Champs & Chumps – Fall 2009

Every day, one stalwart citizen does the right thing while another acts like a blithering bonehead. Here's a recap of admirable acts and embarrassing blunders for the the past season.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust, for their tireless work to expand and improve Bozeman’s trail network. Their behind-the-scenes conservation efforts often go unrecognized, but this past summer they were co-recipients of the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Trail of the Year award. The City of Bozeman and the Bozeman Noon Rotary shared the honor. Thanks to all three organizations—but especially GVLT—for helping to make Bozeman such a great place to live.

The Downtown Bozeman Partnership, for assembling the Downtown Improvement Plan, a thorough study on how to enhance downtown and help it remain the social and cultural centerpiece of Bozeman. Our favorite part? Opening up Bozeman Creek, complete with streamside parks and trails. See page 18 for more information about the plan.

Butte fisherman Bob Kingston, for catching a 20-pound brown trout on the Big Hole River. That’s right, 20 pounds. On a fly rod. The fish was 35 inches long and took a half-hour to land. Thanks, Bob, for landing a true monster and giving the rest of us hope that we, too, can one day catch the fish of a lifetime.

Ameya Preserve, for continuing to affront locals with its ongoing mendacity. This time, it’s a failure to provide promised funds to the Museum of the Rockies, in exchange for its endorsement of the luxury-home development south of Livingston. (Granted, selling one’s good name and reputation to a silver-tongued charlatan was probably not the best idea in the first place, but we all make mistakes.) Let’s cross our fingers and hope this is the official end of shameless greenwashing in Paradise Valley.

The Sweet Pea Ball organizers, for hosting the lamest ball in recent memory. Mandatory bright-orange wristbands to wear over formal attire, inept dance-contest judges, and a condescending Nazi waiter who shut down the $20/head ball at 11:15… the accumulated indignities left a poor impression, one that may take the ball years to recover from.

O/B editor Mike England, for mistakenly identifying the “geyser goon” who peed in Old Faithful last spring as Al Nash. Al is not, in fact, a drunk urinary thrillseeker; he’s actually Yellowstone's Public Affairs Officer and a highly respected member of the National Park Service. Mike deserves a royal ass-kicking for defaming him.