Season Opener: Bozeman Rules

If you can't answer a man's argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names. —Elbert Hubbard

It’s about time.

After half a dozen trouncings, somebody finally struck back. We’re talking, of course, about the side-by-side comparisons we feature in the News & Notes section, where Bozeman squares off with other towns in subjects ranging from outdoor recreation to arts and culture. Unlike the previous losers—Boulder, Flagstaff, Burlington, Ithaca, and Missoula—Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (see “Bozeman vs. Coeur d’Alene,” Summer 2006) refused to take its ass-whooping in silence. Yup, those saucy spud-heads got all worked up, and writer Marty Fortier of the local CDA paper, The Press, fired back with an article of his own. Right on.

Problem is, it was kinda weak. Instead of challenging our facts, or introducing some of his own, Fortier instead issued a barrage of petty insults, mean-spirited sarcasm, and redneck clichés taken straight from a Jeff Foxworthy routine. He also called Bozeman a “low self-esteem town” trying to “look better than the truck stop that it is.” According to Fortier, we’re a bunch of inbred hicks lacking both intelligence and sexual normalcy. Ironic, coming from a fatuous Frenchie who lives in the same town that once harbored the Aryan Nations. And what about his own senator’s highly publicized perversions? Can you say “Brokeback Bathroom”?

Basically, we were disappointed with Fortier’s boorish retort. We were hoping for a chess match, but all he seems capable of is thumb-wrestling. I guess our statistics about his town’s education level (we beat them almost 3 to 1 in bachelor’s degrees per capita; hence our “Couer duh Alene” quip that got him so riled up) hit a little too close to home, and instead of a battle of wits, all we get is some municipal mud-slinging. Oh well, if that’s the best those provincial panhandlers can do, so be it.

Not that it matters much. Bozeman flat-out kicks ass, we all know that. And with that in mind, we’ve put together an appropriately kick-ass fall issue. We’ve got all the bases covered this season, be they conventional activities or decidedly offbeat autumnal endeavors. Estela Villasenor describes the esoteric world of hunting by mountain bike. O/B intern Peter Nelson lines out the best outdoor bum jobs of the season, while local writer Ray Sikorski tells an intriguing tale of one man’s obsession with hang gliding. Writer, physician, and accomplished bird hunter E. Donnall Thomas makes a case for establishing the Labrador retriever as Montana’s state dog (sorry, yapper owners, no Pomeranians in this race). This issue also brings you horsepacking instruction, ankle-care tips, hookeybobbing adventures, and a rundown of southwest Montana’s spookiest haunted buildings. And as usual, don’t forget about all the cool stuff happening outside Bozeman, in towns like West Yellowstone, Ennis, Gardiner, and Three Forks. Be sure to check out our Area Attractions department for fall goings-on in these areas.

We’ve also introduced a new section for women called, aptly enough, Just for Chicks. From the truth about sports bras to the basics of skin care, this is one section that Bozeman outdoorswomen won’t want to miss. Keep an eye out for more women-oriented content in future issues—O/B is, after all, about the outdoor lifestyle that we all enjoy, not just male-dominated hardcore sports involving loads of gear and gallons of adrenaline (though we do love that stuff too).

Finally, fall is the time to think, more than ever, about conservation. With wildlands rapidly disappearing amid sprawling subdivisions and monstrous trophy cabins, and hunting falling off in popularity—a recent Bozeman Chronicle article stated that fewer than 20% of Montanans hunt these days—we need to do everything we can to ensure the future of the wilderness experience around Bozeman. Get involved with local conservation groups, and make your voices heard. After all, the outdoors are a huge part of our lives around here, and if that deteriorates, our bodies and minds may follow. If that happens, we may as well move to Coeur duh Alene.