Written by Devon Boen
This year, the 90th annual Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede will honor military veterans. A Patriot Night is planned for Friday, July 12, and two World War II veterans who were aboard this year’s honor flight to Washington, D.C., Bernerd Wanderaas and Eddie Olsen, will serve as the event’s grand marshals.
Wanderaas and Olsen were born and raised in Vida and graduated from Wolf Point High School.
Wanderaas, who will be 90 years old next year, served in the U.S. Navy for two years, starting on D-Day in 1944. He served in active duty off the coast of the Aleutian Islands.
After his stint in the U.S. Navy, he took over his parents’ farm in 1948 and has been farming ever since.
Olsen, who is Wanderaas’ lifelong neighbor and best friend, joined the Army Infantry in 1944. He said he moved around often during his time in the military, travelling to France and Germany, among other countries.
Olsen said he came down with the flu during the war and, with great luck, missed the Battle of the Bulge. He finished his time in the military in 1946 and, like Wanderaas, has been farming ever since.
The two veterans, who will serve as focal points at this year’s Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede celebration, recalled fond memories of attending the event while growing up.
Wanderaas said he came every year before the war and every year after.
Olsen said he started attending the Wild Horse Stampede in the 1930s and he could remember riding to the fairgrounds in a Ford Model T.
Like many other luxuries and events, the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede was canceled from 1943 through 1945 since too many civic leaders were serving in the war.
The festivities resumed in 1946 with a huge celebration.
Wanderaas has been a longtime attendee of the regionally famous event, but was genuinely surprised when he was chosen as one of this year’s grand marshals.
“It’s the last thing I thought I would ever be doing. Some of [the previous grand marshals] did give some good speeches and cracked a lot of jokes.”
Wanderaas said he didn’t think he would be giving any speeches, but noted that he would be cheering on the competitors.
“When the ropers or barrel racers do exceptionally well, I’ll be sure to give them a good applause anyway,” he said.
Wanderaas might have some reservations about being in the spotlight, but said he felt good knowing his best friend would share the responsibility.
“I can’t think of anybody in the area I’d rather be a partner with to be the grand marshal,” Wanderaas said.
Olsen was similarly thankful to be sharing the title. The two veterans have been through a multitude of life events together and mark another off the list as they represent all veterans and their sacrifices during Wolf Point’s historic Wild Horse Stampede.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 18:05
Written by Devon Boen
Wolf Point residents and annual tourists are well-acquainted with the bullfighters, barrel riders and rodeo queens, but there is one group — arguably the most important — which often gets overlooked. No, not the rodeo clowns. We’re talking about the sponsors, the ones who make it all happen.
This year, businesses throughout the local area are stepping up and keeping the Stampede tradition alive. State Farm Insurance, Curtiss Farm and Auto/Carquest and Western Bank are each sponsoring nightly buckles for the winning Wild Horse Race team.
Lucky Cowboy sponsors vary by event. You can thank Blue Rock Companies for barrel racing, Northeast Montana Health Services for tie-down roping, CHMS and Hi-Line Wholesale for team roping, Git-n-Go for steer wrestling, Farm Bureau Financial Services for the Wild Horse Race, Way-Out-West Car Rentals for bareback, Wolf Point Elks Lodge #1764 for saddle bronc, Paul’s Glass & Works for bullriding and Steamboat Dry Goods for steer roping.
The shining stars of Stampede likely couldn’t have achieved their success without some help, including support by sponsors. Announcer Randy Schmutz is sponsored by Nemont, bullfighter Mike Anderson is sponsored by Glasgow Distributors and Bill Braaten Plumbing and bullfighter Darrel Diefenbach is sponsored by the Fort Peck Community College Agriculture Department.
The calcultta auctioneer is sponsored by Wolf Point Federal Credit Union, the electronic scoreboard is sponsored by Blue Rock Companies and Rodeo Sports Medicine is sponsored by McDonald’s.
