Voices Of Montana

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Recent VOM News

Worden Family’s Experience with Muscular Dystrophy

Paul and Laura Heaton's son Grant is five years old and was diagnosed with Duchenne Musecular Dystrophy at the age ...
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It’s All About Schools! Safety, Funding, Report Cards, and What Happened During the Legislative Process

How are our schools doing? We had Superintendent Elsie Arntzen on the show to talk about: School Safety The Report ...
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Legislative Update: Medicaid Expansion Bill with Ed Buttrey

We spoke with Representative Ed Buttrey about the Medicaid Expansion bill that passed out of the legislature and is heading ...
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Legislative Update: The Infrastructure Bonding Bill With Mike Hopkins

Legislative Update: We spoke with Representative Mike Hopkins about the Infrastructure Bonding Bill. The $80 Million bill provides a framework ...
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Beyond Colstrip, What is The Montana Electric Supply Plan and Why Should You Care?

We spoke with John D. Hines, NorthWestern Energy Vice President of  Supply and Montana Government Affairs. By listening to this episode, ...
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Learn How a Montana Rancher is Putting USDA Conservation Programs into Action

Tom Watson is the State Conservationist for Montana USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He gave us a general overview ...
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Voices of Montana This Week

9:06 AM – Voices of Montana Part I

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9:39 AM – Voices of Montana Part II

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Coming up on Voices of Montana

< 2018 >
May 13 - May 19
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  • 14

    Peter Murphy-Vice President for Policy, Invest in Education Foundatioin

    9:00 AM-10:00 AM

    The Invest in Education Foundation is a research and policy not-for-profit 501(C)(3) and publicly-supported organization with a mission of promoting improvement in K-12 education, increasing educational choice, and working to close gaps in educational achievement. Our activities include research and events to educate the public and advocacy (under the “h” election) in support of legislation consistent with our mission.



    • Thomas W. Carroll, President
    • Peter Murphy, Vice President for Policy
    • Michael J. Strianese, CFO
  • 15

    National Infrastructure Week--Webb Brown, Pres, Montana Chamber Of Commerce.

    9:00 AM-10:00 AM

    Webb Brown, Will give us an update on Montanas infrastructure.

  • 16

    Montana Congressman-Greg Gianforte

    9:00 AM-10:00 AM

    Congressman Gianforte will call us at 9:36 am for an update from Washington DC.

  • 17

    Kathleen Williams--Democratic Candidate for United States Congress

    9:00 AM-10:00 AM

    Congressional candidate Kathleen Williams believes that our state – and our country – deserve qualified, honorable representation. First and foremost a thoughtful, dedicated member of the Montana community, Kathleen feels just as comfortable rolling up her sleeves for work in rural fields and streams as she does under the Capitol roof.

    Her thirty-four-year natural resources career traverses the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The principles of responsible, science-based stewardship, the voices of individuals who work the land for a living, and the shared-used policies of state government inform her pragmatic, forward-thinking views on water rights, public access, and sustainability policy.

    During her three terms as a Representative in Montana’s Legislature, Kathleen served as Vice Chair of the Agriculture and Taxation committees. She became well-known for fostering successful bipartisan relationships based on ethical behavior and mutual respect – principles increasingly absent from Washington, D.C. today.

    Kathleen believes in the importance of independent, local farming initiatives. During her time in the Montana House, she distinguished herself as a legislative playmaker in agricultural circles. She served on the Governor’s Drought Committee and the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission. Her graduate research on flows necessary to keep rivers healthy forming the basis of her expertise, she fought on the front lines to protect irrigator water rights, the water rights of the Salish-Kootenai tribes, and the protection of priority fisheries.

    As a leader of the House Taxation Committee, Kathleen Williams familiarized herself with the urgent need for effective tax reform to help working-class families and worked to advance an Earned Income Tax Credit in 2013 – a measure which successfully passed in 2015. And for years, the Revenue Estimate – the state’s method for determining which programs to prioritize – was performed effectively and accurately with her contributions and leadership.

    Williams is a champion for healthcare, understanding that the systemic gutting and overcomplication of insurance coverage does not serve the needs of working, retired, or low-income Montanans. A caregiver for her ailing mother at an early age, Williams developed a life outlook of caring for people in need. As a legislator, she advocated for those who have been discarded by the healthcare system. After four years of hard work, Williams passed a bill which ensured coverage of crucial routine cancer treatments while allowing patient participation in innovative, life-saving clinical trials.

    Kathleen Williams graduated with a B.S. in Resource Economics from U.C. Berkeley, and from Colorado State University with an M.S. in Recreation Resources. As an Associate Director at the Western Landowners Alliance, she served as a resource on water and policy issues, told the story of private land conservation through film, and provided information important to the ecological, economic, and cultural pulse of over 14 million acres of privately held land in the West.

    Williams hunts and fishes, hikes and canoes, and protects sustainable public access to the incredible rivers and mountains that all Montanans have the right to utilize and the responsibility to protect. She enjoys cycling, music, and a good two-step. Williams is step-mom to two adult boys and an overactive German wirehair pointer.

