Best All Time Montana Moments

The best of Montana Moments: our top six attractions of life in Montana. 
Best All Time Montana Moments
By: George Noga – July 21, 2019

         We reviewed all our Montana Moments blogs, selected the twelve best and ranked them in ascending order. Last week we presented numbers twelve to seven (on our website:; this week we conclude with numbers six to one.

6. Wild West: Echos of the frontier reverberate at Packer’s Roost, an outre biker bar in Hungry Horse, near Whitefish. It is named after convicted cannibal, Alfred Packer, and was Ted (Unabomber) Kaczynski’s haunt while hiding out from the FBI. Vestiges of the old west survive at the Blue Moon Nite Club, just outside Whitefish. A long bar populated two deep by working cowboys, many of whom are wasted, greets those undaunted enough to enter. There is a casino with jangling slots, pool tables, the de rigueur live poker game and rest rooms festooned with avant garde art, if you get my drift. Of course, there is a live country band with dancers attired in full western regalia. The gestalt of all this unfolding at once is an authentic Montana moment.

5. Great Outdoors: It’s hard to imagine a place on our planet better endowed by nature.  There are mountains, rivers and six-mile long Whitefish Lake. Every conceivable outdoor activity for all four seasons is present in spades. The Whitefish ski area is ranked eleventh best in the world (yes – in the world) by Ski Magazine. Each year there are magical days when you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon.

4. Rodeo: Every Thursday in summer there is a rodeo featuring locals; it begins with a moving, not-to-be-missed ceremony honoring US, Canadian and Montana flags. One event is youth bull riding for kids as young as eight. There are precautions: the bulls are young, their horns trimmed and the kids wear helmets. Nonetheless, a 50-pound eight-year old is riding a cantankerous wild 500-pound bull. Teenagers with serious hunting knives strapped to their waists freely mingle with the 2,000 spectators. If that happened at a big city high school football game, there would be panic, SWAT teams would fast rope in, the stadium would be evacuated and all knives confiscated.

3. Derby: I belong to a club with a 60-year tradition called Derby. Every Thursday at noon up to 30 golfers (in 3-man scramble teams) play simultaneously and finish in regulation time. Derby participants are ages 15 to 85, low wage to millionaires, scratch to high handicap, uneducated to Ph.Ds and Americans, Canadians, Native Americans and summer residents like me. Some openly smoke dope while others, who are deputy sheriffs, pretend not to notice. Some players have derby nicknames too ribald to print. The repartee is incessant and priceless. Derby is a bona fide Montana moment.

2. Whitefish: For a town of 6,500, Whitefish offers more than many cities 50 times its size. It is picturesque; many commercials you see are filmed there. It sits at 3,000 feet altitude in a valley, resulting in perfect summer weather and mild winters given its 48 degree latitude. It has a year-round full symphony orchestra, fine dining, live entertainment, non-stop festivals and several top-notch golf courses. It is the western gateway to Glacier National Park and only seven miles from world class skiing.

1. Glacier National Park: GNP is the crown jewel of NW Montana. It is (by far) the best national park of the many we have visited. It is so remote and with so little lodging, it remains relatively uncrowded – although that is changing. Its major artery, Going-to-the-Sun Road, is as spectacular as it is iconic. The only tricontinental divide in the USA, where water flows to 3 oceans (Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic), is in GNP.

More Liberty Less Government  –  –

Twelve Best Montana Moments – Part I

The best of Montana Moments: our top twelve stories about life in Montana. 
Twelve Best Montana Moments – Part I
By: George Noga – July 14, 2019

         We have posted many Montana Moments over the years. Now, we have identified the twelve best, ranking them in ascending order. Herein we present Montana Moments numbers twelve to seven; we conclude next week with numbers six to one.

12. USA Today: During our first summer in Montana 15 years ago, we were unable to find national newspapers like The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. One day we drove by a large general store and my wife went in to see if they carried any of those papers. She asked the perky 16-year old girl who waited on her if they carried USA Today. The teenage girl pondered the question for a few moments and replied: “We don’t consider ourselves part of the USA.” It is easier to find national newspapers in Whitefish these days, but the attitude of the sprightly, high-spirited girl persists.

