Post Time for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame

By Sam Korsmoe

Executive Director, Madison County Economic Development Council

The horses are ready and it’s post time for the race to win the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. We now know what needs to get done, when those things are due, and most importantly the date that we will know who lassoed Montana’s biggest economic development project of 2012.

With its Twin Bridges proposed site that includes 30 acres of land and the Doncaster Round Red Barn, Madison County is a finalist along with Big Sky, Big Timber, Livingston, and Wolf Point. One of these five communities will win.

This horse race is nowhere near done. At best, we’re at the far turn. In 1889, Montana’s only Kentucky Derby winning racehorse, Spokane, was several lengths behind on the backstretch. According to local newspaper accounts of the time, he caught up on the final turn, had an incredible home stretch run, and beat the favorite by a head.

Spokane was a long shot. He was just a bunch-grass eating horse from a place that wasn’t even a state. He was too small compared to the big shot Kentucky racehorses. He couldn’t win, but he obviously didn’t know that. He just got ‘er done and set a track record to boot. He was a Madison County horse after all.

Here’s what we need to submit and here’s where you can play a role so we can win this thing.

Pledges of Money

This is a pledged donation agreement that would kick-in if Twin Bridges is selected. If another site is selected, it would be void. It allows for terms and conditions on your pledge. Ruby Valley National Bank has already made a six-figure pledge to the project. This gets us closer to the final prize. We need to get as many pledges on the table as possible. The final decision is likely to turn on this issue and the donations are charitable contributions for tax purposes. Please consider a pledge at whatever financial level you can. Thank you, Ruby Valley National Bank for getting us started.

Letters of Support

You’ve all been doing great with this one. Keep ‘em coming. The more the better and be sure to say in your letter why our site is a good choice and what you will be willing to do to help the project when we get selected. You can email a letter to me (email address below) and then mail a hard copy to MCEDC PO Box 365 Virginia City, MT 59755

Pledges of Services

This is exactly what it sounds like – a commitment of services to help the project succeed. The MCEDC will be offering 750 hours of executive capital campaign services to the project due to financial support from Paul and Jeanne Moseley. It takes money to make (or raise) money and this is what we’re putting on the table.

How about you? Some potential service contributions could include use of a facility, offers of expertise (e.g. horse training clinics, horseshoe making, home gardening, etc…), marketing and design services, financial services, and so on.

Pledges of Personal Property

This is an offer (or reduced sale) of a tangible item for the Hall of Fame if Twin Bridges wins. This could run the gamut from art to historical artifacts to a piece of machinery (e.g. a snowplow or tractor).  The item could be sold with the money going into the project, used by the Hall of Fame, or displayed in the museum. Just call me with your thoughts and we can discuss the options.

Pledge of Land and Building

Thanks to Tony and Amie James, the owners of the Hamilton/Seidensticker Ranch, we are hard at work on this one. The agreement will detail the terms for a full-on gift of 30 acres of land plus the Doncaster Round Red Barn to the Hall of Fame if our site is selected as the winner. This is an incredibly generous gift and all of Madison County is lucky to have such good neighbors as the James family.

That’s all the details. Call or email me with any questions on the project, our chances, and what you can do to help. We can win this thing. Reach me at 682-5923 or email me at

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