As of late Tuesday, Arlee's Jessica Picchietti sat atop the women's all-around standings in the 2009 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. To take the lead, the Loyola Sacred Heart graduate finished first among more than 50 competitors in breakaway roping, and then placed 13th in goat tying. For you city folk, the second event entails Picchietti successfully mounting a horse, racing to a goat, flipping it, and then tying three of its legs together—in 6.7 seconds. We've never met Picchietti, but we're pretty darn impressed, and proud to have her represent our neck of the woods.
Our governor is another story. In case you weren't following the daily campaign leading up to Virginia's June 9 gubernatorial primary—and, really, what's your excuse?—Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer emerged with an ill-timed endorsement of former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who was in the middle of a heated three-way race. "He's got the energy to take this all the way to the end," said Schweitzer, "and when there's a bump in the road, he's not going to cry like a girl and quit."
The sexist remark went over about as well as Schweitzer's election-tampering joke in Philly last year—probably worse. The press pounced. McAuliffe lost by more than 20 points. The Washington Post even bothered to list Schweitzer on the wrong side of a post-election "Winners and Losers" column, rightly wondering why on earth the Montana governor would fly cross-country to butt his nose into a Virginia primary.
That's a good question, but let's focus on something more immediate to our state: What message is Schweitzer conveying to the rest of the country about Montana? For years, it's been a caricature of Western life that hinges on bolo ties, blue jeans, Border collies and cutesy colloquialisms. Now it's all that—with some old-school sexism, to boot. So much for the New West, eh?
We've never been fans of Schweitzer's shallow showmanship. It was mildly amusing at first, but now it's grown beyond embarrassing to downright offensive. Most frustratingly, his schtick undermines some of the decent work he's done since being elected in 2004.
Maybe he should learn a lesson from Picchietti. She didn't quit or cry when her first two rounds of breakaway roping left her in the middle of the pack. Instead, she bucked up and posted her best score on her third and final go. No-nonsense, tough and determined—that's the sort of example we can endorse. The Cave:Advertising:02 Production Art:IndyLogoDingbat2002.tifB:'",,"")>