11. Bulldog Saloon: On Whitefish’s main street sits Bulldog’s, a retro bar, restaurant and poker room. It is packed with locals and Canadians because it accepts Canadian dollars at par for booze – a 30% discount. In the back is a poker table straight from a western movie set where a nightly game of Texas Hold’em takes place. Families with young children patronize Bulldog’s, despite restrooms festooned with “art” that would make a porn star blush. Last year I saw a 12-year old boy taking photos in the restroom with his cell phone. Check out Bulldog’s website:

10. No crying in Montana: I was about to play golf with 3 Montana friends when the starter permitted a group of women to go ahead of us. When challenged by one of our group, the starter replied that one of the women had cried and he felt sorry for her. One of my Montana friends immediately said, “There is no crying in golf.” A split second later, the other two Montanans exclaimed in unison, “There is no crying in Montana.

9. Central Avenue at 2:00 AM: Whitefish’s main street is lined with saloons, many with live music and live poker. In summer, especially on weekends, they are packed. By law, they must close at 2:00 AM. At precisely that time something inenarrable unfolds. Hundreds of well-lubricated young people (along with a certain septuagenarian poker player) simultaneously flood onto Central Avenue. The ensuing fifteen minutes is reminiscent of the Star Wars cafe scene and is an unforgettable Montana Moment.

8. Bear Bell: The club where I golf has a “blind” approach to the 18th green. To signal the group behind that it is safe to hit, upon completing the hole departing players ring a loud bell. When the bell inevitably rings, I act surprised and concerned and tell my out-of-town guests that was the “bear bell”, warning that a grizzly bear is nearby. It works every time and the reactions from my unsuspecting guests are priceless.

7. Gun Culture: When police pull over cars, they expect to find firearms; it is normal. When alarms go off in stores, the explanation is always the same, i.e. the customers are packing and simply forgot to leave their guns in the car. Preteen kids own real guns and get hunting licenses at age eleven. Youth deer hunting season is so popular all Montana schools close. Until a few years ago, it was okay for kids to bring their guns to school. A local PTA raffled an AK-47 “assault” rifle to raise funds. The local community college offers a course in gunsmithing. Despite the ubiquity of guns, the Flathead Valley gun homicide rate is incredibly low – one homicide every four years.

Next week, we present our top six all time Montana Moments.
More Liberty Less Government  –  –

The Last Best Place in America

“For some states I have admiration, even affection, but with Montana it is love.” (Steinbeck)
The Last Best Place in America
By: George Noga – July 7, 2019

           Our first Montana Moments posting was in 2013. We were taken aback by its sudden popularity and we reprised it each summer. After 6 years, we are running out of new material about our summer home in Whitefish, in the Flathead Valley of NW Montana. This post champions Montana as America’s last best place. The next two posts, perhaps the final ones in this series, rank our top twelve Montana Moments.

         Americans have become disconnected from the natural world and the human world and poisoned by political correctness, environmental wackiness and obsessed with safety at all cost. Montana reconnects such people to the real world and to a vanishing civilization where everyone has a different attitude about life and risk. Montana, like a time capsule, whisks visitors back into this mostly forgotten world. In that magical land, where giants once roamed, people live at a pace driven by the beating of their hearts rather then by the pulsation of personal electronic devices.

        In the Treasure State, the cycles of nature are omnipresent. June ushers in a cornucopia of vegetables; in July the Flathead cherries are ripe, followed in August by huckleberries and melons and by peaches in September. The outdoor activities are without equal. In summer there is hiking, fly fishing, golf, rafting, floating, kayaking, mountain biking and every possible water activity. In fall and winter there is hunting, skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and even the Aurora Borealis.

“Like a time capsule, Montana whisks you back to a half-lost world.”

         The human world also is magical. There is a weekly summer rodeo, which includes youth bull riding – beginning at age eight. Guns are a normal part of everyday life; the local PTA once auctioned off an AK-47 for its fundraiser. Youth deer hunting season (starts at age 11) is so popular that all Montana schools close for its two days. Whitefish, with a population of 6,500, has a full time symphony orchestra, live theater, fine dining, cabaret and nonstop festivals. Vestiges of the wild west persist and still continue to exert a powerful influence on Montanans’ culture and attitudes.

