Bryan Stafford, director of the Big Sky Fencing Association — think swords, not cattle — had one small goal in mind when he approached the Montana Rescue Mission last year.
His fencing club needed a new space to practice and compete, and he knew that MRM owned a huge, almost entirely vacant complex of connected buildings on Minnesota Avenue. His plans grew more expansive after he toured the buildings with Mission Director Perry Roberts.
“I said, this really needs to have something happen here besides fencing,” Stafford said. “It became clear that it was much bigger than that and needed to be used in a much better way.”
The fencing club is now using a portion of the complex that once housed the Granny’s Attic antique mall, and Navigate Church is using another. And those groups have teamed up with MRM to found an organization known as Billings Community Space.
Their goal is to make as much of the space as possible available to nonprofit groups, clubs and micro-businesses, all in hopes of building community and rejuvenating a neglected part of downtown Billings.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:39
A new disc golf course is set to be built in the Heights at Sierra Park in Billings. The project is part of the park’s master plan and is set to be completed early this summer.
This expansion of disc golf has been a continuing trend in Billings, and this new course should alleviate some traffic on the popular Pioneer Park course. Things have gotten heated in the recent past between the Billings City Council and the local disc golf community because of the heavy traffic at Pioneer, and this new course should help to alleviate some of this problem.
Sawyer Bracy, a 25-year-old avid disc golfer from within the community, has been playing the sport for years and has seen this activity grow in the local area. He started playing disc golf because he was looking for something to do after school. Bracy has been a Professional Disk Golf Association member since 2008, and this last year he became the PDGA tournament director for the Billings community.
“There was initially a disk golf club and then leagues,” Bracy said. “I was going to these leagues. It really caught on after that. More leagues, tournaments and festivals.”
The growth in popularity of disc golf is a fairly recent phenomenon in Billings. One of the local leagues met on April 25 at Pioneer Park where 25 people showed up to play. These numbers have grown through the weeks.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:32
If you live in northwest New Mexico, northeast Colorado, Utah or Wyoming, or especially western North Dakota, you’ve probably noticed big changes in your local landscape of late.
There are more roads, more traffic, more dust. There are more flares and bright lights piercing the night sky, and more trucks emblazoned with names like Halliburton. There are more pipelines and pump jacks. These are the things booming oil and gas communities live with so that we might all have cheaper natural gas and energy independence, that coveted and elusive prize.
The dust and traffic and lights aren’t always easy to live with, and sometimes they create tension between local residents and industry. Rarely, however, do we stop to consider what all of this new infrastructure collectively costs us.
How much vegetation is being lost to the boom nationwide, and how much does its loss matter? How fragmented is habitat becoming at a regional or continental scale?
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 15:58
This is the story of the oldest tattoo shop in Montana.
No, wait. This is the story of the two oldest tattoo shops in Montana, whose roots are so intertwined that they both have a fair claim to that title.
One is Eagle Tattoo, at 2323 Belknap Ave., just north of Garden Avenue where Belknap dead-ends at Interstate 90. The other is Tattoo Art, at 16 N. 35th St., just off Division Street a block from Billings Central Catholic High School.
Eagle Tattoo has a sign out front identifying itself as “Montana’s oldest tattoo parlor.” There has indeed been a tattoo shop at that location continuously since 1978, when Gary “Deacon” Raty took up tattooing and opened it as a sideline to his motorcycle and body shop business.
But the place was originally called Tattoo Art, and Deacon’s friend Buzz Bailey was his tattooing partner from the start. When Buzz branched off and opened his own parlor, he took the name with him, and he still calls his business “Montana’s first and finest tattoo parlor.”
We won’t attempt to determine which party has a greater claim to being first. We’ll just tell both their stories.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 May 2015 12:18