1] One of Felten’s favorite creations - wooden, stenciled pencil boxes. 2] A Shaker-inspired end table, perfect for the living room. 3] Taller Shakerstyle end table.

What is your goal with your art? At a

later chapter in life, people evolve to a place where they prefer to have finer things. They want something that was handmade rather than by a machine in China or another place where it’s just not made as well. It would tickle me if I could come back in 100 years to see if the items I’ve made that people have used in their homes are still being enjoyed. John Felten’s works are on display at Purple Sage Gallery, 2511 Montana Ave. His furniture is displayed in Bozeman, at Cello, 18 South Wilson Ave. For more information about John Felten, call (406) 672-6542 or visit

2814 2nd Ave N 259-3624 MAGIC I september 2011 I 17

By Brittany Cremer

15. BEN



New Heights






13. STR




Signature eateries, special shopping, super service in Billings’ Heights


8. 3.

9. LAN





1. LAK






Once considered out-of-the-way, Billings’ Heights is now a sought-after suburb. Ripe with burgeoning businesses, excellent eateries and entertainment, the Heights continues to flourish with the help of a recent infusion of new construction and increased accessibility. With a bird’s eye view of the rest of the city, it’s easy to see why diners, shoppers and prospective home buyers alike are flocking to the area. 1. Montana Jack’s

520 Hansen Lane Always exceeding expectations, the food and staff at Montana Jack’s aim to please. Sumptuous salad bar, breakfasts, extensive menu, daily lunch specials and laid-back atmosphere keep guests at Montana Jack’s coming back.

2. K2 Spas and Sports

501 Hansen Lane Stop in to see Montana’s largest display of pool tables, game room furniture and hot tubs. At K2 Spas and Sports, it’s their job to show you how to have a good time.

3. Off Main Street Deli

669 Main St. Customers at Off Main Deli leave lunch with a sense of sandwich satisfaction, every time. Offering





specialty subs like pastrami, egg salad, chicken salad and more, pair your sammie with a cup of homemade soup to top-off your mouth-watering meal. Or, pop in for breakfast Monday through Friday at 7 a.m.

4. Reiter’s

450 Main St. Whether you need a motorcycle, quad or watercraft fixed or dancewear or swimwear, Reiter’s has what you need at prices you can afford. Your adventure is calling—let Reiter’s help you get there.

5. The Vig Alehouse and Casino

501 Hilltop The most commonly-asked question of its employees, “What does Vig mean?” Vigorish: (n) is Yiddish slang that loosely translates to a charge taken on bets, as by a bookie or during gambling. Offering a relaxing setting, spacious patio and multitude of drink and menu items, we bet you’ll have a good time at the Vig.

6. Cellular Plus

618 Radford Sq. Suite # 1 Now you’re talkin.’ Montana,

Heights Pet Center

Spring Blossom Creations 18 I september 2011 I MAGIC


Wyoming and Oregon’s premium Verizon Wireless retailer, Cellular Plus, offers a full line of cellular phones, accessories and more. Whether looking to outfit the entire family or upgrade your current phone, Cellular Plus has you covered.

7. Fuddruckers

875 Main St. Born to create the “world’s greatest hamburgers,” Fuddruckers does not disappoint. And it all starts with their commitment to fresh beef and ingredients. Choose from their 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1-lb patties, always grilled to order, just the way you like it.

8. Billings Dental Clinic-Edward Lawler

848 Main St. # 1 Dr. Edward Lawler has been specializing in winning smiles for more than 30 years, offering comprehensive dentistry for adults and children. For your next checkup, cleaning or other service, make an appointment with Dr. Lawler.

9. Billings Traditional Martial Arts

926 Main St., Suite 6 All classes at Billings Traditional Martial Arts emphasize traditional Tae Kwon Do as a way of life, melding modern scientific knowledge with ancient principles. Enroll for mind, body and spirit.

10. Spring Blossom Creations

1831 Main Offering unique fabrics and hard-to-find patterns, Spring Blossom Creations is a quilter’s dream come true. Don’t have crafty fingers? Spring Blossom also sells hand-made goods, perfect for that one-of-a-kind gift.

11. Heights Pet Center

reptiles, small animals and tropical fish. Bring the wild home today.

A Shining Example of Quality

12. Best Friends Animal Hospital

1530 Popelka Drive As a full-service medical and surgical practice for small animals, Best Friends Animal Hospital fulfills our community’s need for 24-hour urgent and emergency pet care. Their team of veterinarians, technicians and receptionists are dedicated to taking the best care of your pets.

13. Anytime Fitness

1509 Main St. Offering 24-hour fitness access, group classes, tanning and personal training, Anytime Fitness allows you to get fit on your schedule. Exercise anytime of the day or night using your own security-access keycard.

895 Main St # 6 Heights Pet Center carries everything you need to care for your furry or feathered friend. 14. Parks Martial Arts Additionally, they carry a large 1442 Main St. Offering classes in Tae Kwon variety of hard-to-find birds, Do, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and women’s self-defense, Parks Martial Arts stresses the belief that martial arts are not about fighting, but about living.

15. Bull Mountain Grille

2376 Main St., Suite 818 Serving up juicy steaks, fabulous fish and a variety of unique appetizers, Bull Mountain Grille offers fine fare sure to please even the pickiest palate. No bull.

The Vig Alehouse and Casino

Billings Traditional Martial Arts

MAGIC I september 2011 I 19

By Brittany Cremer


Ultimate John Wayne Collection boxed set

Music “Playing for Change 2: Songs Around The World” [CD/ DVD Combo] By filming and recording dozens of musicians from around the world, filmmaker, producer and Playing for Change founder, Mark Johnson, creates a world where musicians play together—even though they are miles apart. Johnson captures stunning musical collaborations that seamlessly blend diverse styles of music into powerful performances, creating a global mix of cultures and rhythms featuring original songs written for the album, as well as reinterpretations of internationally loved recordings including Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” An international tapestry of tunes, listen and watch as the music connects the dots.

Web Ed Unusual Hotels of the World will help you book an experience, not just a hotel. Stay in an old railway car nested in an Alaskan mountain, a tree house in Sweden or a hemp hotel in Amsterdam. The site features a detailed description of each hotel and member ratings. It’s a theme traveler’s dream.

An injury may have curtailed his football career, but it also helped transform Marion Morrison into the most beloved Western movie star of all time—John Wayne. Epitomizing rugged masculinity with his signature swagger, unforgettable one-liners and understated charm, Wayne went on to star in more than 200 movies. Several of these are still family classics today. On Oct. 11, the Ultimate John Wayne Collection boxed set will be released, including more than 25 classic Westerns and 36 serial film episodes featuring Wayne. The films capture John Wayne’s trademark smile, cock of the hat and six-shooter skills that fans love, while the serials provide a glimpse at his multi-faceted acting skills, making this a unique collection for all John Wayne fans.

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Book “Montana Chillers: 13 True Tales of Ghosts and Hauntings” By Ellen Baumler Do you believe in ghosts? Prepare for 13 encounters with the supernatural as you shiver through some of Montana’s most chilling tales of ghosts and hauntings. All of these stories are true. They are about real people, real places and real events, including tales of the Harlem Hotel, the ghost of Elling House, Garnet Ghost Town, Haunted Bannack and more.

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By Dina Brophy

Home on the Range

Outfit your home office with Western panache Wagon Wheel Lamp

Cattle Baron Collection Oval Desk

Complement your Western office with this charming, bucolic wagon wheel lamp from Montana Silversmiths. A distinctive combination of rugged-refinement, this lamp serves its purpose with thematic flair. Available at Gypsy Wind, $100

This oval desk from the Cattle Baron Collection strikes a balance between refined European sensibility and rugged Western style. Each piece is carefully designed, skillfully assembled and masterfully finished using only the finest materials available. This piece makes an exquisite centerpiece to the home office that is dedicated to preserving a proud and elegant way of Western living. Available at Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters Check store for pricing

Sphinx Area Rug A perfect marriage of form and function, this Old World-look area rug presents a delicately-aged appearance, making it a compatible complement to a rustic setting. The palette of rich, natural colors warm the room and introduce just the right amount of spice-inspired hues. Available at Stone Mountain Leather Furniture Gallery $425 (5’x 8’)

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High Fear

“A Flash of Memory” This unique mixed media piece from AM Stockhill fits like a glove in a Western-inspired room. Stockhill specializes in richly textured painting surfaces and warm, earth-inspired tones. Of special interest to the artist is the integration of old book pages into paintings.  Old Western novels, history books and other papers from the past help portray the passage of time. Available at The Frame Hut & Gallery, $1600

Cattle Baron Collection Desk Chair Also from the line of furnishings that glorifies the American West, this Cattle Baron Collection chair is no ordinary desk chair, but rather an elegant fusion of hair-on-hide and hand-crafted leather fashioned with timeless distinction. Available at Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters Check store for pricing

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great estates

wildly urbane Concrete, steel and glass rise organically from the earth to create a spectacular home on the Montana prairie

By Julie Green • Photography by Darby Ask

MAGIC I september 2011 I 25


great estates

“I came out here about 12 years ago, and it was pretty apparent that this was a rare place to be.”

— Home Owner

“Rare” is the perfect word to describe the extraordinary home located in the hills southeast of Billings. Constructed of integrated concrete forms and steel beams, and featuring expansive walls of glass, the structure takes on a contemporary, almost urban feel. At the same time, the home exudes the essence of the Montana landscape. “When you look at the Rims to the north, you see that there is nothing soft about them,” said architect Brian M. Johnson, A.I.A, who designed the home. “They have straight, hard lines that are contemporary or modern in form. Similarly, the architecture of this home evolved from the site itself.”

A private retreat Located just 20 minutes from Billings’ city center, the property includes more than 240 acres of rugged, tree-lined hills and prairie land. The owners named it “Wild Plum,” and chose a home site high atop a bluff overlooking a magnificent, unspoiled basin. Distance from the city and the lack of human encroachment has left the large expanse of land looking much the same as when settlers first ventured to the Montana Territory. It was this very sense of wide openness that first intrigued the owners, and ultimately led the couple down the path to building their dream home.

Polish with a purpose The design started with an emphasis on how to make the home function best in the frequently harsh Montana climate. Siting was the first consideration.

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1. 3.


1] The home’s entrance is protected from the wind and weather. 2] The home was constructed of concrete, steel and glass. 3] Inside, the warm color palette mimics the surrounding landscape.





6417 TRADE CENTER AVENUE BILLINGS, MT 59101 (406) 655.1116 • FAX - (406) 655.1117 WWW.HULTENGINC.COM

MAGIC I september 2011 I 27


great estates 1.

“Most houses look west toward the mountains or town,” the husband says. “Unfortunately, that puts you in the path of the afternoon sun and in the face of the wind. Our idea was to face this house toward the southeast so that we’d get warmth in the winter and avoid being baked in the summer sun.” Building materials were also important. The couple chose a unique combination of industrialstyle components, including concrete, steel and glass. On their own, these elements seem raw and unrefined; but melded together in a beautifully articulated structure they evoke a protective and welcoming feel. “We were mindful that we were building a home in a remote area surrounded by pine trees and native grass where wildfires can and do occur,” he says. The choice to forego the more common stickbuilt design in favor of concrete and steel was not only aesthetic, but practical. Because of the unusual design and use of industrial materials, the owners hired Hulteng, Inc., an experienced commercial construction firm, to oversee the project. “It was challenging,” said Shane Swandal, partner and co-owner of Hulteng, Inc. As an example of the complexity, Swandal points to one of the main walls along the east side of the structure. Projecting 18 feet out of the ground, the wall leans away from the structure at a 15-degree angle, creating a distinctive architectural interpretation of the surrounding bluffs. “It took our cumulative expertise and a great deal of foresight to precisely connect all the components,” he said.