            Montana is 750 miles across from North Dakota to Idaho and larger than Japan. There are fewer than 7 people per square mile, making its population density 48th in the US; only Alaska and Wyoming are less dense; it is the same density as America in 1790 and only 8 percent as dense as the USA is today. Montanans are so accustomed to its vastness that anything not on a grand scale seems trivial to them. Even today, most residents think nothing of driving 100 miles to attend a dinner or a dance.

         There are few developed places in our fourth largest state; Billings, its largest city, has but 110,000 people. Everywhere in Montana, within a few minutes drive, one can find a peaceful prairie, quiet meadow, majestic mountaintop or a rippling stream flush with trout, where you can be alone with nature and replenish your soul.

          This is the simple majesty and grandeur – both natural and human – of Montana and what makes it the last best place in America. And even for those who have shuffled off this mortal coil, Montana is the best last place in America.

Next week: MLLG’s top twelve Montana Moments – numbers 12 to 7.
More Liberty Less Government  –  –

Montana Moments – Favorite Stories

Huckleberry Finn got his name because, like huckleberries, he could not be domesticated.
Montana Moments – Favorite Stories
By: George Noga – August 19, 2018

        This post contains some favorite vignettes about life in Whitefish and NW Montana. The natural setting, adjacent to Glacier National Park, is so spectacular that (unbeknownst to viewers) many commercials you see were filmed here. You can go off the grid in nearby Polebridge which has no Wi-Fi, internet or electricity. Ted (Unabomber) Kaczynski did that for many years not too far away. Enjoy!

Bear Bell: The club where I play golf has a “blind” approach to the 18th green. To signal the group behind that it is safe to hit, departing players ring a loud bell as they complete the hole. When the bell inevitably rings, I act surprised and concerned and tell my visiting Florida guests that was the “bear bell“, warning that a grizzly is nearby. It works every time and the reactions from my unsuspecting guests are priceless.

Huckleberries: Hucks grow many places in the US, but are especially prized in NW Montana, which has huckleberry ice cream, pancakes, jam, syrup, martinis, etc. Hucks only grow in the wild and cannot be domesticated despite prodigious efforts to do so; that’s how Huckleberry Finn got his moniker – he was wild and undomesticated. Each season there are huckleberry festivals and the status of the current huck crop is a ubiquitous topic among Montanans. Families have secret huck patches handed down through many generations, the locations of which are jealously guarded secrets.

Poker Talk: I frequently play Texas Hold’em poker at live games which are legal in Montana. During games, which often last many hours, there is much conversation among the players. Once there was a particularly voluptuous lady in her 40s or 50s playing and a male player remarked several times that she looked “awful familiar” and hadn’t they met before. Finally, when the guy asked again for the umpteenth time, the lady averred, “Maybe you’ve seen me before; do you watch much porn?”

Judge Wears Jeans: Even government works better here, as most interactions with  citizens are polite and efficient. This is because Whitefish is such a small place that if any government employees behaved imperiously, word would soon get around and they would be shunned. I once went to city court to contest a speeding ticket. Upon entering, I noted the judge wore blue jeans and cowboy boots under his robe. When my turn came, I pointed out there were no speed limit signs posted on the road where I was ticketed. He conferred briefly with his clerk and promptly invalidated my ticket.

Great Northern Cabaret: Every Sunday at 9:00 PM there is live cabaret with a new show each month written and produced in Whitefish to incorporate local humor. For example, nearby Butte is the butt of jokes – much like Bithlo is for Central Florida. If you are somewhat priggish, this is not for you. By the way, a Scotch costs only $2.75.

Private/Public Partnerships: The 36-hole golf club where I play is governed by a board composed of half public and half private members because originally one course was public and one private before they merged. Whitefish also has “The Wave“, a massive indoor aquatic and fitness facility with pools, lockers, food court and myriad daily activities for all ages. During long winter months, it is so popular (and affordable) that some days 25% of the town’s population goes there. The golf club and The Wave both are well-run, first-rate facilities. Private/public partnerships seem to work in Montana.

Next on August 26th we discuss Mokita – truths that no one will discuss.