Bucking chute sponsors include Sherman Inn, Cassco Insurance, Western Bank, Bryan’s, Farmers Elevator, Wolf Point Warehouse Flooring, Nemont Weedbusters and Wilbur Ellis. The bullriding event is sponsored by Coors Lite, the timed event chute is sponsored by First Community Bank, contestants’ hospitality is sponsored by Pro Tire and barrel race outgate is sponsored by Silverwolf Casino.
If you see a great-looking banner during Stampede, credit is due to Peavey Elevator, Columbia Grain and Wolf Point Sand & Gravel.
The Thursday night program sponsor is Tough Enough To Wear Pink in Montana and Bryan’s Wrangler Night. Friday night sponsor is Agland Co-op and the Saturday night sponsor is Farm Credit Services.
Like Lucky Cowboy, event buckle sponsors vary by event. Sponsors include NAPA/GY Supply for saddle bronc, Dad’s Bar & Grill for bareback, Zerbe’s Inc. for bull riding, Harry’s Nite Club for steer wrestling, State Farm Insurance for tie-down roping, Farm Equipment Sales and Glasgow Implement for team roping, Montana-Dakota Utilities for barrel racing, Wolf Point Glass for steer roping and Hi-Line Sports for all-around.
So when you’re sitting at Marvin Brookman Stadium this weekend enjoying Wolf Point’s biggest celebration, don’t forget those who made it all happen.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 18:04
Written by Devon Boen
When I first pulled into Wolf Point a little over a year ago, I was pretty sure I needed to turn around and go back to where I belonged. Obviously, I didn’t do that. I stayed and slowly made this small town nestled up in the corner of Montana my makeshift home.
To this day, I think about what a huge mistake it would have been to leave. I would have missed out on meeting hundreds of interesting people with different stories to tell. I learned about the nuances of state and tribal law from the Wolf Point Police Department, I relayed stories of mischievousness and heroism from a Vietnam Vet walking across the country and I had the opportunity to interview two of Montana’s most important political figures, Congressman Steve Daines and Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau.
Over the past year, I’ve been able to cover fun, lighthearted stories, but I’ve also had the opportunity to take on intellectually and morally challenging topics.
I’ve been amazed at the depth and importance of Wolf Point’s and Roosevelt County’s issues and current events. I particularly loved covering the Charles Bowen negligent homicide trial. I found the process to be fascinating and felt like it was my responsibility as a reporter to provide in-depth coverage.
For those professional opportunities and lessons, I need to thank Darla and Sheridan Shumway, as well as former Herald-News editor Jeff Tucker who helped me out when I was a brand new intern. Darla and Sheridan provide reporters with the chance to cover all spectrums of reporting and that type of experience is invaluable.
But, what made my time in Wolf Point most enjoyable were the people I met. I never minded going to weekly commissioner meetings. I knew Gary, Jim, Duane and Brenda would always help me out.
And, I looked forward to blotter each week where I could spend some quality time with Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada, who always had some type of unhealthy treat to give me, or Lieutenant Brian Erwin, who I could count on for straight answers.
On a personal level, I’m grateful I met Jasmine Azure, who was a good friend from day one, and one who will be missed when I leave. I already miss Faye Hotomanie who recently moved to Billings and was previously the longtime ad/sales employee for The Herald-News.
We were happy when Sam Stanich joined the paper in October. The three of us kept each other sane while folding hundreds of Searchlight newspapers by hand each Wednesday and we could usually be found at the pub on Fridays.
Most of all, I’m glad I gave Wolf Point a chance because I met Skyler Turner, who is now my boyfriend of one year. Besides just him, I’m grateful I was openly welcomed and cared for by his family, Dee, Marlene, Preppie, Dani and Kay.