Flow and functionality The interior of the home mirrors the same thoughtful attributes as the exterior. Tall ceilings and walls of windows in the main living area create a sense of spaciousness and flow. The open concept kitchen, great room and formal dining area enjoy unobstructed views of tree-lined hills. A warm-colored wash on the walls mimics the colors found outside and makes the space feel cozy 1] Made of soapstone, the wood stove is designed to hold and steadily distribute heat, rather than radiate it like a traditional steel stove. The home also has energy-efficient radiant floor heat and supplemental forced air. 2] The husband constructed the bar from a two-inch slab of walnut wood. The pendant lights above were created by the wife, a ceramicist. 3] The couple enjoys expansive granite countertops for cooking and prep work. Photo by Phil Bell. 4] The massive dining room table appears to hover in mid-air. In lieu of legs, the owners found a piece of pipe at a local recycling center, bolted it to the floor and attached the solid hardwood to the top.

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in spite of its size and hard-edged construction. Sunlight streams in through windows and bounces off the stained concrete floors, further enhancing the richness of the space. “The owners wanted real honesty in the structure,� Johnson says. “As we developed the design, the husband emphasized simplicity.�

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From the main level, visitors can see the unique cantilevered staircase leading to the upstairs loft. The husband welded the metal steps, which seem to float in mid-air. “The owner actually welded about 90 percent of the steel in

the home,� said Swandal. “When he told me that he wanted to weld, I told him that I would allow him to do one, then I’d come and inspect it to ensure proper welds and penetration. He did it exactly as we’d told him to do it. It was perfect. He did an exceptional job.� The couple was hands-on, involved in many aspects of the project. Together, they even installed one of the massive exterior steel braces just outside the en suite master bath. “The best part of the whole project was getting to know the owners,� Swandal notes. “The husband is excellent at figuring out any type of tool; he was a great asset to the project.�


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1] The property boasts a natural spring-fed pond. 2] Steel beams are exposed both on the interior and the exterior. The couple liked the appearance of the beams and the rusted patina which mirrors the natural colors of the surrounding hills. Photo by Phil Bell. 3] The master bath won a national design award in 2008. Photo by Phil Bell. 4] With glass doors that allow the light to flood in, the garage provides an art space for the wife and work shop for the husband. One of his current projects is a 1950 Willys Jeepster.

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Award-winning design The many unusual and sustainable aspects of the home made it a stand-out design. In recognition of those exceptional elements, the National Kitchen and Bath Associations awarded Johnson first place in the nation for Best Sustainable Master Bath Design in 2008, and another first-place award for Best

Sustainable Kitchen Design in 2009. Taking more than a decade to plan, design and complete, the home now nestles into the hills where its deep foundation rests, the modern form blending seamlessly and quietly into the ruggedness of its surroundings. Turns out the owner was right. Wild Plum is indeed a rare place.








Art & Frame 652-3455 1070 S. 24th Street West Just South of Dos Machos. MAGIC MAGICI Iseptember september 2011 2011 I 31


great estates

The Super Bowl. For some it’s just another Sunday; for others, it’s a climatic event that either grants bragging rights or sends ‘em skulking off with their tails between their legs. But for Rick and Cindy Vancleeve, Superbowl XLV was more than just the biggest party the couple had ever thrown – it marked the goal line for their home remodeling project.

An inspired undertaking When the Vancleeves signed on the dotted line for their home in 2004, what they really purchased was a project. Built in the early 1980s, the house had good bones – a charming Tudor exterior, a spacious lot, custom wood and rock work, a beautiful view and plenty of space for both the couple and their growing business, Pine Cove Consulting. But there was much the couple wanted to change. “Everything was white,” Cindy remembered. “White walls and white carpeting upstairs and downstairs – even in the kitchen and bathrooms.” In addition, the great room was divided by glass walls that had once served as an atrium, the entry was cramped and the kitchen was outdated. After living in the home for several years, the couple had many ideas for changes. But when Rick sat down and sketched out how they lived, worked and entertained in their home, they finally felt motivated to take action. They chose local contractor Jeremy Freyenhagen to head up the project. “We used a design system that allowed Rich and Cindy to see how things would look in 3-D on a big screen,” said Freyenhagen. “It helped them to work their way through what the design needed to look like, and how it needed to function before we even started.”

transformation Before Before photos courtesy of Freyenhagen Construction.

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by julie green photography by bob zellar KITCHEN:Working with interior designer Peggy Christensen, Cindy selected natural brown granite and slim horizontal tiles in white, tan, brown and gold on the backsplash. “It wasn’t what I picked out originally,” Cindy recalls, “but when I saw it all put together, I really loved it. It was definitely the right choice.”

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great estates

Before Timely transformations Once plans were in place, the team went to work. Glass walls in the great room were removed, and the walk-through between the dining room and kitchen was enclosed. Two columns went up, with natural rock selected to mirror the main floor fireplace. The kitchen was thoroughly renovated to make it more suitable for entertaining as well as cooking, while a more functional laundry room was created to add additional storage. Rich cocoa-colored tile, hardwood and carpeting replaced the once all white flooring, evoking a warm, welcoming feel. In addition to aesthetic updates, the home was retrofitted with some of the latest technology. “Every outlet can be run by an iPad or our iPhones,” said says Rick. “We can program the lighting for certain times of day, and turn all the lights off with a click of a button. All of our TVs are also computer monitors, but everything runs from downstairs.”

Preserving the past As the project progressed, the Vancleeves made a number of other key changes. In the great room, a single sliding door was replaced with a wall of windows, including two large doors that open out onto the yard. All of the rooms throughout the home were painted after having the

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ABOVE, BEFORE (TOP)/ AFTER PHOTOS: Once broken up with glass walls, the great room is now open and full of light. The decision to install the additional bank of windows was one made after the project had begun. Brazilian walnut engineered hardwood was chosen for its durability and low-maintenance as well as its ability to tie together the different types of wood in the room. The main wall color in this room, and throughout the house, is called Rolling Pebble. CENTER RIGHT: DINING ROOM: Closing off the doorway between the kitchen and dining room created a perfect nook for the China buffet. LEFT, STAIRCASES: The wooden staircases are one of the main focal points in the home. The decision to replace traditional spindles with a cable and wire system made them appear simpler and more modern. RIGHT: Originally holding enough soil to sustain a massive tree, the vault was emptied and transformed into a quiet office area for Rick.


Sometimes, Simple Is Better.

BEFORE/AFTER: In the great room, a single sliding door was replaced with a wall of windows, including two large doors that open out onto the yard. All of the rooms throughout the home were painted after having the popcorn ceilings removed.


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great estates

popcorn ceilings removed. Downstairs, the concrete vault, which had held the dirt from atrium, was transformed into an office for Rick. The media room was updated and a stunning new bath was added next to an exercise room. Upstairs, the loft was seamlessly enclosed in glass and cedar to house Cindy’s office, and modern metal and cable railings replaced the outdated wooden spindles. Despite the many changes being made, it was still important to the Vancleeves that the home retain its original charm – including the cedar wall in the great room. “Keeping the wall was important to them and to us,” said Freyenhagen. “I don’t think you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to remodeling. You just need to make sure everything is cohesive once it’s completed. We found ways to merge the old and the new.” For Rick and Cindy, the outcome was everything they had hoped for. “We wanted people to walk in and say, ‘You built a new house and this is how you designed it,’” said Cindy. “I really feel that we accomplished that goal.”

Before ABOVE: Charming and unique, the cedar wall with inlay was one feature of the home the Vancleeves were committed to retaining. ENTRY WAY: Extra space and added ambiance were created with the renovation of the home’s entry way. Tile accents and added storage space enhance the attractive space.

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Wine Cellar



Warming Drawer

Wine Cellar



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MAGIC I september 2011 I 37


from the garden

The Gift of Gourds By Dayle Hayes and Allie Tabish

Most venture into autumn’s seasonal cooking with trepidation, baking an ordinary squash or roasting the leftover seeds of a carved pumpkin. Very few of us are aware of the wonderfully diverse spectrum of flavors and textures found in the abundant varieties of winter squash.


You’re probably familiar with the most common varieties of winter squash: acorn, butternut, pumpkin and maybe spaghetti squash. All are good sources of vitamins C and B6 as well as excellent sources of vitamin A and potassium. All squash are also low in calories, fat-free and packed with dietary fiber. Winter squash seeds are rich in healthy fatty acids like Omega 6, similar to olive oil. Squash can even boast a few more bonus points. They are entirely edible – from the flesh and the skin to the leaves and shoots. Hard-skinned squash, especially large ones, can be stored for up to six months. With a little know-how, you can enjoy delicious, nutrient-rich squash long after the farmers close up their stands. 1.] Japanese Kabocha Squash are large, round and squat, mottled with dark green and orange bumpy skin. Kabocha squash are grown locally and are versatile, used for both culinary and decorative purposes. The flesh of Kabocha is slightly nutty and sweeter than butternut squash, with a texture that is smoother than a pumpkin and coarser than a sweet potato. The Kabocha requires very little preparation to achieve optimal flavor. Roasting with a

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bit of butter or olive oil is all this rich, delicious vegetable needs. Kabocha is one of the most popular squash in Japan, where it is often served in vegetable tempura. It is also a traditional ingredient in Thai cuisine, pairing beautifully with ginger and sesame. Some cultures even revere this magnificent squash as an aphrodisiac. 2.] Sweet Dumpling Squash with its ivy green and cream-colored stripes

is fantastic for roasting and presenting whole. The flesh is sweeter and drier than that of other winter squash, and, once cooked, the peel is soft enough to eat. With a mild, slightly corn-flavored flesh that is as dry as a potato, cut a Sweet Dumpling in half, bake and add a little butter. These smaller squash are perfect for a single serving. Sweet Dumpling squash can be stored up to four months, with only a slight change in skin color from creamy white

to buttery orange. Consider these cute, little gourds for autumnal arrangements. 3.] Another striped winter squash is the Delicata. This vibrant vegetable also answers to the aliases of Peanut, Bohemian and Sweet Potato Squash. Indigenous to North and Central America, the Delicata was introduced to European settlers by Native Americans. The delicious Delicata has a silky pulp that tastes a bit like a cross of corn

and sweet potatoes. Baked or steamed, the edible skin is also surprisingly scrumptious. 4.] Banana Squash may be cylindrical in shape like the Delicata squash, but it isn’t much of a table decoration. Weighing anywhere from 10 to 70 pounds and growing up to 4 feet long, these squash can provide flavor and nutrition to any meal. The sweet flesh of Banana squash is moist, buttery and hearty. It’s perfect for baking, roasting, grilling and steaming, as well as pureeing for soups and sauces. Considering the size of a typical Banana squash, you’re most likely going to find it cut and packaged in a grocery store, but whole Banana squash are frequently available at a farmers’ market.






5.] Thelma Sanders Squash is an heirloom squash from Adair County, Mo. introduced nationwide in 1988 by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Thelma Sanders are golden-yellow, acorn-shaped squash with ridges from end to end. The squash cooks up to a soft and velvety texture, with a deliciously unique chestnut flavor. The size of the Thelma Sanders squash makes it perfect for couples and small families. 6.] Turban Squash and Buttercup Squash are another winter squash known for its taste, nutrition and storability, regardless of its strange looking appearance. Both Turban squash and Buttercup squash can be grown in Montana and are unabashed oddballs – at least superficially. While the lower half of Turban squash resembles the shade and shape of a pumpkin, it is the gourd’s top half that is its most curious quality. From this fairly benign bottom juts out a bulbous, flamboyant knob of oranges, greens, yellows and whites, almost as though a new squash is trying to escape from its original vessel. These squash have a slight hazelnut flavor – and are excellent in soups. The unique shape is easily hollowed out after chopping off the knob, making it an ideal, natural bowl in which to serve a savory seasonal soup. Turban squash can also be substituted in recipes that call for pie pumpkin. Buttercup squash is another delectable squash. Its string-less flesh, culinary versatility and nutty, sweet potato flavor have made it a longtime New England favorite, easy to incorporate in pies, soups and casseroles.