Montana Moments – Vestiges of the Wild West

Vestiges of the wild west – Packer’s Roost, Blue Moon and the Bulldog Saloon
Montana Moments – Vestiges of the Wild West
By: George Noga – September 13, 2017
       Vestiges of the frontier and the wild west persist in Montana. Hungry Horse (pop 826) 15 miles east of Whitefish is one. In the severe winter of 1900 two draft horses, Tex and Jerry, got lost. They were found a month later in chest high snow and survived; hence, the town’s name. John Steinbeck stayed there while writing his highly acclaimed book: Travels with Charley: In search of America. Steinbeck wrote, “For other states I have admiration and even some affection; but with Montana it is love.
       Packer’s Roost is an outre biker bar in Hungry Horse, rumored to be named after convicted cannibal Alfred Packer. It is notable mainly for its former patron Ted Kaczynski a/k/a/ the Unibomber. This was his haunt while evading the FBI. It is unchanged from Kaczynski’s days and remains intimidating given the swarm of bikers milling around. It is no place for snowflakes, cupcakes or mollycoddles.
       Just a few miles east of Whitefish is the Blue Moon Nite Club, a local fixture since 1940. We drove past it for years but were too apprehensive to venture inside. Finally, one Saturday night we took the plunge. I found a safe, well lit parking place and asked my wife to remain locked in the car while I made a foray inside. What I found was hard to imagine outside of Montana. We now are Blue Moon habitues and make it a point to take all our house guests there for an authentic Montana experience.
      Saturday night at the Blue Moon is well outside most peoples’ experiential grasp. It has a live country and western band and spacious dance floor. People of all ages and backgrounds dance and enjoy the music. Nearly everyone is local and most are decked out in full western regalia. There are many accomplished dancers; however, everyone is comfortable participating – even a few old folks visiting from Florida.
      Adjoining the dance floor is a long bar populated by working cowboys straight from the ranch quaffing Kokanee, the local brew. Although some appear wasted, they are unerringly polite. There is a casino with numerous jangling slot machines, the de rigueur live poker game and, of course, pool tables. The rest rooms contain avant-garde art, if you follow my drift. Prices are ridiculously low; beer is $1.50 and good scotch $7.00.  The gestalt of all this unfolding simultaneously is something to behold.
       On Central Avenue, Whitefish’s main street, sits the Bulldog Saloon. Bulldog’s is a bar cum restaurant cum poker room. It is packed with locals and also with visiting Canadians because it accepts Canadian dollars at par for alcohol. In the back is a poker area straight out of a western movie set – and a place I frequent. Montana has no-limit Texas hold’em poker, with the games usually in saloons. Families patronize Bulldog’s despite restrooms plastered with “art” that would make a porn star blush. Only last year did they post warnings for kids. Bulldog’s website is
     Something inenarrable unfolds on summer weekends precisely at 2:00 AM when bars and poker games close. Hundreds of well lubricated young people flood unto Central Avenue and the ensuing 15 minutes is a truly unforgettable Montana moment!

Montana Moments – No Crying in Montana

The local PTA raised money by raffling an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle
and, but of course, the local community college offers courses in gunsmithing.
Montana Moments – No Crying in Montana
By: George Noga – August 27, 2017
     The first thing that hits you about Montana, other than the ubiquitous Rand Paul signs, is its size. When we first began summering in Whitefish, I mentioned to a friend, who had a ranch 100 miles east of Billings, that perhaps we could visit some weekend. He said, “George, that’s a 600 mile drive.” I made the same mistake visiting Europeans make, i.e. misunderstanding the scale. When looking at a map, Europeans believe they can drive from Whitefish to Chicago in one day; it really is 1,600 miles distant.
     A few years ago Montana’s population surpassed one million for the first time. Instead of  happiness and gratification, the news was greeted throughout the state with unalloyed dismay, bewilderment and consternation. Until recently, it was tough to find a national newspaper in Whitefish. We once stopped at a large general store to inquire if they carried USA Today. The perky 16 year old young lady who waited on us instantly replied, “We do not consider ourselves to be part of the USA.”
     Once I was beginning a round of golf along with three native Montana friends when the starter permitted a group of women to go ahead of us even though it was our turn. When questioned about his louche behavior by one of our group, the starter replied that one of the women had cried and he felt sorry for her. One of my Montana friends said, “There is no crying in golf“. The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the other two Montanans exclaimed in unison, “There is no crying in Montana“!
      In nearby Kalispell there are big box stores with alarms that go off when customers fail to remove anti-shoplifting tags. The alarms go off constantly and the explanation always is the same. The customers are packing heat and they forgot to leave their guns in the car. Despite the ubiquity of guns, the gun homicide rate in the Flathead Valley is less than one every four years. When police make a traffic stop, they expect to see a gun inside the car; it is no big deal. The local PTA recently raised money by raffling an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. You read that right; the school raised money auctioning an assault rifle. Of course, the local community college offers a course in gunsmithing.
    A local man whose daughter was murdered (by a former boyfriend) with a gun blames the killer, not the gun. He remarked, “Having a gun is pretty much just a normal thing.” He went on to say that his daughter had her own .270 hunting rifle and that she recently got two bucks and mounted them herself. This leads to something my son (who moved to Whitefish four years ago) often says, “The girls here all know how to skin a deer, but they don’t know which fork to use.” That may not be all bad.
    Eastern Montana is part of the great plains where large farms proliferate. People there vote Democrat due to a populist tradition and huge agricultural subsidies. The mountainous western part of the state is conservative except for a liberal enclave in Missoula – home to the University of Montana. Locals are fond of saying that the best part of living in Missoula is that it is only ten minutes away from Montana.