If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that you don’t always know what you need. I never thought moving to a remote location with a few thousand people would ever be something I wanted, let alone needed, to change the direction of my life but, now, it’s quite clear it was the only solution and a serious gift.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 18:12
Written by Devon Boen
Silver Airways, the airline that provides Essential Air Service throughout northeast Montana, has decided not to bid on another two-year contract.
Essential Air Service is a government program that subsidizes airline services to rural communities that wouldn’t have them otherwise after the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. The act made it possible for airlines to choose the areas they would service and the fares they would charge. This left many rural communities without an airline since the small areas likely wouldn’t generate a profit for major airlines.
Silver Airways has provided air service to Lewistown, Miles City, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Glendive, Havre and Sidney since February 2011.
Wolf Point public works director Rick Isle said Lewistown and Miles City were no longer eligible for EAS because each community’s average subsidy per passenger per flight exceeded the maximum $1,000. Because those two cities are no longer a part of the program, Silver Airways said the contract would not be profitable for them.
Isle said the EAS taskforce, a group of representatives from the serviced communities, will meet in Billings July 25 to review new bids and select one. He said the selected bid will then go back to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval.
In the past, eastern Montana has gone without Essential Air Service, most recently from 2008 to 2009 after Big Sky Airlines stopped flying into the area. Isle said Silver is required to continue providing service to the area unless it is clear the task force is not actively looking for a new provider.
Isle was asked how another airline would make a profit if Silver wouldn’t. He said it was undetermined how that would work and the new gap might be reflected in higher bids, but there was no way of knowing until the bids were reviewed.
Silver Airlines’ official contract expires Sept. 27 and Isle said when the newly selected airline will start providing service depends on which company
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 17:45
Written by Devon Boen
Anyone who knows Bob Hanson knows not to call him by his given name. He goes by “Sparky,” a nickname he earned years ago after he dressed up in a “Sparky the Fire Safety Dog” costume.
Hanson found the nickname fitting and adopted it as a part of his identity. Fortunately, it isn’t much of a stretch since he is a longtime firefighter, fire chief, and newly elected president of the Montana State Volunteer Firefighters Association — an organization that represents 10,000 firefighters across the state.
Hanson grew up in Wolf Point, graduated from Wolf Point High School and from Dickinson State University in North Dakota. He currently works as a registered nurse at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow.
Hanson said he became interested in firefighting at a young age because his family was heavily involved. His father, Bob Hanson, was the Wolf Point fire chief for 17 years. Hanson followed in his father’s footsteps and began working as a Wolf Point volunteer firefighter at 19 years old. He went on to work at the Long Run Valley Fire Department, of which he is now the fire chief and oversees seven fire departments and 97 firefighters.
Now, Hanson has taken on his biggest responsibility yet as the president of the MSVFA. He previously served as the vice president for the organization’s district 7, which covers Valley, Garfield, McCone, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt and part of Prairie counties.
In June, he was elected to take over as the president of the entire organization in place of Kraig Hansen, who encouraged him to run.
Hanson explained the organization represented 420 fire departments and 10,000 firefighters on a broad range of issues. He said he’d be the voice of the departments during Mon
tana Legislative sessions and would fight for volunteer firefighters’ rights like workmen’s compensation, which they currently do not receive in Montana.
He said there is also a bill proposed that would reduce speed limits by accident scenes that he and the association would like passed. Hanson said a firefighter died on the scene of a car accident after being run over by another motorist passing the area.
Looking at Hanson’s long list of credentials might give the impression nothing would faze him, but he said he’s faced tragedy and challenges on the job just like anyone else. Hanson said he was particularly devastated by the 2009 shooting outside the Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. Hanson had only been fire chief for 15 days and it was his responsibility to limit the chaos and ensure people’s safety. Hanson said the entire town was shut down and the worst part was not knowing who was okay and who wasn’t.
Hanson has proven he is equal parts brave and compassionate, making him the perfect candidate to represent Montana’s firefighters. He said, out of all the opportunities the position would offer him, he most looked forward to meeting firefighters from across Montana.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 17:43