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Flavorful Fall Goodness Pumpkin Soup with Sweet Cream and Dried Cranberries Photography by David Grubbs

What better way to take advantage of autumn’s luminary gourd than by making homemade pumpkin soup to serve at your next fall dinner party? This savory sensation is the creation of Billings’ own Jason Damjanovich, a line chef at Walker’s Bar and Grill.

Soup 1 Walla Walla onion, minced 3 large celery sticks, minced 4 oz. butter ½ cup flour 32 oz. chicken stock 29 oz. + 15 oz. cans pure pumpkin puree 4 cups water 1 cup brown sugar 1 pint heavy cream 2 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon nutmeg 1 tablespoon ground thyme ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 2 tablespoon salt

Sweet Cream ½ cup powdered sugar ¼ teaspoon vanilla 1 cup heavy cream

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1. Sweat onions and celery in butter until soft. 2. Add flour and cook until thickened. 3. Slowly add the chicken stock, stir until combined. 4. Add pumpkin puree and 4 cups of water, stir until nicely combined. 5. Add 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 pint of heavy cream. 6. Add all dry ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. 7. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream in bowl and whisk until thick. 8. Pour hot soup into bowls and garnish, swirling the sweet cream on top and finishing with dried cranberries. Serving tip: For added seasonal effect, try serving this soup in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Jason Damjanovich Line chef, Walker’s Bar and Grill



For a westward expansion of your horizons to the notoriously saturated city of Seattle, there is no better time of year to visit than early fall, which boasts fewer crowds and lower prices than summer. Even if the weather in Seattle isn’t hot, its wine market surely is. The extensive selections at the Purple Café and Wine Bar as well as the Sixth Avenue Wine Seller showcase many of the region’s exemplary grapes. Order the “Washington Flight” at the Purple Café, which will surely complement the chic menu’s fresh and local ingredients. In the heart of downtown, three escalator flights up in Pacific Place Shopping Center is the Sixth Avenue Wine Seller. At this cozy, modern bar you can split a bottle of wine with a friend and relax to the live piano music the weekend while taking in the view of the illustrious Seattle skyline. If you are simply seeking a sumptuous bottle to take home, the following three Seattle wine merchants provide great selections of Washington wines along with generous global choices. Outside the Pike Place Market, knowledgeable staff gives thoughtful advice at Pike and Western Wine Shop. Esquin Wine merchants, located in SODO, a hip district south of downtown, is a veritable wine treasure trove. And as

the name connotes, a true gem of Seattle wine stores is Champion Wine Cellars, which opened in 1969 as one of Washington’s first recipients of a wine retail license. While heading south to the airport, stop at Urban Enoteca, a tasting center for several boutique wineries including Five Star Cellars and Fidelitas Wines. After securing a library card upon cheking in, you can “check out” as much wine as you want at the various vintner tables and linger over a glass to ease your nerves after a whirlwind stay in the Emerald City before boarding your flight back to Billings.

Washington State Wines Available Locally Mark Ryan Winery, Long Haul Red Wine, Red Mountain, Washington State, 2008, $48, available at City Vineyard With a blend of 63 percent Merlot, 22 percent Cabernet Franc, 11 percent Petit Verdot and 4 percent Malbec, plums, dark cherries and tobacco provide the “long haul” flavors for this wine. Bookwalter Winery, Protagonist, Columbia Valley, 2008, $50, available at City Vineyard Equal proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah fill this wine with rich flavors of cherry, blackberry and spice, certainly making this a prominent wine. Merry Cellars, Crimson, Washington State, 2008, $19, available at CVS/Pharmacy The combination of 68 percent Merlot, 25 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 7 percent Cabernet Franc creates a ripe, dark cherryflavored wine intermixed with cocoa and spice.

Stella Fong divides her time between Billings and Big Sky where she writes, cooks and teaches. Recently she received a Robert Parker Scholarship for continuing studies at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

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By Gail Hein • Illustration by Lee Hulteng

She made her debut in 1902, the queen of Hi Bug – a residential district in downtown Red Lodge. Oh, it wasn’t that she had no rivals. There were other beauties most certainly, but she gloried in her splendor and knew she was a head-turner. When passersby glanced her way, they found themselves gazing at the shimmer of sunrise.

Queen Anne moaned in the wind. She creaked and groaned in the heat as she braved the change. Strangers broke in and took precious things, violating her without mercy.

The golden era sailed on. In 1917, Victorian Queen Anne welcomed a young doctor and his bride, and they stayed with her for more than 50 years. There was laughter and love. A child grew up to be a fine man. What good times they were. The volumes of leather-bound classics, massive, ornate furniture and rich carpets – she bore the weight of it all with joy. Queen Anne looked out upon the sprouting city of Red Lodge with clarity and hope. Of course, there were bad times – the basement fire that threatened her very existence, but put itself out with minimal damage; the flood that left her soggy. But Queen Anne remained strong and sturdy nonetheless. Quiet times fell upon her, then descent into abandonment. Her beauty faded, peeled away and disintegrated. Alone over the next four decades, she endured an infestation of bats and pigeons. Cold, biting winds howled through shattered windows. Feral cats colonized the nether regions, multiplied and returned the gift of rodenticide. Queen Anne moaned in the wind. She creaked and groaned in the heat as she braved the change. Strangers broke in and took precious things, violating her without mercy. Sensing that Queen Anne still had life in her yet, someone set up a Ouija Board. The séance finished, divining tools were left behind along with burning candles. Four puddles of melted wax sealed the corners of the board to her once beautiful carpet. She sank into oblivion beyond sorrow and despair, celebrating her hundredth birthday in seeming solitude.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 43



When men came, unrolling their sheaves of plans and disturbing her dreamless slumber, she bridled in bitter defense. She tried to drive them away, loosening a cascade of chimney bricks upon them, nudging ladders off the roof to strand them. Workers in the basement scattered like leaves in a whirlwind when she released a cache of silver coins rushing down between her walls with a menacing whoosh. Resistance was futile. She submitted grudgingly to their ministrations. The craftsmen and women treated her with respect, dignity, even love, throughout the restoration. Now, at the age of 109, she glows with a new radiance—a glory to surpass even that of her youth. Her spirit is at peace. She has a new name, Sunrise House. And a future--maybe another hundred years.

The rest of the story Dave Anderson, master renovator and craftsman, spoke passionately about the stunning, cross-gabled Queen Anne Victorian home in Red Lodge. The structural design includes a rising sun motif, its rays filling the triangles of the east and west gables. Originally white, the rays now glow in shades of gold and orange.

Restless spirits Eerie events accompanied the renovation on the house. While removing loose chimney bricks, Anderson and a co-worker noticed an odd formation of fog on the east bench above the town. It rolled down and quickly shrouded them in mist. The chimney proceeded to collapse, and bricks tumbled everywhere. Then the workmen’s ladder crashed to the ground, leaving the two men clinging to rotten shingles. Anderson worked his way over the eaves to a broken window, and batted aside ragged curtains to swing himself inside.

As work progressed, weird things continued to happen. The newlyinstalled elevator seemed to enjoy running itself, entrapping a worker as its helpless passenger. Three witnesses can attest to the odd behavior of the elevator, banging its doors open and shut in a most irritated fashion.

Who ya gonna call? The combination of creepy events added up. Professional ghost chasers, equipped with infrared cameras and sound detection devices, set to work. A diaphanous figure seemed to float through a wall, across a hall and out the other side. The elevator performed its unsettling burlesque. Still, the ghost chasers weren’t satisfied. They taunted the spirits relentlessly, hoping to evoke more spectacular phenomena. “The next morning,” Anderson said, “I felt an aggressive vibe, or spirit in the house, and I told the ghost chasers not to continue their work.”

At peace at last

As the project drew to a close, the house gradually became tranquil. Light now floods every room, illuminating the new décor’s exquisite furnishings. Anderson invested a great deal of time, money and effort in the restoration of the derelict remains. He and several others spent thousands of hours and more than 40 months on the makeover. The intended use of the house at its completion in 2009 was for luxury assisted living, with eight bedrooms and eight bath accommodations and Rental information is all codes met. That outcome has not come to pass. The house is now available for holiday and available from Heather Quinn, other rental. (See sidebar.) Broker/Owner, Prudential Red Registered as a National Historic Place, Sunrise Lodge Real Estate. House is a shining star in the lovely constellation 406-855-2123 (mobile) and that is Red Lodge.

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44 I september 2011 I MAGIC


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legacy of lead pigment and wall dogs

By Gail Hein Photography by Larry Mayer They emerge unexpectedly, exposing themselves in faded pigmentations. Bit by bit, they begin to appear with the semblance of how they were a hundred years ago, evoking memories of a different time. In truth, they never left. Clinging to the brick walls and sandstone, they endured under subsequent layers of paint, bricks, metal sheathing and ravages of weather. In their day, these “ghosts” were vibrantly useful, endorsing products and services from the sides of buildings, rooftops and even the iconic Rimrocks south of Billings. These “spirits” are historical painted advertising signs.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Top: 1950’s 7 Up signs near AA Transmission at 2122 First Avenue North. Bottom right: Follow the life of the Selz Royal Blue Shoes wall sign, now housed in the Computers Unlimited offices.

A massive need for signage resulted from the newly mobile population at the turn of the 20th century. National distributorships wanted their names to be visible to increasing rail traffic passing through Billings. Automobiles followed within a decade or two, generating signage along roads and streets. Soon signs even appeared on roof tops, marketing to airplanes, the newest form of transport. Commercial enterprises lived by the tagline, “Out of sight, out of mind, out of business,” and thus entrepreneurs loudly proclaimed their wares and services in 2-foot high letters. The itinerant sign painters that toiled up and down their vertical work spaces were dubbed with the fitting title of “wall dogs.”

MAGIC I september 2011 I 47



These sign painters used lead paint in a white hue. It was easily tinted, flexible and impermeable, and touted unequalled weather resistance. The wall dogs drew their patterns by hand on sheets of paper. A tool called a Mahl Stick supported and steadied their hand that held the brush, and a perforating wheel allowed a powder to be “puffed” through the holes, outlining the shape on the wall. Purposeful shading made the words pop out to the viewer.

Spirits of commerce past

Top: Remarkably, most people walking or driving along the first block of North 29th Street will never see this plain-as-day banner ad for items out of use for decades. The signage bears witness to the staying power of the lead-based paints of the era. The front of this building, now called Barbizan Square, still bears the proud nameplate of Sturm & Drake, grocer and supplier of the above commodities. Above and center right: Computers Unlimited Owner, Mike Schaer preserved original signs by having them clear-coated to protect the paint. Right: The Emerson hardware store sign can be seen at North 29th Street.

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Historian Kevin Kooistra of the Western Heritage Center gets a twinge of excitement every time he spots a bit of one of these centuryold advertisements beginning to show beneath peeling coats of paint. He observes that signs, like archeological layers, reveal distinct strata of time. According to Kooistra, poring over historic photos of street events, such as parades, provides surprising “secondary aspects incidental to the happening.” Buildings in the background that still exist prominently display their early signage. If lead-based paint was used, chances are it will eventually reappear as a “ghost sign.” “Should the building stand yet another century, it will not give up its ghost,” Kooistra smiled.