Montana Moments – Guns and Rodeos

In blue-state America, 8 year olds ride bicycles and toy guns are banned.
In Montana, at the same age, kids ride bulls in rodeos and own real guns.
Montana Moments – Guns and Rodeos
By: George Noga – August 20, 2017
     I once observed a boy riding a tricycle in his front yard with both parents hovering nearby. Even though his head was near the ground and it is hard to fall off a trike, he wore a huge helmet. I instantly knew I was not in Montana where a young boy wearing a helmet means he may be riding a bull; yes, a real wild bull – and that’s no bull.
      Every Thursday during summer there is a rodeo in a small town (population 5,000) near Whitefish. Admission is $10 and often 2,000 people (40% of the town) attend. Rodeo participants are mostly locals. The opening ceremony promptly at 7:00 PM is moving. Riders full gallop into the arena with American, Canadian and Montana flags. They make a few loops and then come to rest for the playing of our national anthem. Instantly, the arena becomes eerily quiet as everyone stands, removes hats, holds them over their hearts and sings along. The simple ceremony imparts a warm feeling.
     There are many events during the 2-hour rodeo, one is youth bull riding. Kids can compete beginning on their eighth birthday. We once were seated next to a woman who averred she was a bit nervous because her son just turned 8 and was riding a bull for the first time. There are precautions: the bulls are young; their horns are trimmed back; and the boys wear helmets. Nevertheless, the 500 pound bulls are undomesticated.
      Many preteens and teens attend rodeo. It is not uncommon to see these kids with six-inch hunting knives strapped to their waists and freely mingling with the crowd. If kids turned up at a blue-state junior high football game wearing similar knives, panic would set in; SWAT teams would fast rope in; and the stadium would be evacuated. It would lead the local news and there would be a movement to ban knives in public.
      In blue-state America toy guns are banned. In Montana, toy guns are unnecessary because kids get real guns and not BB or pellet guns. Often by age eight they are on their second rifle. An 11-year-old can get a Montana hunting license and the first one is free. Montana has hunting seasons set aside strictly for youths ages 11-15. Youth deer hunting season always is the Thursday and Friday in October immediately prior to regular deer hunting season. So many kids go hunting that Montana has been forced to close all schools statewide during the two days of youth deer hunting season.
     Infantilization of children is child abuse. It hobbles their emotional development; they experience academic problems; and they have poor social skills. They are averse to responsibility and often fail as adults. The goal of progressives is to infantilize not just children but all Americans. They want a nanny state with government as the nanny and all of us as children. It is comforting to know there still are places like Montana where decisions about children are made by parents and not by the state!

Next: watch for our special MLLG mid-week posting about sanctuary cities.

