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Smith Pushes For Cowboy Hall Of Fame To Return

A bill to move the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame back to Wolf Point passed the House’s state administration committee on an 11-7 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The bill, however, failed in the full House by a 54-46 margin.

House Bill 794 was being sponsored by Rep. Frank Smith, D-Poplar.

The bill sought to move both the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center from Great Falls to Wolf Point.

Reasons for moving the site to Wolf Point stated in the bill included: * Wolf Point has the oldest continually held rodeo in Montana * Wolf Point is home of legend stock contractor Marvin Brookman * Wolf Point is located on the stretch of U.S. Highway 2 that was originally part of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway * Local history reflects traditions of the Indian horsemen, along with some of the largest cattle and horse ranches in Montana * Wolf Point is the birthplace of the renowned Hollywood movie star, trick-rope performer and American cowboy hero Montie Montana.

During the hearing, Smith said, “We had a lot of problems with it and we are requesting it back.” He noted some of the financial challenges that the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame has experienced.

No proponents or opponents of the bill spoke during the hearing.

“It was a way to bring tourists to northeastern Montana,” Smith said to legislators.

He noted that when the hall of fame was moved to Great Falls six years ago that the plan was to put it in the C.M. Russell Museum, but a lack of funds has prevented that project to be conducted.

One legislator noted the state has put $526,000 in the project and that it needs to more closely directed.

“I would like to see a local program with local people and with a good secretary,” Smith said.

Smith worked to have the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame established in Wolf Point during the early 2000s. The program was founded in 2003 and designated by the Montana State Legislature as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Wolf Point was the original site of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. Because of financial struggles, the Cowboy Hall of Fame was moved to Big Timber in 2012 and then to Great Falls in 2018.

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