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All Creatures Stupid and Dangerous By Gene Colling • Illustration by Lee Hulteng

When I read the book and watched the British television series “All Creatures Great and Small” chronicling the veterinary practice of Dr. James Herriot in the pastoral English countryside, I realized his experiences with farm animals did not match my own. Growing up, it seemed the animals on our farm were out to get me. When I was old enough to do chores, I started on the bottom rung, feeding the chickens and picking up the eggs. Hens might seem motherly and timid in nursery rhyme lore, but believe me – those surly birds guarded their eggs with a vengeance. Each day I faced a row of clucking biddies that relegated me to the low end of the pecking order. As I worked my way down the line, each hen would aim a hard peck at my hand. The hens became more troublesome than a schoolyard bully. My tactic became to scare them off their nests by rapping on their roost with a stick. This only escalated their natural tendency for hysteria. Soon, the egg output plunged and eventually my parents announced that we were quitting the egg business. One day a man came and loaded the hens into crates. Feathers fluttered behind as the chicken truck hauled them away. I would soon miss the chickens. I moved on to the pig barn, which I realized was far more dangerous than the chicken shed. Pigs are the smartest farm animal and could be remotely related to bears. They will eat anything, perhaps even a small farm kid, if they got the chance. For a few years we raised our own pigs. The 300-pound sows would be moved to farrowing pens where they would give birth to their litters of piglets. The sows could run the range of temperament from mellow to murderous. Coming between them and their young could be dangerous. Some would charge the gate as I passed, grunting and chomping their powerful jaws, sending a clear message that they would crunch every bone in my body. Fortunately, I was too young to go into the farrowing pens, and by the time I was, we’d quit raising pigs. Again, a truck came and hauled the sows away. Now I was ready to move on to the big time: working

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with cattle. For the most part, it was uneventful. All I had to do was feed them. But when it came time to herd them or sell them, the danger factor quickly ratcheted up. We did the herding and culling for sale on foot so we used the “surround and yell” method. In these situations, the trampling ploy was always in play. Sorting cattle for market was especially fraught with danger. We would run a bunch in the barn and my dad would walk through them and sort them by yelling “hold ‘em” or “let ‘em go.” My job was to guard the door and not let the “hold ‘ems” get out. But when a “hold ‘em” saw my rail-thin silhouette guarding the door to freedom, he would come barreling at me. I used my patented jumping jack technique while yelling “heeyaa!” at the top of my lungs in an attempt to turn the creature back. At that point, I’d have to make a judgment call as to whether my “heeyaa” would stop the charge, or if I’d be trampled. If trampling was imminent, I would pirouette out of the way at the last second and barely preserve my life. It was the stuff of nightmares. Somehow we managed to get the cattle sorted with limbs still attached, and in the early hours of the morning a long truck would come and haul the cows away. Even the 4-H club I belonged to was no safe haven. Our club was called the Clearwater Clovers, and all the members were required to raise a farm animal, keep records of its growth and train it to show. The culmination of the 4-H year was Achievement Days held in summer, when we would move our animals to town to be judged. While I took the safe route and chose a pig for my project, Stan, the neighbor kid, for some unfathomable reason chose a Holstein bull for his animal, and named it Reggie. Reggie had the temper of a malevolent African Cape Buffalo and was armed with stiletto-sharp horns to back it up. To train him to lead, Stan hitched Reggie to a Farmall tractor and drove up and down their lane in low gear while Reggie boiled the ground behind him. Eventually, Reggie figured resistance was futile and would docilely follow the tractor. When Achievement Days came, I showed my pig and

collected my ribbon and went over to watch the dairy judging. As Stan led Reggie out of the barn, Reggie suddenly discovered that Stan was no Farmall tractor and proceeded to tow Stan along on a stampede through the judging ground. Stan valiantly held onto the halter rope, taking great pounding leaps to keep up. Animals and people scattered to get out of the way. Stan lost his grip on the halter rope and fell to the ground exhausted. As Reggie continued to plow through the grounds, people regrouped and used the surround and yell method to coerce him into a pen. Then a truck came and hauled Reggie away. I took all of these childhood animal encounters for granted until I saw a TV program about the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It amazed me that people would actually do this for fun. Ask any old farm kid about such rituals and he would probably say, “Been there, done that.” These days, my life is much calmer. The only animal herding I do is letting the dog in and out of the house. Some of my busy neighbors, however, use a dog walking service, and each day I watch with a grin as a brightly-colored bus comes and hauls them away. This time to a fun place.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 51


beyond billings

Verdant valleys caressed in shafts of sunlight, the perfect milieu for nurturing and perfecting the art of grape growing. Fill a glass, fill your senses with the bucolic charm of the Napa Valley – n­­ature’s decanter for rousing, robust varietals.

Grape Expectations By Karen Kinser

Galileo once observed that “wine is sunlight, held together by water,” and anyone who has ever enjoyed a wellcrafted wine could confirm his observation. You can almost taste that brilliant sunshine in the layers of the drink, and with a wide imagination, you just might experience other factors that formed and flavored the wine – fingers of fog wafting through redwoods from the nearby coast, the minty tang of eucalyptus, flinty undertones from the volcanic soil, or even the scent of oleander, lemons and lavender sifting through the air. A fall trip to the Napa and Sonoma areas of California’s renowned wine country will enhance the feast of the senses that a good wine provides. In autumn the vines will be spooling across the hills in translucent golden flame, shielding bunches of swollen grapes ready for harvest. Walk past an open door of a winery, and you will surely be greeted by the yeasty, intoxicating perfume of fermenting grapes. Famed chefs will prepare unforgettable meals using local products, complemented by the region’s celebrated wines. And with a wood-burning fireplace crackling in the corner of your weekend room overlooking the bucolic terroir, you might wonder for a moment if you haven’t been transported to Tuscany. Good wine is certainly an expression of art and alchemy. So indeed is a trip to the wine country of California.

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beyond billings





Previous page: Rows of grapevines line a sun-kissed field in Napa Valley. 1] Calistoga Ranch, one of Napa Valley’s most luxurious resorts. 2] Cakebread Cellars covers 982 acres, 451 of which are currently planted. 3] The Napa Valley Wine Train offers guests great food and hard-to-find wine. 4] Explore the 200-plus acres of di Rosa Art & Nature Preserve.


Napa? Sonoma? Both?

The history of wine-making in California can be traced to 18th century Spanish missionaries, who established vineyards to make wine for church Mass. The modern renaissance in wine growth for California – which produces about 90 percent of all wines made in the U.S. and a quarter of the world’s wines – began in the 1960s and is attributed by many to the influence of Robert Mondavi. Often considered the father of California wine, Mondavi built the first major Napa Valley winery in 1966 with a vision of creating quality wines to rival those of Europe. He achieved his vision through innovative technical improvements and aggressive marketing techniques, bringing worldwide attention to Napa’s wines. Harvest of Joy; How the Good Life Became Great Business, chronicles his journey and passion for excellence in both life and wine-making. What clinched California’s reputation for incredible wine, however, was the Judgment of Paris wine competition in 1976, when California wines beat out the French (in both red and white) in blind taste tests. While a large part of the state produces grapes and wine, the two most well-known areas are arguably the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and these valleys too have experienced incredible growth. In 1976, Napa Valley had only 25 wineries. Today more than 400 wineries exist between Napa and Sonoma.

Deciding which valley to visit depends on your tastes, budget and time constraints. Napa is often described as glamorous and upscale, while Sonoma is sometimes called sleepy, casual and more country. Napa Valley is smaller, and the roads can be congested, whereas Sonoma is larger (with 13 different American Viticultural Areas or AVAs in Sonoma County) and more picturesque with its rolling hills, valleys and coastline. If you want to experience both Sonoma and Napa, stay at the south end of either towns (or Yountville in Napa) and you can drive between the two in just a half an hour.

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Lodging Accommodations in wine country are as varied and wide-ranging as the types of grapes that grow there. Spend the night in a caboose at the Napa Valley Railway Inn (equipped with a survival packet that includes 20 wine tasting vouchers as well as Advil). Stay among the magical, vineyard-adjacent gardens of Yountville’s Harvest Inn. Play croquet, tennis or golf at the lavish Meadowood Resort – complete with a Michelin award-winning restaurant. Take a therapeutic bath in local Calistoga, known for its natural hot springs and retreat back to the luxurious Calistoga Ranch Resort. For those green-minded individuals, the LEED platinum-certified Bardessono Hotel might be the perfect choice. Play giant chess in the historic gardens of

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beyond billings

enough forsight to make reservations three months in advance. You can sample the cuisine of the master chefs of tomorrow at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Restaurant. At Doce Lunas in Kenwood, Calif. you can enjoy globally-inspired dishes among the restaurant’s signature stunning antiques, which are also for sale. Michelin Guide-recommended Sonoma-Meritage Martini Oyster Bar and Grill taut award-winning cocktails as well as a live Dungeness crab and Maine Lobster tank. For an unforgettable wine country experience, take the Napa Valley Wine Train and savor lunch or dinner in an antique train car while enjoying 25 miles of Napa Valley views. For wallet-wary travelers, remember that dining in wine country doesn’t have to break the bank. Grab a surprisingly scrumptious snack at one of the many roadside taco trucks. Or why not pack a picnic lunch to complement the bottle of Cabernet you discovered? Sonoma Cheese Factory provides a wide array of artisan cheeses as well as all the picnic accoutrements you will need for your journey. And don’t miss the wide array of vegetables, fruits, breads, cheeses, meats, olive oils and flowers at one of the many farmers’ markets in the area.

Regional attractions

the stunning MacArthur Place or get your “om” on amid the Zeninspired ambience of the Gaige House. Simply relaxing and taking in the gorgeous vineyard view from a balcony while you read T.S. Elliot and sip pinot noir at the elegant Poetry Inn is also an excellent way to cap off an evening.

Vineyard tours & tastings Well, this is why you came after all, right? But with 400 wineries in the area to choose from, where do you start? Get a guidebook or check the winery listings online (see sidebar) and make a plan. You might want to start with a pilgrimage to the birthplace of your favorite bottle. Popular wineries such as Stag’s Leap or Cakebread Cellars have earned their cult followings for a reason and might be a great place to begin. A winery’s exquisite architecture could be another draw. Sterling Vineyards reflects the sentiment of a stunning white-washed Greek villa. Be aware that tastings and tours at some wineries are by appointment, and that tasting fees can range from gratis to as much as $25. Consider a limo or bus tour so you can kick back and enjoy the wineries and let someone else do the driving.

Fine dining & culinary adventures Fine wine and fine dining go hand-in-hand, and this area is renowned for pursuing pleasures of the palate. S. Pellegrino’s twotime Best Restaurant title winner, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry, features two nine-course tasting menus each night – for those with

In addition to Napa and Sonoma, there are even more wineproducing regions in this area, most converging at Healdsburg, including the Russian River, Dry Creek, Chalk Hill and Alexander Valleys. And if you get weary of wining, there are still plenty of Getting There / Resources opportunities for unfermented adventures. Airlines: Several airlines offer flights Investigate the 200 from Billings to San Francisco, Oakland acres of vineyards and or Sacramento, and all three airports are gardens at the di Rosa within 60 miles of Napa/Sonoma wine country. From San Francisco, take U.S. Art & Nature Preserve, 101 north, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, ripe with more than and turn east on State 37. If you choose 2,000 works of indoor the Oakland airport, take I-80 east (and and outdoor art. Espy cross the Carquinez Bridge), then pick an Egret while birding up State 37 west. From Sacramento, you’ll follow I-80 west to State 12. at the Bouverie Preserve. Cars are certainly not Websites: Plan ahead by visiting these the only way to explore extensive websites to help you with the region. Take in maps, activities, winery tours, dining the view on high in a recommendations and lodging: hot air balloon ride. Burn off your vacation indulgences by canoeing or kayaking on the Russian River, hiking Travel Guides: The Lonely Planet Road up to Mount Saint Trip / Napa & Sonoma Wine Country, Helena or biking the Frommer’s Napa and Sonoma Day by scenic Silverado Trail Day, Hidden Napa Valley (revised and … and reward yourself expanded Edition), Hidden Sonoma (The with that picnic. Or California Series). maybe just sit on the Movies: Rent Sideways before you go; balcony of your room decide for yourself whether you will and swirl a glass of be drinking Merlot. Shock portrays a chardonnay as you watch fictionalized account of the 1976 the sun setting behind the Judgment of Paris, where California wines beat out the French in blind vineyards. tastings. For a bittersweet romance and a look at Napa Valley in mid-20th century, don’t miss A Walk in the Clouds.