Montana Moments – Whitefish

Montana Moments – Observations about life in Whitefish and Montana
Montana Moments – Whitefish
By: George Noga – August 6, 2017
        I always am surprised by the ardent reader reaction whenever I write about life in the Flathead Valley of NW Montana. This reminds me of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who in 1930 moved to Cross Creek, Florida – not far from my home outside Orlando. Rawlings aspired to write Edwardian novels but her letters describing life in rural Florida won her acclaim and led to The Yearling, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize. I entertain no such Pulitzer pretensions; but after writing thousands of pages of pithy analysis and commentary, it is Montana Moments that endears itself to my readers.
       I’ll share more Montana Moments with you during this, our twelfth summer here. I begin with what makes Whitefish such a special place. It is the western gateway to Glacier National Park (“GNP”), the best such park in the USA. NW Montana is remote with little lodging capacity; hence, the park is not a mob scene even during summers. The range of activities in GNP is mind boggling. It contains the only US tri-continental divide, where waters flow into three oceans – Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. Its main artery, Going-to-the-Sun Road, has to be one of America’s most stunning drives.
     While GNP is 30 miles east of Whitefish, Big Mountain ski basin lies but 7 miles north. Ski Magazine has rated it the eleventh best ski resort in the world – yes, the world. Due again to limited lodging capacity, the slopes are uncrowded, lift lines unknown and the cost a fraction of other top resorts. During summers Big Mountain is alive with mountain biking, hiking, zip lines and huckleberry picking. Whitefish Lake, a pristine 7 mile long glaciated lake, is right in town and offers all water activities. Just 30 miles south lies Flathead Lake, the largest lake west of the Mississippi.
    Whitefish is at 3,000 feet altitude, making it cool in summer but without the difficulties associated with high elevations. Summers are arid with temperatures most days hovering in the 70s and 80s. There are 3 scenic rivers nearby, the north, middle and south forks of the Flathead River. The plethora of year-round activities is breathtaking; every conceivable outdoor sport or activity is readily available.
       Segueing from the natural to the man-made environment, Whitefish’s population is 6,400 souls and it has the look and feel of middle America decades ago. Despite its low population, it has a year-round full symphony orchestra. Its theatre and entertainment would be excellent for a town 25 times bigger. It is endowed with abundant fine dining. There are non-stop events and festivals to tempt locals and visitors alike. Within a short drive there are several excellent golf courses, including the best course in Montana. There are times it is possible to golf and ski during the same day.
      Even with its veritable cornucopia of attractions, Whitefish remains welcoming to visitors, although it took me awhile to understand “drunken Canadian” was not all one word. It is surprisingly affordable. Last year a group of us went to a local watering hole for drinks; the tab for 27 drinks was $33. Even at happy hour prices, that is incredible. For some balance, I tried to find something negative to write. All I could come up with is the occasional forest fire that wafts smoke into town, sometimes for weeks.

Derby: A Unique Montana Tradition

Derby is special because of the eclectic group of participants. Some players openly smoke dope, while other participants are deputy sheriffs who pretend not to notice.

By: George Noga – July 25, 2016

    During summer I lighten up my blog with anecdotes about my summer home in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is sited in the Flathead Valley of NW Montana only 50 miles south of Canada and 100 miles east of the upper panhandle of Idaho. I belong to the Whitefish Lake Golf Club that has a half-century tradition called Derby, which is open to anyone; I have been playing Derby for the past seven or eight summers.

    Each Thursday at high noon, anywhere from 15 to 27 golfers are divided into three man scramble teams made as equal as possible by the commissioner, the member in charge of Derby. The commissioner is chosen to maintain the Derby tradition and serves for life. The teams compete with only modest stakes of one dollar per person per hole. This could happen at almost any golf club in the USA, you may be thinking.

    Your thinking would be wrong; Derby is unique. For starters, all 15 to 27 golfers play as one group and manage to play 18 holes in about 4.5 hours – an average time for the course. Usually three people hit simultaneously; it is a miracle no one has been injured. Imagine the scene with 27 golfers and 15 golf carts barrelling down a fairway toward an unsuspecting foursome of visiting Canadians. Note: I spent several summers playing in Derby before I learned  that drunken Canadian was two words.

    What makes Derby special is the eclectic combination of participants. Players range in age from 18 to over 80. Some earn minimum wage; others are multi millionaires. Some are scratch golfers; others are high handicappers. Some lack higher education; others are professionals with doctorate degrees. There are Americans, Canadians and Native Americans. Many are Montanans; others like me hail from throughout the USA.

