Madison County makes short list for hall of fame project

Madison County has made the short list of potential locations for the new Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

This week the hall of fame announced their final list of possible locations, which besides Madison County include Big Sky, Big Timber, Livingston, Miles City and Wolf Point.

“The goal was to get on the short list and that’s all that really counted and we got on the short list,” said Sam Korsmoe, executive director of the Madison County Economic Development Council.

The selection process started back in August, when Madison County was invited to submit a proposal along with more than 30 other communities in the state.

The hall of fame and heritage center dates back to state legislation passed in 2001 that determined a Montana Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center would be built in Wolf Point. However, the structure never got beyond the conceptual phase.

This past legislature expanded the legislation to allow the project to be constructed anywhere in the state and the competition for the best location kicked off this summer.

The conceptual design for the hall of fame and heritage center is a 30-acre campus, Korsmoe said. The proposal he submitted on behalf of
Madison County has three potential locations for the project: the historic Montana Children’s Center in Twin Bridges, next to the new Madison Valley History Association’s museum west of Ennis and the Ennis Rodeo Grounds.

“Our proposal is maybe unique because we have three land options for them to consider,” Korsmoe said.

In the project application, he also touted Madison County’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park and nationally recognized fly fishing and hunting. Additionally, Madison County is home to Virginia City, which was the territorial capital of Montana and the place where the state really got its start.

The committee selecting the site of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center will be conducting interviews within the next two weeks and will be coming to Madison County, he said.

Korsmoe is looking to gather interested people around the county to turn out and support the effort. Madison County has a long history of rallying people together for projects and that mentality needs to come through in the interview process.

Madison County Commissioner Dave Schulz is excited at the opportunity the county has to compete for a prominent facility that could be another great draw for the area.

“I’m very encouraged that Madison County is a finalist to be considered for this,” Schulz said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done and it’s a tremendous commitment by a lot of people, but if this were to come to fruition in Madison County this would be incredible for our citizens.”

Folks interested in helping with the project, should contact Korsmoe at 682-5923. The interviewing committee will likely be in Madison County sometime between Nov. 18 and Nov. 20. The interview process will include discussion with landowners at potential sites as well as community members. It will be the best opportunity Madison County has to explain the benefits of building the project here, Korsmoe said.

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