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photo journal

different lands. “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. ­— G.K. Chesterton

Taken thousands of miles apart at different times, these images have similarities in shapes, textures, colors and amazingly evoke the same emotions. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to reflect on how we are all connected as one people in a diverse world.

Above: Pictograph Cave State Park, Montana. Courtesy of Laura Tode At Right: Camel excursion in the Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan. Courtesy of Tyler Ready

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one world.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 59


photo journal

Above: Open-air market, Damascus Syria, courtesy of Tyler Ready. Above right: Billings Farmers’ Market, photo by Bob Zellar.

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Just because an

individual hails from a relatively remote area does not mean he or she lacks the expertise to go global with their dreams. Meet three such pioneering professionals whose passion

Tanner Woodcock Tyler Ready

and expertise have them ready to take on the world.

Angie Wong

MAGIC I september 2011 I 61

Classroom witness to history Laurel native teaches in Syria; learns a bit himself By Dan Carter

Tyler Ready’s outstretched arms silhouette against a sunrise in the Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan.

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Name: Tyler Ready Hometown: Laurel Education: 2003 graduate of Laurel High School and 2007 graduate of Montana State University Billings (Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Teaching Option)

Profession: English teacher for four years, the last of which was in Damascus, Syria


Being a classroom teacher takes a fair

amount of intuition, a certain mastery of subject matter and, at times, a flair for the dramatic.

And if you happen to teach in Syria,

some quick lessons on how to make it through Ramadan might not hurt.

Just ask Tyler Ready.

Tyler heard about teaching abroad through a co-worker and attended a job fair sponsored by International School Services (

The 27-year-old Ready, a slender, quiet

Most interesting cultural experience: Adjusting to the rules

fall when he arrived in Damascus, Syria

His international connection:

of Ramadan shortly after arriving for his job in August 2010

Favorite part about working internationally: The ability to travel to other countries and experience their culture first-hand

Laurel native who is as distinctly nonArabic as one could imagine, came face to face with the Muslim holy month last to begin his job as an English teacher. Finished with a class at the private school where he was working, he was chewing a piece of gum as he was preparing to head home.

As various stares came his way, one of

Ready’s new colleagues pulled him aside and gently gave him a piece of advice: he was being rude.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic

lunar calendar, is spent in daily fast from sunup to sundown. By complete fast, it is intended for Muslims to abstain from food, drink and other physical needs during the day. And, as Ready found out, that means ALL items that could be twisted around in your mouth, including Juicy Fruit.

And in a country where an estimated 87

percent of the population is Muslim, they take that stuff pretty seriously.

“It’s a totally different culture and is a

totally different country,” Ready said during a vacation visit home to the Billings area this summer. “During Ramadan, some of the stores are still open during the day, but it is rude to eat, drink or even chew gum until sundown. Then, at 8 or 9 p.m., it’s like the day begins.”

MAGIC I september 2011 I 63

1. 4.

Witness to history Damascus (or Dimashq in Arabic) is the capital city and the largest metropolitan area in Syria. Located just 50 miles from the Mediterranean Ocean and in the shadow of a mountain range, Damascus has an arid climate and is home to roughly 4 million people. And while Damascus’ average summer temperature is close to that of Billings’, the political climate is even hotter. World leaders in late July continued to show concern over escalating levels of violence as protesters persisted to demand reform of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Syria has been in unrest since mid-March when antigovernment protests broke out in the southern province of Daraa and spread to other cities. Syrian authorities point to “armed groups and foreign conspiracy.” Thousands have been reported killed in the violence. While Ready’s eyes have been on his middle school and high school students at Damascus Community School, a part of his attention has been on the current situation. “Since Damascus is the capital city, most of the people there are supporters of Assad,” Ready said. Bashar al-Assad has been the president of Syria since 2000. “You just have to be careful where you go,” added Ready. 1] Old town Damascus. 2] View from cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea. 3] Tyler Ready in Petra, Jordan. 4] The ancient city of Petra is hallmarked by buildings that have been carved from the sides of rock walls. 5] Mediterranean Syrian coastline. 6] Tyler in his Damascus classroom.

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3. 5.

From Montana to the Middle East


An avid outdoorsman who likes hiking and climbing, Ready made the longest trek of his life in the fall of 2010 when he agreed to take a job at Damascus Community School. He found out about the opportunity through an education colleague at a school where he taught in Twin Falls, Idaho. Ready graduated from Montana State University Billings in 2007 with a degree in English with a teaching option and knew he wanted to teach English to top-notch students. Feeling unfulfilled in Idaho, he took a chance at moving 6,500 miles. “I had never even been out of the country until I took that job,” he said, a smile curling at the edge of his mouth. A private school of about 300 students, the Damascus Community School provides an American education to children of government officials in various embassies and the Syrian government. Class sizes average about 17 students, about half the size of those Ready taught in Idaho. He teaches literature and writing — two subjects he loves — and his students are some of the best he has met. “I have supportive parents and motivated students,” he said. “I’m teaching the very upper echelon of that society and when I call a parent, I get a response.” Re-opened after being closed for about two years, the school has a strong core of teachers who cover the gamut of education, from art to English. Depending on how things turn out with demand for government reforms, the school will support roughly the same number of students again this fall when Ready reports for duty.

“I have supportive parents and motivated students,” he said. “I’m teaching the very upper echelon of that society and when I call a parent, I get a response.”

No regrets 6.

With a fairly shy and quiet demeanor, it would seem that Ready would succumb to the sheer size of Damascus city life. He was able, however, to adjust to currency and economic differences. Not a fan of haggling over prices, he found ways to maneuver through the system so as to not get overcharged for Gatorade. He also found out that the city is home to artisans and specialists who are hired to do specific jobs when the need arises. “There is always someone you need to go and see when you want to get something done,” he said, noting the do-it-yourself lifestyle that is distinctly American. And he’s been able to pick up a bit of Arabic while in Syria and travel to Italy, Poland and Greece, also adjusting his personal routines to Ramadan. For a young Montana teacher from Laurel, it’s been an eye-opening experience. “It never crossed my mind that I could be a teacher and travel,” he said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

MAGIC I september 2011 I 65


Angie Wong arrived in Billings on a

snowy December day in 1977. She had next to nothing in her suitcase and a thin pair of sandals on her small feet. She was 20 years old and had never been out of Hong Kong, but filled with apprehension and promise, she left home to work for her aunt, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Billings.

She didn’t know it then, but she had

all the strength, creativity and resolve she needed to change the world. Some 30 years later, she’s giving Chinese girls like her younger self the tools

Name: Angie Wong Profession: Founder of Wong Global Leadership, LLC. Leadership and success coach since 2008, former First Interstate Bank executive International liaison: Wong advises professionals interested in working in another country to become versed in the culture, learn the language and study the issues influencing the population. Favorite part of working internationally: Wong

future leaders.

was drawn to international coaching as a way to support the diversity of Eastern and Western cultures and integrate the best leadership styles from each.


Daily challenges: Wong

to realize who they are and find answers to all life’s questions within themselves, inspiring the world’s

Wong is the founder of Wong

Global Leadership, which is based in both Billings and Hong Kong. Through her company, she offers success and leadership coaching, organizational development consulting and workshops that explore emotional intelligence in decision-making. Her clients run the gamut from international business owners to students from rural China. Although her clients are diverse, she has a deep passion to help women cultivate their leadership skills.

Looking back, she’s discovered

that it’s the gift of life experience, with all its joy and challenge that has led her to where she is today.

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enjoys splitting her time between both Billings and Hong Kong, but is challenged by the juxtaposition between the fast-paced growth in Asia and people’s devotion to longheld cultural traditions.

Culture shock: In her recent trips to China, she was surprised by everyone’s efficient use of technology and how well they cultivated personal relationships in such a super-connected society.

Creating Leaders. One by One. Arriving in Billings with nothing in 1977, she empowered herself and now teaches others to do the same. By Laura Tode

MAGIC I september 2011 I 67


2. 3.

1] Zhengzhou is the capital and largest city of the Henan province in north-central China. 2] Sias students practice their performance at the Sias International University in preparation for a graduation ceremony and the Women Symposium. 3] The Shaolin Monastary and its Pagoda Forest in Dengeng, China, founded in the 5th century, are long famous for their association with Chinese martial arts.

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Attendees of the Women Symposium at Sias International University with the World Academy for the Future of Women Students pose for a photo.

“I really wish the world could be a better place for women, especially to find a voice, be heard and live the life they want.”

Wong’s father died when she was 3, leaving her mother alone to provide for their five children on extremely limited resources. Those were difficult times. Her mother worked long hours, and it kept her from her children. Nevertheless, her independence, work ethic and courage became an inspiration to Angie. “She endured whatever came to her,” Wong said of her mother. “She had this great strength and a strong voice for herself that helped her get what she needed for her children.” Wong’s mother died just over a year ago, and her passing stirred something in Wong. She started to wonder what her true calling was and longed to find her place in the world. “I reflected on her life, her strength and honoring her. I wanted to help women suffer less,” Wong said. “I really want women to walk with their heads up, to live with purpose and to find their passion.”

Foundations for a future Before launching Wong Global Leadership, Wong enjoyed a long and successful career with First Interstate Bank. She started at the bank with a fresh, new accounting diploma from Montana State

University Billings and became a certified public accountant. Starting with an entry-level position, her expertise at the bank ranged from auditing to strategic planning by the time she left. From the beginning, the Scott family, founders of First Interstate Bank, saw potential in Wong. They sent her to workshops and training that provided her with the personal and professional growth she needed to become a leader. “I really admire the Scott family,” Wong said. “They believe in people and believe in creating an environment where people can really grow. Their trust in me was everything, and without them I would have been a very different person.” She led the credit card division from 10 million in assets in the first year to more than 80 million in assets 11 years later. Although finance was her area of expertise, Wong’s true passion was in building her team. “I learned how to develop people to do the best job they can and to trust the process,” Wong said.

Role model revolutionary

While at the bank, Wong became involved

in the Women’s Leadership Collaboration West, a mentoring organization, and earned credentials as a success and leadership coach from both the New Ventures West Coaching School and the International Coaching Federation. It was through the Women’s Leadership Collaboration that she discovered an opportunity to teach at the World Academy for the Future of Women, an organization founded to help advance women in leadership worldwide. The academy’s first school was started on the campus of Sias International University in Xinzheng City, Henan Province in China. The nine-month program drew 100 girls between 18-21 years old from across China. Almost all of the girls were from rural areas and homes with very limited means. Many of them would not have otherwise had access to such quality education. “These young women were thirsty for growth and change, but they didn’t have any role models,” Wong said. “This program helped them to have hope and purpose.” The session culminated with a threeday symposium when the girls presented their own global leadership ideas to a broad audience of women leaders from throughout the world. Wong still tears up when she remembers how the girls beamed with pride and poise during their presentations. “I wished that when I was 20 I had mentors come into my life to help me see new perspectives and to give me hope,” Wong said.