    Some players openly smoke dope while other participants are deputy sheriffs who pretend not to notice. Other players imbibe liberally from adult beverages in ubiquitous coolers in many golf carts. Some do both. There is a cohort of Mormon participants that conveniently ignores strictures against drinking and gambling. Some players have Derby nicknames too ribald to include herein. The repartee is incessant and priceless.

    Everyone clearly revels in the camaraderie despite what, on the surface, appear to be wide chasms among the various cohorts: young and old, rich and poor, accomplished golfers and duffers, dishwashers and attorneys, dropouts and PhDs, potheads and law enforcement officers and Mormons coexisting with gambling, drugs and alcohol.

    Two factors combine to make Derby an enduring tradition: (1) shared love of golf; and (2) Montana. Derby probably wouldn’t work outside Montana as there clearly is something very special in the air up here. If you golf and visit NW Montana, consider playing in Derby; you will understand why there is nothing quite like it anywhere.

    But if you should visit the Treasure State, please don’t stay too long; Montanans are fond of their bumper stickers reading: Welcome to Montana – Now Go Home. Recently, the population of Montana surpassed one million for the first time and the news was greeted universally throughout the state with great sorrow, gloom and melancholy.

The next MLLG post from Montana will be distributed in about a week.

The Infantilization of America

It is illegal to blow up a balloon before age 14 in certain blue states; meanwhile in Montana, kids 8 years old routinely ride bulls in rodeos; if  these kids were to move from Montana to Illinois, they must wait 6 more years to legally inflate a balloon.

By: George Noga – July14, 2016

     A nanny state is being imposed by progressives who believe they know better what is good for us; they began by infantilizing children but are bent on infantilizing all Americans. Age 16 has become the new age 10. Following is a small sample of nanny state regulations promulgated by the federal government and by certain blue states.

  • Amtrak will not accept unaccompanied minors under 13. Ages 13-15 can travel alone only by complying with rigorous preconditions. In effect, no one under 16 can travel alone. In Japan, 8 year olds frequently travel unaccompanied.
  • Children under 14 cannot be left at home without babysitters or legally blow up a balloon in some blue states.
  • OSHA bans see-saws, monkey bars and merry-go-rounds in playgrounds; all tree limbs lower than 8 feet above ground must be sawed off to prevent climbing.
  • Children are not allowed to walk to school in some places. One mother was charged with neglect when her children walked after missing the bus. Another mom was arrested for allowing her 9 year old to walk 1/4 mile to a McDonald’s.

   These strictures do not constitute mere advice or suggestions on the part of government nor are they attempts to reason or to persuade. They bear the full force of law. Miscreants and scofflaws are subject to the government’s monopoly on the legalized use of force. SWAT teams can and do take children from parents and subject them to the full panoply of horrors common to state agencies.

   Amidst all this infantilizing, it is comforting to know parts of the real America still exist. One such place is our summer home of Montana. During summers there is a weekly rodeo near the small town where we stay and a regular event is youth bull riding. Kids as young as 8 ride bulls; to be sure, the bulls are young with their horns cut back and the kids wear helmets. Still, the 500 pound bulls are undomesticated.

     At the same rodeo it is common to see teenagers with serious hunting knives (think: Crocodile Dundee) strapped openly to their waists. Imagine the same sight at a blue state junior high school football game. Within an instant panic would set in; heavily armed SWAT teams would fast rope in; and the stadium would be evacuated.

     In Montana a youth can get a hunting license at age 11 – and the first one is free. Youth deer hunting season is the Thursday and Friday preceding the opening of regular hunting season in October. So many youths go hunting that all schools in Montana have been forced to close during the two days of youth hunting season.

    Infantilization of children is child abuse. Emotional development of victims is hobbled; they are at increased risk of self harm; and they have academic problems and poor social skills. They are averse to responsibility and often fail as adults. Children are but the first victims; it is the aim of progressives to infantilize all Americans and to turn America into a nanny state with government as the nanny and all of us as children. As with all liberal doctrines promising benefits, the end result always is grave harm.

      I’m not sure I would want my eight year old to ride a bull or my eleven year old to go deer hunting. I am absolutely certain however that I prefer to live in a place like Montana that leaves such decisions up to parents rather than to the state.

The next post in about 10 days describes a zany Montana golf tradition – Derby!