Champs & Chumps: Summer 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 summer season.

Belgrade resident Erik Slye, for his "ballsy" letter to the Gallatin County District Court, which enumerated in clear, albeit vulgar, language exactly why he could not perform jury duty. The letter, supposedly drafted by his wife but signed, notarized, and submitted by Erik himself, lambasted the court, referenced canine genitalia, and earned him immediate internet infamy. Comedian Stephen Colbert even awarded Erik the Alpha Dog of the Week award on the Colbert Report. We just like his anti-establishment spunk.

The anonymous whistleblower who turned in the Dailey Lake vandals using 800-TIP-MONT. Normally we don't like tattletales, but in this case, the criminals needed a good spanking. Some private property may be begging for destruction (see the Triple Cross review on page 11), but when you mess with the public domain, you mess with us! Nice job, narc, whoever you are.

Nineteen-year-old Patrick Halmrast, for his inspired mid-January hike to Bridger Bowl. He set out on foot at 3:30 am from his apartment on College St., climbed to the Bridger range via the M, and eight hours later met his buddies at the Deer Park chalet for lunch. He then skied the rest of the day with them. Nice work, Patrick, that's about as Bozeman as it gets.

The City of Bozeman, for reinstating a 1981 regulation that says, among other things, that all "animals found at large shall be taken by the Animal Control Officer to the animal shelter." What would Bozeman's northeast neighborhood be without a few happy-go-lucky mongrels roaming the streets? What we need is not an arbitrary rule that punishes perfectly good dogs and their owners, but a judicious assault on irresponsible owners whose untrained mutts routinely ruin people's days.

The Dailey Lake vandals, who destroyed $4,000 worth of public property during a crazed demolition derby that flattened a dozen signs, five windscreens, and a visitor kiosk, among other things. Sure, they're just stupid kids; sure, they were just having fun—but how about some discretion? Think of how many zeroes they could have added to the tally—and how many locals would have joined their cause—if they’d gone on a similar spree in the Village Downtown.

The unnamed "Geyser Goon," a Yellowstone Park concession worker, for peeing into Old Faithful. After being caught by a live webcam, the employee was fired, fined, and placed on three years' probation. A funny thing to do, perhaps, if you're drunk; but did he really think there wouldn't be a camera pointed at the world's most famous geyser? Now, if he'd done it during an eruption, we'd have made him a champ instead.