Living her life’s work Wong continued to coach about 30 of the students after the session concluded and offered the staff coaching support as well. She knew without a doubt when she boarded the plane to return to Billings that she had found her life’s work. “I really wish the world could be a better place for women, especially to find a voice, be heard and live the life they want,” Wong said. Wong has high hopes for her international work and expects to spend half the year coaching in Hong Kong. By influencing one leader at a time, Wong sees herself as a catalyst for worldwide change as those leaders go on to influence others. Building relationship is the center of her work. “We come into this world in one breath and we leave this world with one breath and everything in between is relationship,” Wong said.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 69

Air Born

Tanner Woodcock went into aviation for the machines; world travel was an added bonus. By Katherine Berman

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Name: Tanner Woodcock Years as a professional pilot: 10 Most impressive place traveled to: Germany Country with the best food: Italy or Germany Country where your bus driver is most likely to be found at the local pub: Ireland

International perception of Montana: “Is that near

Imagine waking up with the

sunrise, packing your essentials in a suitcase and boarding a plane at Billings Logan International Airport. For most, such a journey is a rare treat – or terror – necessary to get to their chosen vacation destination.

For first officer pilot Tanner

Woodcock, such is a trip is just an average work day commute.

After only three years as an

international pilot, 27-year-old Woodcock has already visited

New York or L.A.?”

more than 50 countries.

Lessons America could take from other countries: Live life a little

bit. Take pleasure in the smaller things. More quality, less quantity.

“And the number grows,” said

Woodcock. “It seems like every month I go somewhere new.”

When Woodcock

commenced his professional journey, he was far from the international jetsetter that he is today. Woodcock’s father, a photographer by trade, bought a single engine Cessna 182 airplane when Tanner was 2, so he spent much of his childhood hanging out at airports with other kids whose parents had planes. “That was our social life,” said Woodcock. “It just seemed normal to me.”

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Above: Tanner Woodcock and friends at Stonehenge in the English county of Wiltshire, courtesy of Tanner Woodcock.

Becoming a pilot was, for Woodcock, more of an innate calling than a calculated decision. “I was fortunate. I knew in third grade that this is what I was born to do.” Despite the inherent nature of his path, the strides Woodcock took to get there were extraordinary. “I learned to fly at Lynch Flying Service beginning my freshman year of high school, solo-ed a plane – flew it by myself with no instructor – during my sophomore year and obtained my pilot license when I was a junior,” said Woodcock. He paid for all this training himself by working at a grocery store and a hobby shop here in Billings. However impressed one might be at his feats, make no mistake; Woodcock is hesitant to advise others to follow his path. Woodcock said humbly, “The way I did it just happened to work. Don’t do it this way. I just got lucky.” Luck may certainly be a part of it, but Woodcock’s accomplishments would not have been possible without his passion, drive and lifelong perseverance.

“I think the answer to world peace would be to get in a plane and go meet each other.”

Wild West to international man of aviation Six months after Woodcock graduated from high school, he had his first job flight instructing. From there, he quickly segued to Big Sky Airlines when he was 20 – a four-year experience that Woodcock hailed as, “a blast. It was the old days, the Wild West of flying. There were 10 19-passenger airplanes, no cockpit door, no flight attendants. But Big Sky was still a full-fledged airline. We had all the same benefits as larger airlines including the jump seat.” What is a jump seat? Woodcock explained, “Every U.S. airline has an agreement with each other that pilots can travel for free. I can show up unannounced and get on an airplane. That’s how a lot of pilots

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live here and get to work in Denver or Dallas – they jump seat.” Tanner noted that Omni Air, his current employer, does not employ the jump seating system, opting instead to buy their pilots tickets to meet their assignments, therefore guaranteeing their arrival in a timely fashion. When Big Sky Airlines announced that it was going out of business in December of ’07, this seemingly hapless news proved for Woodcock to be a stroke of fortune. At this time, unbeknownst to most, the economy was on the verge of toppling but not quite there, and the job market was still good for pilots. “I started my job search and within a week got a position at Omni Air International.” Woodcock began training for Omni in March of ’08 and recalls sitting at a hotel in ground school when the Bearn Stearns crisis took place. “Airlines like American Trans Air, Kitty Hawk and Aloha all started to fold. In just a couple of weeks after I was hired, all of a sudden guys who had more than 20 years of experience were looking for jobs. I just got lucky.” Due to the hierarchical structure of the aviation business, today Woodcock finds it surreal to have seniority at his company over many seasoned veterans of flight.

It’s a small world

While many would assume that traveling to a new place would require weeks of education and preparation, Woodcock finds his sojourns on new soil to be quite manageable, especially with the help of technology and the Internet. “It’s easier now than ever. I will do a little research depending on where I’m going. Say it’s to a place in the

Above: O’Briens Tower on the cliffs of Moher in County Clare Ireland overlooking the Atlantic to the west. Right, center: Eating at a typical Ramen Noodle shop in Japan. Right, bottom: Goat and lamb hanging in a Souk in Kuwait. A Souk is a market place in the Middle East. Courtesy of Tanner Woodcock.

Middle East, I will see what the appropriate dress codes are or even what kind of behavior might be offensive.” Woodcock advises travelers to avoid using their left hands or showing the soles of their feet in the Arab world – two gestures that are regarded as highly taboo. As far as the language barrier is concerned, Woodcock regards his English as both an advantage and a bit lackluster. “Anywhere you go people speak English, and if they don’t, their kids will. It makes it almost kind of boring. English is the official language of aviation so all air traffic controllers and pilots are required to speak it.” Through International travel, Woodcock has acquired a great deal of insight on America, foreign countries and the relationship that exists between them. He weighed in on the stereotype of being noisy Americans explaining, “In America, airports are loud, people are loud, there’s music, you can’t get away from people on their phone and the blaring TVs. Then you go to Europe, and people are chilling out, the airport is quiet and calm, cell phones are off. Traveling in Europe is awesome. I’m out of the country probably 15-18 days a month. I definitely enjoy the international aspects as opposed to the domestic.” Ultimately, international travel has given Woodcock a unique perspective – one that might differ from other Americans during these tumultuous times. “The world’s not that big. I’ve got some really cool Arab friends I met overseas, and despite our differences in appearance and apparel, they talk about the same things we talk about. I think the answer to world peace would be to get in a plane and go meet each other.”

MAGIC I september 2011 I 73

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids… Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

—FROM Battle Hymn of the Tiger A memoir about parenting by Amy Chua

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Soccer Mom vs. Tiger Mom. Who’s the better parent? By Stephen Kosnar MAGIC I september 2011 I 75

To say Chua’s book has drawn some attention is like saying Harry Potter has some fans. The online version of a Wall Street Journal article on the author and book has collected more than 8,800 comments. Many express outrage and horror. Others praise Chua’s approach to raising her daughters, both high achievers who have won prestigious music competitions; the eldest was recently accepted to both Harvard and Yale. In the book, Chua draws a distinction between two parenting styles. First, “Chinese Mothers” such as Chua believe in pushing their children through grueling hours of practice and studying to remain among the best at school and in music. This philosophy maintains that a child’s achievement is a direct reflection on the parent, and if the child doesn’t excel it means the parent is failing. With this style of parenting, what the child enjoys or wants takes a backseat to what the parent feels is best. Chua presents a second style of parenting in her book that she defines as “Western.” Western parents, in Chua’s opinion, are far too worried about their children’s self-esteem – constantly showering them with praise, even when it’s unwarranted. These parents also place an emphasis on children being independent, having fun and simply “doing their best,” which she believes results in underachieving. Articles about Chua’s book and parenting philosophy have appeared in numerous publications, including Time, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Given all the hype, I was surprised after reading a copy how easy it was to dismiss the book as any type of parenting guide. For example, in one scene, Chua’s youngest daughter Lulu gives her a homemade birthday card, she hands it back and tells her, “I don’t want this … I want a better one – one that you’ve put some thought and effort into.” Chua then mocks her daughter’s card by quickly scribbling a sour face on the back of the card and the words “Happy Birthday Lulu Whoopee!” The scene ends

with Chua rejecting the card and throwing it back at her daughter. She rejects her oldest daughter’s card too, and by the end of the night has apparently succeeded because she receives two new cards that she deems worthy of her efforts as a mother. I don’t know about you, but for me, no gain in my child’s development seems justified if I achieve it by mocking them. While reading the book however, I did find myself wondering about boundaries. In other words, just because Chua is over the top in her parenting does that mean we shouldn’t change anything in our “Western” parenting approach? After all, U.S. students don’t test well compared to other developed countries. In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development test, U.S. students placed 24th out of 34 countries in math and 14th in reading. Would it be possible for us to raise the bar and expect better performances from our children without stripping enjoyment from their lives and robbing them of their childhoods? When is backing off a license for a child to become lazy? When is pushing too hard a recipe for burnout? Author David Shenk offers up some suggestions for enriching our children’s intellectual development in his book The Genius in All of Us. Shenk’s book serves to debunk the idea that children start with a fixed IQ that predetermines how smart and successful they will be. Citing a study by psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley, he reveals a correlation between the strength of early verbal experiences and children’s success. He mentions for example, that the more parents spoke to their children, the more it positively affected later achievement. Shenk then goes on to identify positive environmental triggers that studies have shown can lead to improved achievement for children. These triggers appear to be a mix of traits seen in Chinese Mothers and Western parents. Here are a few of those triggers: Reading early and often. No matter what the education level of the parent, children benefit when parents read to them. Nurturance and encouragement. By age four children from professional parents (e.g. doctors or lawyers) received 560,000 more instances of encouraging feedback than discouraging feedback, while working-class children received only 100,000 more instances of encouraging feedback. Welfare children received 125,000 more discouragements than encouragements. Setting high expectations. Children tend to develop according to the demands their environment places on them. Encouraging a “growth mindset.” The more people believe their abilities can be developed the greater success they will achieve.

As parents we want our children to reach their full potential. The challenge is that in today’s world what it means to be successful may require increased demands on our children, as well as the parents who are raising them. As a result, parents will have their hands full finding a balance between doing what it takes for their children to excel, while simultaneously preserving the joy of childhood. In the end, even the Tiger Mother Chua concedes that she couldn’t come up with a specific formula for success – one of her daughters thrives on her demanding parenting style while the other rebels. Instead what she found was that parenting can be a humbling experience. The good news, however, is that with books like Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, childhood development is increasingly getting more widespread attention. With that will come more research and writing to identify what parents can be doing to help their sons and daughters become successful, while still allowing them to experience their happiness and wonder.

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1942 Pulitzer Prize; Milton Brooks Courtesy: The Detroit News

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Above: A ranchhand readies a lasso to rope a calf for branding. Insets: Right, owner Dennis Mercer holds chute open as son-in-law, Bart Aby prepares vaccine while talking with ranch hand.

