Volunteers pedal, pull and push a towering wagonload of bicycle parts to Missoula’s annual Festival of Cycles at Bonner Park. The April 24 event attracted hundreds of cyclists and bike fanatics looking to build new bikes from recycled materials or take advantage of free repairs from volunteer mechanics.
Riker Carter of Stone, Idaho, waits for his bull riding event at the 112th annual Fourth of July rodeo in Arlee. Carter was one of 114 entrants in the rodeo’s nine events. More than 90 community rodeos take place in Montana every year.
Indy photo editor Chad Harder took time away from the camera during the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 to focus on healing a serious hand and wrist injury. The time away ultimately did little to hinder his outdoor pursuits, as evidenced by this image from the summit of Mount Reynolds taken after his return.
Kevin Keeter checks the brewing tanks inside Big Sky Brewing Company. Big Sky is currently the largest producer of craft beer in Montana, cranking out 36,500 barrels of beer in 2009 alone. The industry continues to thrive in Missoula, in general, as the number of taprooms is expected to double by early 2011. In addition to the city’s three stalwarts—Big Sky, Kettlehouse and Bayern—Flathead Lake Brewing Company opened a downtown taproom in November, Tamarack Brewing Company is slated to open one in February, and the new Hellgate Brewing Company hopes to unveil its Spruce Street facility by March.
Readers flipped over this photo of a bighorn ram licking up highly toxic antifreeze in Glacier National Park in July. One reader suggested photo editor Chad Harder be charged with animal cruelty for “glorifying the picture of the mountain goat.”
St. Francis Xavier School building, originally built in 1927, was demolished in February to make way for a parking lot. Although parishioners grabbed bricks as mementos and salvagers scored more than 35,000 board feet of lumber from the project, some believed more of the building could have been salvaged.
A packed house at the Wilma Theatre watches a Feb. 17 screening of Sweetgrass during the seventh annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The film, which follows Montana cowboys on their final trip leading sheep to pasture in the Absaroka and Beartooth mountains, drew the largest turnout of the festival and earned an award for artistic vision.
Local artists Nathan McTague and Natalie Christensen covered the wall of downtown coffee shop Butterfly Herbs with almost 2,000 customer food tickets for an exhibit during January’s First Friday Artwalk. The installation, titled Butterfly Herbus Regularis, celebrated the venerable coffee shop’s eclectic regulars.
Fire spinners light up Caras Park Nov. 2 during the annual Day of the Dead celebration. Thousands of Missoulians gathered downtown for the parade and party, which follow the traditional Mexican holiday of honoring the deceased.
More than 50 protesters, including 14-year-old hunter-hopeful Amanda Andres, march outside the federal courthouse in Missoula June 15 to voice support for removing gray wolves from the endangered species list. U.S District Judge Donald Molloy, however, ruled Aug. 5 to reinstate protections.
Missoula’s in-town play wave came of age in July when it hosted the U.S. National Freestyle Kayak Team Trials. Sixteen-year-old Dane Jackson set the tone on Brennan’s Wave with this winning run in an open canoe, and followed it with two more first-place finishes to qualify for next summer’s World Championships in Germany.
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Photo by Bob Wiesner
The increase in bear activity this year—including bear attacks near Yellowstone National Park that left two people dead—kept Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks managers busy mitigating bear-human conflicts. Bear management specialists like Jamie Jonkel, above, worked with groups like the Blackfoot Challenge to put up electric fences and install bear-resistant containers in order to keep the animals away from people’s livestock and garbage.
The brilliant blues of Ipasha and Margaret lakes greet climbers on their way to Ipasha Peak in Glacier National Park. The park celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer and recorded its busiest year ever, with 2,216,019 visitors through November. The previous record was set in 1983 with 2,203,847 visitors.
The trichomes (or resin glands) of a cannabis flower are clearly visible in this macro-view of an “Afghooey” medical strain grown outdoors in Missoula last summer. Although more than 26,429 Montanans are registered with the state’s medical marijuana program as of press time, legislators have already introduced 20 bills to revise, or even repeal, the Montana Medical Marijuana Act in 2011.
Former Montana Democratic Chairman Dennis McDonald struggled to raise funds or gain any traction during his bid to unseat five-term Republican incumbent Denny Rehberg in the race for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Melville rancher’s final plea for votes hinged on riding his horse “from Eureka to Ekalaka” during the last days of the campaign. McDonald still lost handily, garnering just 33 percent of the vote.
Smurfit-Stone Container closed its Frenchtown linerboard plant in January, leaving more than 400 people out of work and otherwise devastating the local economy. After their last shift, workers hung their hard hats on the fence outside the facility. Nearly a year later, the mill site has a prospective buyer, but company officials remain mum on who it might be.
About 30 protesters greet former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin before her Sept. 12 speech at a fundraiser for Teen Challenge. Reid Reimers, pictured above, who organized one of the protest groups through Facebook, chose to lampoon the new-age Joan of Arc based on her belief that she’s doing God’s work in the political realm. Palin’s appearance helped raise $130,000 for the Missoula shelter that helps young mothers with addictions to alcohol or drugs.
The Montana Actors’ Theatre production of The Rocky Horror Show hit the Wilma Theatre for early and midnight showings during the weekend before Halloween. The cult classic play starred, from left, Jamie Parnell, Amy Lala, Reid Reimers and Jeff Medley, and included the usual gender-bending performances and audience participation.
The Missoula County Fairgrounds found itself dealing with an unexpected controversy when The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit, complained about free admission to a Sunday worship service during the Western Montana Fair. As a result, officials abruptly moved the service, as well as a Christian rock concert, to the local minor league baseball stadium. While God may not have been welcome at the fairgrounds, horseracing did make a triumphant return in 2010.
Speaking of The Independent Presents Its Annual Look Back At The Year That Was, Through The Lenses Of Our Award-winning Photographers, Including Photo Editor Chad Harder And Contributor Cathrine L. Walters., Features