  • 18

    Broadcasting Live From Miles City Saddlery & The 2018 Miles City Bucking Horse Sale

    9:00 AM-10:00 AM

    In a highly successful effort to help fill the world’s need for saddles, the firms started by Al Furstnow and Charlie Coggshall blended assembly line techniques from back East with custom care exercised by the one-man shops of the West.

    Miles City saddleries employed dozens of men who came to specialize in various aspects of making this most necessary of cowboy tools. Some saddlemakers made four to six saddles per week, and some stayed in the business long enough to make 2,000 to 3,000 saddles.

    Since many cowboys were in the saddle nearly 365 days of the year, they were willing to pay good money for a saddle that was built well and built to order. Order forms had specifications for the type of tree, width and length of seat, width of swell, skirts, style of rigging, horn, cinch, stirrups, initials, brand, pockets and also weight and height of the rider.

    The saddleries published extensive catalogues featuring just about everything a cowboy might need. The 1925 Miles City Saddlery Catalog featured the following items and prices to mention just a few: Premium No. 1, $160; Saddle No. 95, $85; white or black Angora Chaparejos, $24; cowboy cuffs, $1.25-$3.50; spurs, $2-$24; Stetson Rider Hat, $17.50; Justin Cowboy Boots, $22; bridle headstalls, $3.25-$15; lariats, $1.50-$6.

    Furstnow and Coggshall combined the need to make custom saddles with the need to make a lot of them. In fact, some of their saddlemakers learned the general trade on production lines in cities like St. Paul, and then came to Miles City to learn to make a fine saddle.

    A saddle generally started with the wooden frame known as the tree. The trees were made of softwood often from Oregon. The tree was covered with rawhide to provide strength. A poster-sized list of specifications for each saddle would be placed on the wall. The foreman would cut the pieces out of cowhide, which generally came from tanneries in Illinois. The cutters didn’t just start cutting at random. Each part of the hide was suited for a particular part of the saddle. For instance, parts required to stretch more would come from the neck or stomach areas. Stirrup leathers and the riggings, requiring considerable strength, would come from the better parts of the hide.

    The saddlemaker would begin assembling the pieces of the leather onto the tree. Nearly all of the pieces were applied while wet to certain degrees. He would work on several saddles at a time, so he would be able to work on one saddle while various parts on others were drying. At certain stages in the saddlemaker’s work the stamper or carver (some did both) would apply designs to certain pieces when they were nearly dry. This had to be done at the optimum time or else the design would be either mushy or ill defined.

    The stamper was a skilled artisan, and many fine saddlemakers never really made fine stampers. A strap maker or “short order man” would make many of the separate, smaller parts that went on the saddles, as well as bridles and other tack. Others ran heavy sewing machines or stitched by hand.

    There were “tricks to the trade,” including placing a sack full of lead shot on the seat to help form it, and using rub sticks to remove wrinkles. When the saddle was fully assembled, it would be treated with neat’s-foot oil, extracted from the hooves and shinbones of cattle, to protect the leather.

    The saddlemakers’ pay depended on the difficulty of the style being made. A 1913 Miles City Saddlery pay schedule shows that saddle style No. 91 paid the maker $3.75 each, while saddle style No.11 paid $9. Stamping ranged from $2.50 for style No. 90 to $14 for style No.11.

    Saddle styles changed, but both the Furstnow and Miles City Saddlery shops were making pretty similar saddles over the years. This was due, in part, to the fact that saddlemakers switched back and forth between shops for one reason or another.

    Pete Verbeck, a Miles City sadldlemaker, for example, started at the age of 15, in 1915, in an apprenticeship under Furstnow’s, Al Moreno. The youth spent five years learning the intricate art of carving flowers on the more ornate saddles. He worked there until 1920, when he went over to the Miles City Saddlery. He switched back and forth from time to time, thanks primarily due the Depression, which found a man taking work wherever and whenever it was available. He was the foreman at Miles City Saddlery from 1939 to 1944, at which time he opened his own shop.

    There were also “tramp saddlemakers,” who drifted around the West working at various places for a time and then moving on, sometimes not even owning the tools of the trade.

    Some of the individual saddles were more famous and more original than others. For example, the “Cisco Kid” saddle, which includes a great amount of silver, rests in the University of Wyoming Library. Similar saddles were built for movie cowboys, Tim McCoy and Tom Mix and his daughter. The Miles City saddlery put together a $2500 package for Crown Prince Olaf and Princess Martha of Norway for their 1938 sojourn to the states.

    A lot of fancy saddles were made for famous people, but thousands of unknown cowboys had life a lot easier, thanks to the saddlemakers of Furstnow, Miles City Saddlery and their followers, who made some of the finest saddles in the world.


  • 19
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Recent VOM Podcasts

Voices of Montana
Voices of Montana is MT's only statewide, daily, radio talk show. The show is a platform for Montanans to share their opinions on issues that matter to MT.
Worden Family’s Experience with Muscular Dystrophy

Paul and Laura Heaton’s son Grant is five years old and was diagnosed with Duchenne Musecular Dystrophy at the age of three. The Worden Montana family is asking for help from sellers of cattle. Please bring in a calf yearling cow or whatever you can to Billings Livestock for a special sale September 19th. Debra […]

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