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Sixteen miles down a rough gravel road, on a grass and sage-covered bench above the Paint Rock Angus Ranch, branding day begins with a slow but methodical cattle roundup. Once inside the corrals the curlyfaced calves are confused as they are temporarily separated from the cows. Abby and Bart Aby (pronounced Aa-bee) along with a few hired hands move into position along the cow chutes as assigned by Abby’s father and ranch owner, Dennis Mercer. The cacophony of bawling and mooing makes conversation nearly impossible. But cowboys don’t really chit-chat when there’s work to be done. This is a nose-down, all-handson day. Up here, a step closer to the Snowy Mountains and within view of the Beartooths and Crazies, a cool breeze keeps the day from being too unbearable—at least for the humans.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 79

This scene unfolds every spring at the Paint Rock Angus Ranch, as it has for decades, but now there is a new twist. Monday through Friday, Bart wears a shirt and tie as a business development advisor at DMKC Advisors

Census information, the population of 28 counties in Montana, mainly in Eastern Montana, has declined over the past decade. That includes a more than 15 percent decrease in Golden Valley County where Mercers’ ranch is located. Yet, it is more than miles and statistics that separate Abby and Bart from the ranch. Twenty-some years ago, Abby graduated from Ryegate High School in a class of six; the seniors there still number in the single digits. That scenario echoes across rural Montana. The industrialization of produce as well as livestock industries has taken its toll on the dwindling populations in Montana farming communities. And though the World Wide Web has made many remote businesses more accessible, operations such as individual

in Billings while Abby handles the household, the kids and her scrapbooking business from their Laurel-area home. Most Friday afternoons in the spring and fall, and several times in between, they load up their gear, two kids and dogs to head 75 miles north for their weekend warrior jobs.

The mythical urban cowboy has come to life.

A Game of numbers Montana has never been crowded, (although some beg to differ) but the state’s population has grown. Just short of one million people, cattle still outnumber residents. While the mountains and plains remain the same, many once-rural Montanans are moving to the cities. According to 2010 U.S.

Top: A ranch hand carefully settles the herd ready for branding. Above: Dennis Mercer brands as son-in-law, Bart Aby holds a calf. Right: Dennis Mercer, owner of Paint Rock Angus Ranch.

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family ranches gain little from this technology. Supporting a family on ranching alone, for many, is no longer feasible. For Dennis and Martha, “essential” elements of modernity bear little effect on their reality. They do not rely on the Internet to communicate, the closest grocery store of any size is 75 miles away in Billings and their mail is delivered only twice a week. It’s a way of life many Montanans understand – even value. For Bart and Abby, being urban cowboys is a way – a sometimes difficult and often very physical way – of having the proverbial best of both worlds. “This is important to me because our kids get to be part of a ranch lifestyle—a great way of life,” emphasizes Abby. “This is a way to save money for our kids to go to college. But it really is more than that.” She explains that ranching dictates a unique set of natural life lessons—birth, death, re-birth. The land has its own rhythm, its own cycle, one that those who live by the land know and respect. It is that special rhythm that keeps cowboys tied to the ranch.

All about the kids While the Abys bought their first few cows at an uncle’s disbursement sale, Dennis and Martha

gave each grandchild a calf. Abby and Bart lease their pasture on a per-cow-basis. Neither Bart, the son of a lifelong large-animal veterinarian, nor Abby, who grew up on the ranch, takes this arrangement for granted. Both Montana natives are highly educated and have long-reaching ties across the state. Their weekend-warrior work began mainly as a conscious decision to give their kids some of the same opportunities they had. Before 9 a.m. on branding day, 10-year-old Eli and 6-year-old Alyse, along with another buddy, have already caught, and proudly showed-off, a plethora of eraser-sized tadpoles. They have taken them home to watch the metamorphosis into frogs. Later in the day Dennis tells his grandkids about an owl brood in the barn and off they race, excited to see owlets up close. “Unless you are a third-generation ranch family, and even if you are, ranching is not an easy way to make a living,” notes Bart. “But that’s only one part of it. Eli is often outside with me all day, tagging along. And that only gets better as the kids get older. Just by being there, our kids will have a better understanding of what a day’s work really is. And you get to see the seasons—and the cycles— of life. Along with that comes responsibility and respect.” Seems like an echo from previous


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Below: Bart Aby holds a calf as it is being branded. Below center: Abby Aby prepares a vaccine syringe. Bottom: Father and Daughter team. Dennis and daughter, Abby team up to brand a calf.

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generations. But despite a marked independence from the consummately evolving and often exhausting technology, make no mistake – ranchers like Abby’s parents are every bit as educated as the attorney in the courtroom or the banker behind the desk. It’s just a different school – one that Bart and Abby want their kids to attend. At least part-time.

Redefining the cowboy “My dad can look at a calf and know which bull it came from,” says Abby. This sort of instinctive knowledge is quite simply innate to someone who spends his life among animals, crops and nature. While the American cowboy has always defined the West, the face of that cowboy continues to change. Today, weekend boots are often traded in for penny-loafers or high heels come Monday. For the urban cowboy, life’s cycles and balance exist both on and off the ranch. Perhaps having a boot in one arena and a loafer in the other is just the next phase. “It’s a different world today,” Martha says of Bart and Abby’s urban cowboy arrangement. “When we were young, our focus was not so broad. Our kids have so many more opportunities than we did. But this is still a long-term commitment – it’s not something you can just change your mind about.” In this case, the commitment extends to the generations to come.

The Ying and Yang of the ranch and the city Following trends across the nation, Montanans are moving from rural to more urban digs. However, the census statistics don’t tell the whole story. Despite relocating to cities like Billings, many sacrifice to retain their farming and ranching ties. Steve and Ila Gnerer (pronounced “Gun-air”) and their four kids, who live just south of Billings, spend around 70 percent of their weekends at their family ranch 220 miles away. If Steve and Ila are not there, it is likely that Steve’s brother and business partner, Greg, is along with his wife and kids. On the flip side, Steve and Greg’s sister-in-law commutes from the ranch to a nursing job in Billings. She works three 12-hour shifts and sleeps at a friend’s house, then travels 220 miles back to the ranch to work there with her new husband. Broadus, 45 miles from the ranch, is a small town in yet another declining Eastern Montana county, and consistent work can be scarce. “We have to be in a bigger town to keep us working all year round,” says Greg. Steve, who has worked side-by-side with his brother since his teens, often completes his brother’s thoughts. “We want to raise our kids the way we were raised. It works,” he says. “But that would be virtually impossible, and not financially feasible with all of us on the ranch.” Therefore the brothers operate Gnerer Electric weekdays and Gnerer Angus Ranch the rest of the time. Ila, who was also raised on a ranch in the Broadus area, 90 miles away from Gnerer’s yet still in the same school district, taught at the one-room Hammond country school before their first child was born. She points out some of the less obvious advantages. “On the ranch you can work side-by-side with your brother, your parents and your kids. You can’t really take your kids along to an electrical job or to the school when you’re teaching.” Carrying on the ranching tradition and the unique family closeness that comes with it requires these urban cowboys to sacrifice a great deal of leisure time and convenience. But tempered with humor, it seems do-able for many Montanans. For urban cowboys, ranching is more than a job; it is a passion. The measures that they take to preserve this special tradition are worth it to protect the way of life they love.

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Billings champions for a new library

“Libraries, like museums and cultural spaces, have become our new town squares - the idea of a third place to live beyond work and home.� - Will Bruder, architect 84 I september 2011 I MAGIC


Evelyn Noennig will forever remember her first trip to Parmly Billings Library when she was a little girl. In those days, the library was located on Montana Avenue in what is now the Western Heritage Center. She easily recalls the majestic, stone building with its steep steps and heavy, wooden doors. Inside, she found a treasure trove of books, and thus began a lifelong love of reading. Evelyn’s passion for the library has spurred her to become actively engaged in the campaign for a new and improved library in Billings today.

by laura tode

By the Numbers

If you haven’t been to Parmly Billings Library lately, you’re among the minority. The library was visited 376,954 times last year by people just like you. They checked out some 180,000 books more than 513,000 times. They checked out items from the library’s 45,000-item collection of audio books, music CDs and DVDs more than 430,000 times. Combined, that’s close to one million items checked out last year. The Internet access stations logged more than 50,000 sessions, and more than 15,000 people attended the more than 500 events and programs offered at the library last year. MAGIC I september 2011 I 85

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Imagine the reaction of a child in 2011 to the proposed design for a new Parmly Billings Library. A two-story skylight will wash the children’s section in sunshine. Elevators of translucent blue-green glass will transport eager readers to different floors and perhaps different realms of their imaginations. A coffee shop will serve as a satiating sanctuary for minds to absorb thoughts and exchange ideas. And stone walls, reminiscent of those from Noennig’s childhood memories, will anchor the new building and serve as a backdrop for the children’s garden and courtyard. “In all our public meetings, people said they wanted a building that reached out visually to the landscape and the community,” said architect Will Bruder of Bruder and Associates LTD of Phoenix, Ariz. With mostly transparent walls, vistas of Billings will serve as the library’s panoramic backdrop in every direction, employing natural light for inside tasks. Despite its generosity of scale and modern construction, Bruder Bruder and Associates LTD. Phoenix, Ariz. designed the new library with a simplicity that mirrors the sparse architecture of agriculture in the high plains and whimsically evokes the familiar warehouses that skirt the city. “It wants to be a comfortable building that looks like it belongs there,” said Bruder. Bruder is nationally recognized for his library designs. His work, paid for through a $2 million anonymous donation to the Parmly Billings Library Foundation, kicked off a successful $5 million capital campaign. Billings-based O2 Architects partnered with Bruder and Associates to advise the firm on local codes. (continued on page 88)

“In all our public meetings, people said they wanted a building that reached out visually to the landscape and the community.”

­— Will Bruder,


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Design (LEED) certification system. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to measure the energy efficiency and environmental impacts of new buildings. It encompasses design, construction and operation of buildings. Gold is the highest certification. “If we do all the things to meet the silver certification, we’re just a couple points from gold,” Bruder said. The glass on the building will be triple-paned for maximum energy efficiency and the natural light from windows will provide energy savings in lighting and heating during winter months. Bruder explained that after dark, specialized task lighting will be where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Stainless steel lattice will offer cooling shade in the summertime. A series of land exchanges between the City of Billings, Billings Clinic and Stockman Bank The original Parmly Billings Library building on Montana Avenue now houses the Western Heritage Center. The use of stones in the new building will accent and evoke opened up half a city block for construction of a the spirit of the original design. new library. If approved by voters, construction “As an architect I’m more interested in making community than in will take place north of the existing building, which will continue to making buildings,” Bruder said. “To that end, libraries, like museums remain open until the new building is finished. After the old building and cultural spaces, have become our new town squares – the idea of is demolished, parking will be expanded from the current 68 spaces to 110 spaces. The two-story, 65,000 square-foot building is expected to a third place to live beyond home and work.” cost about $18 million. Dynamic design As proposed, the new Parmly Billings Library will not only be Community coalition beautiful, it will also be energy-efficient. The building will qualify The approval of a $16 million bond remains the only barrier for silver status in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental between the community and a new library. The $16 million bond

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was set by the City Council midsummer when donations were still being made to the capital campaign. Those donations will offset the total cost of the project, so the figure residents see on the ballots, which will arrive in mailboxes soon, will be less. If approved, the City Council has agreed to levy only what is needed to cover construction and bond administration costs. They estimate the final figure to be closer to $13 million. To make space for the growing and changing volume of material, seating has been all but eliminated in the current building. Library Director Bill Cochran feels that a library the size of Parmly Billings should ideally have at least 400 more chairs. One of the boilers beneath the building has been decommissioned, and the inefficient and costly cooling and lighting systems are desperately in need of new construction. “The warehouse has served nobly, and it has served this community well, but the library can be so, so much more,” said Suzanne McKiernan, Noennig’s partner in the Billings Library Initiative.

Learning evolution Billings residents may wonder why a new library is needed. The current building was once a hardware warehouse. When the library relocated there in the 1960s, the building had the steel-reinforced concrete design necessary to hold the weight of books and needed relatively little retrofitting. As the role of libraries has evolved, the presentday building is no longer equipped to accommodate guests’ needs. Cochran explained that despite infrastructure challenges, Parmly Billings Library was one of the first libraries in the Northwest to offer free, public Internet

access. Though the building is outfitted for wireless Internet access, people who want to use their own computers in the library might find it hard to link to the signal in some areas due to the concrete structure. The multimedia amalgam of audio books, music and DVDs has grown over the years and is now one of the most popular collections in the library. The library also recently began offering books and other media for free download online (available to cardholders), and that collection is expanding as well. Out of all the collections however, Cochran said that print books are still the most popular items at the library. About a third of the collection is for children, and circulation in the teen section has seen double-digit growth in recent years.

Sound support The community has shown widespread enthusiasm for the new library proposal. The Billings City Council and Yellowstone County Commission unanimously support the building bond. The Billings Area Chamber of Commerce and the Big Sky Economic Development Authority and Economic Development Corporation have also endorsed the measure. The Billings School District 2 Board of Trustees decided to hold off on a possible bond issue of their own until May, and the Billings Parks and Recreation shelved its interest in asking for some $9 million to fund deferred maintenance. “I think Billings is a wonderful, vibrant community and it needs a wonderful, vibrant library that can take us into the future,” said Mary Underriner, co-chair of the library capital campaign. “As a community we are at a pinnacle and ready to take off.”

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MAGIC I september 2011 I 89

A Very Big Thank-You to Our Clients. When You’re Happy, We’re Happy. “Answers for Living When Life is Limited”

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Alberta Bair Theater Wild West SoireĂŠ 1] The Gunfighters cavort with Crowne Plaza staff.

2] Toni Schneider and Chris Whatley

3] Dr. John Dorr, Jack Nickels and Brett Kavlie

4] Cindy Woods, Chris 1.

Schmechel and Kathy Woods


5] Chris Owen, Dwight MacKay and Darell Tunnicliff

3. 5.


Photos courtesy of Brian Wagner and Kristie Asay of Alberta Bair Theater.

MAGIC I september 2011 I 91

Heart and Sole Run 7] Allan, Yolanda and Courtney Hutton

8] Jimmy Vroman and



Shawn Cannon 9] David Ness and Holly Pleas 10] Lori Johnson and Betty Wheeler

Farmers’ Market 11] Tim and Terry Bergstrom 12] Lori Manning and Jamie Petersen and children 13] Janet and Vi Brown 14] Raissa and Clarissa Arguelles Willie Nelson at Alberta Bair Theater 15] Henry Morgan and Mary Waggoner 16] Tara Lind and Lisa Elings 17] Olivia Lee, Melanie Jansma, Todd Jansma and Charles Lee 18] James Bighaur and Jenna Bauers


10. 6.


92 I september 2011 I MAGIC

St. Johns Concert Series 19] Stan Hill, Becky Lenhart and Clair Opsal 20] Jodi Smith and Joyce Syverson 21] Lynn Carter and Deanna Rieke 22] Anne Lambrecht and Bob Zent





17. 20.

19. 22. 21.




Paying for Care




Veterans' benefits depending on the level of disability/length and type of service VA benefits can help cover By Karen Powers, The Goodman Group some or all of care costs. Medicare Benefits and private You are at the point when staying insurance for skilled nursing care home is not an option anymore-you These are payment sources for short need care. One of the circumstances term stays. Medicare and private that seem insurmountable when it insurance have certain numbers of comes to the need to move into an days that will be 100% covered and assisted living or nursing care is how a certain number of days that will to pay for it. Amounts seem shocking require an out-of-pocket co-pay. at $2,500-$4,500 for assisted living These benefits are paid when you care and $6,000-$6,500 for nursing are receiving care, rehabilitation or care. Especially coming from a point medical treatments that are aimed at of view that your house has been paid restoring your health. Once you have for since 1982; you don’t have a lot improved, recovered as far as you are of expenses living at home with just going to, or reached the plan’s limit, yourself and maybe a spouse, and you coverage will end. At that point the have been living on just your monthly circumstances need to be reviewed, social security. are you going home or staying long Understanding now the costs of care term? Staying long term returns to and your resources, will help you and the question of paying privately or your family make the transition when needing Medicaid assistance. it is time. Medicaid benefits Resources for paying for care can be For people who do not have assets, broken down into two categories – savings accounts, investments, or private pay and subsidized monthly income that can cover care payment. costs. It is hard to embrace the idea Private Pay of upwards of $6,000 per month You pay for the monthly cost out of when you only have a limited Social your own accounts. This is the rainy Security income and do not have day that you have been saving for – retirement savings or assets. The It is time to access retirement ideas to reconcile yourself with are accounts, savings accounts, property a) you need care and can no longer equity and investments. This can be remain at home and b) in trade for an emotionally difficult transition, your limited monthly income, because after years of earning and Medicaid will pay for your nursing saving, all you see is cash flowing home or assisted living stay and out. But again, care for yourself is your medical care costs. For more on the reason for the years of saving Medicaid, see article below. and investments. Some people want Just as you still have choices when to preserve their estate for their children, but honestly most children needing more care and getting the right care, when paying for care there are still would rather you get the right care choices you can make. Choices within that you deserve. what you want to afford and what you Subsidized Payments have can afford. Size, location, atmosphere, several categories, Medicare, private environment, where you feel like you insurance, Veterans’ benefits, and will fit in and get the best quality of life Medicaid. are still your choice.


You are making the right choice.

At some point, we all need help for ourselves or someone we love and we have to make the choice.


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See this article and more resources and news on

94 I september 2011 I MAGIC

November 19 -20 Holiday Food and Gift Festival

Attend the largest arts and crafts festival of the region, the 26th Annual Holiday Food and Gift Festival. Arts and crafts vendors from several states will showcase their marvelous talents with metal art, woodwork, stained glass, photography, pottery, handmade toys, jewelry and much more. More than 250 arts and crafts booths will offer thousands of items for that perfect gift or holiday decoration, and the festival serves as the perfect kick-off to your holiday season. Eat, drink and be merry! Contact: Douglas Sidwell, D & D Productions 406.696.6585/ www. , Location: MetraPark Expo Center.

September September 2-24

The Drowsy Chaperone Location: Billings Studio Theatre Contact: 248-1141

September 9

Wynonna! Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

September 9-11

Xanadu Location: Venture Theatre Contact: 591-9535

September 9-11

Home Improvement Show Location: MetraPark Expo Center Contact: 256-2400

September 9-24

The Guys Location: Venture Theatre Contact: 591-9535

September 16

Ronald McDonald House’s Corks & Canvas: Keeping Families Together Location: The Billings Depot Contact: 256-8006

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Location: Riverfront Park Contact: 252-3053

September 22-25

September 17

Billings Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 252-3610

Yellowstone RV & Boat Show Location: MetraPark Carnival Lot Contact: 256-2400

September 17

September 23

3 Horse Series Location: MetraPark SuperBarn Contact: 373-6146 or 661-6500

September 18

BikeNet’s Ales for Trails Location: Dehler Park Contact:

September 24

Saturday Live Location: Pioneer Park Contact: 245-4133 Kingston Trio Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

September 27 – October 2

Wrangler® National Team Roping Finals Location: MetraPark Contact: 256-2400

Montana Governor’s Cup Marathon Location: Billings Contact:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Community Walk Location: Veterans Park Contact: 322-8587

MAGIC I september 2011 I 95

October October 1

Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 2011 Cardboard Box City Location: Rocky Mountain College Contact: 294-7432 YES for Kids 2nd Annual Buddy Walk Location: Dehler Park Contact: 671-0808 St. Vincent Healthcare’s Masquerade Ball-SAINTS 2011 Location: Holiday Inn Convention Center Contact: 237-3638

October 1-2

Boys & Girls’ Clubs of Yellowstone County Antique Sale & Flea Market Location: Bair Family Club House Contact: 252-3670 or 252-2327

October 15

Billings Symphony Orchestra American Stories Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 252-3610

October 17-22

NILE Stock Show & Western Expo Location: MetraPark Contact: 256-2400

October 18

Pilobolus Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

October 29

Rocky Horror Picture Show Ball Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

November 4-6

The Junior League of Billings’ MarketPlace Magic Location: MetraPark Expo Center Contact: 256-2400

November 6

Vienna Boys Choir Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

November 12

Billings Symphony Orchestra Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 252-3610

November 13

October 7

Fiddler on the Roof Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

ArtWalk Location: Downtown Billings

October 8

Harvest Fest Location: Downtown Billings Contact: 294-5060

November 19-20 Holiday Food & Gift Festival Location: MetraPark Expo Center Contact: 256-2400

October 8-9

Rimrock Opera Rigoletto Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

October 11

Cirque Mechanics – Boomtown Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

October 13-15

High Plains Bookfest: The Big Read Location: various Billings locations Contact: 294-2390

96 I september 2011 I MAGIC

Photo by Casey Page

October 31

Downtown Trick or Treat Location: Downtown Billings Contact: 294-5060

November November 4

Menopause the Musical Location: Alberta Bair Theater Contact: 256-6052

P.E.A.K.S. Share the Spirit Gala Location: Billings Hotel and Convention Center Contact: 245-4049

November 24

Billings Food Bank’s Run! Turkey, Run! Location: Good Earth Market Contact: 672-9826

November 12-13

Huff’s Antiques Show & Sale Location: MetraPark Pavilion Contact: 256-2400

To have your event considered for DateBook, please submit details to Dina Brophy at


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Humankind could learn a lot from geese â&#x20AC;&#x201C; staying together, working as a team and respecting order, yet always bending to the will of the wild that keeps us limber and creative. A gaggle of geese can tell us, in the uncertain days ahead, that there is an intrinsic order even in a seemingly chaotic world.

98 I september 2011 I MAGIC

The scattering of Canada geese across a western sky can awaken a sense of connection to the wild in even the most casual observer. In this neck of the prairie, the honking of Canada geese signals the changing of the seasons. During the spring and fall, the flocks of geese commute between the gravel bars of the Yellowstone River and the wheat stubble fields, ripe with waste grain on the edges of Billings. The ragged V formations carve up the sky in moving hieroglyphs, their way of skywriting the shifts of wind and weather. It is startling to be caught in a sudden rush of geese overhead, flapping, honking and weaving as they speed toward some unseen destination â&#x20AC;&#x201C; perhaps a pond, a marsh or an open field. Their flights are a stunning paradox of order and chaos. They fly, long necks extended, wings undulating rhythmically, bodies uniformly spaced, as synchronized as any air show. They land as if on a bombing mission, turning, twisting and dropping like knives from the clouds, never getting tangled up in each other, never abandoning the order in which they fly. Yet, somehow, it all looks

haphazard as if some giant hand had flung them into the sky like seeds into the wind. The deep musical honking of flying geese echoes like hollow reeds, a throaty, barking ka-ronk ah-honk. Their trumpet, strident, unforgettable and clear, reminds us that we are listening to the call of freedom. When geese launch into the sky, we long to go with them, to sail up into the ether and see the landscape as they do, to feel the rise and fall of ambient air beneath us, to know complete, unfettered flight. Humankind could learn a lot from geese â&#x20AC;&#x201C; staying together, working as a team and respecting order, yet always bending to the will of the wild that keeps us limber and creative. A gaggle of geese can tell us, in the uncertain days ahead, that there is an intrinsic order even in a seemingly chaotic world. And if we ever doubt that there is beauty in chaos, watching a line of Canada geese breaking the horizon on a crisp Montana morning will provide us with all the proof we need. It might even convince us that the truths we seek lie not in some faraway place, but somewhere over the next current, perhaps just downwind.


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100 I september 2011 I MAGIC

September 2011  

Western Roots, Global Aspirations: Working abroad and calling Billings home - the best of both worlds. Urban Cowboys: Living the legend. H...

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