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New Book!

Purchase our new fishing book by Linda Lou Crosby and Laura Dobbins on Amazon
or at fishinlines.com.
Two Gals in Search of a Great Catch Book cover

Our Readers Write

Comments on the October 8, 2017 Camp IOU newsletter.

“The roping was the Wrangler National Team Roping Finals. I have roped at the finals two other times, but have never had any luck. This is the largest payout I have received for an event. The horse I rode is a 9 year old mare that I bought about 2 months ago. She does everything right so it makes my part easy. Team roping is a sport that allows you to get away from the grind of the work week or day. You have to be focused and in the moment, much like golf. It’s also one of the few hobbies that will actually pay for itself if your lucky.” – Travis Nye

Re: Afternoon Tea at the Jersey Lilly 2016
Very many thanks for sharing this review – together with photos – of an astounding tea party. I was deeply impressed with the staging of the event and the trouble to which the ladies had gone to make it so special.

In Victorian and Edwardian times, the milliners of London created the most fabulous hats for ladies. Actresses led the fashions and not just the wealthy appearing in the Royal Enclosure at the Ascot Races.

I noted the beautiful tea services being used and the decorum of the event. Most impressive coming from our cousins over the pond!!!! At least some people appreciate the living standards and life style of a bygone age.

Please let the sentiments and admiration of a Brit be known to those who organised and attended this splendid function.
Warm regards as always.
Keith Shipman
Saarlouis – Nalbach
[Ed.: Read the full story about the afternoon tea here]

“My great uncle was Vern Thomason from Jordan area; since he also raised sheep we assume he may have taken the wool to Ingomar for shipping. We had some contact with him long ago, before he died; and we were able to go out to the old ranch with permission from the current owner (about forty years ago now). He told a story to my youngest brother, about a man who murdered someone in the area; and the law was going to be some days away at that time…Read more

LINDA LOU: Although Owen Badgett does not do email we got Peggy’s story to him by phone. And we will ask around for more information about the sheepherders that frequented Ingomar, and share with readers. Thanks Peggy!

“I knew Owen years ago when I lived in Miles City. I still have a poetry book that he autographed for me. Its in a box but I still have it! Owen used to come down to the Hole In The Wall where a bunch of us girls worked and he would come down and say hey and hang out for a bit.:) I hope he had a good turn-out at the Museum last night.” – Stephani S-C.

Christmas Poem 2019

Linda Lou Crosby Christmas poem art 2019

Christmas graphic, Andy Atkins
Audio editor, Dee Finning, Virgin Moon
Script and Narration, Linda Lou Crosby

Click the audio to listen now.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Ingomar 2019

When Santa “drops” in to Ingomar MT
and Ridge and Rayna Save the Day

© Linda Lou Crosby Nov 2019


‘Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the town

The adults were sacked out, while the kids snuck around

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there


Owen in his flannels, and Morris in his cap

Had just settled down for a LONG winter’s nap

Ridge and Rayna – the youngsters

Were slinking around

When all of a sudden, there was a large crashing sound!


And what to their wondering eyes should appear,

But a present-stuffed sleigh and eight wide-eyed reindeer.

There was a red-faced stout gentleman, not too lively; not so quick

Ridge and Rayna got worried – It was probably St. Nick.

His eyes lost their twinkle, but his cheeks looked pretty merry

And when he laughed at himself, he shook just like jelly.


Santa quit laughing as he saw the gifts tossed around

Where the heck had he landed? Where was Ingomar town?

His reindeer were scattered, a lot like the toys

There would be happiness missing for girls and for boys.

As Santa pondered his fate, wondering just what to do

Ridge and Rayna appeared saying “Santa we will help you!”


Ridge and Rayna snuck out and tried to wake Owen

They’d need a crowbar to wake him. This could be tough goin’.

“I think we get Mowiss cause he knows what to do.”

And Rayna headed to find Morris’, while Ridge went there too.

They bonked Morris awake, and he sat up quite startled.

They told him their tale.

And he said “Let’s get started!”


They rushed back to Santa and gathered the herd.

The reindeer were harnessed without even a word.

Morris stepped up his pace and worked pretty fast,

Rayna and Ridge knew that pace wouldn’t last.


They helped Morris gather gifts; they helped with the sled,

And Santa soon realized, he had nothing to dread.

Santa’s left arm was sore, so he needed help with the trip.

It would be a long night, and they couldn’t chance a slip.

They looked over at Morris, asleep on his feet

Who would help Santa?  The kids didn’t miss a beat.


Rayna gathered the lines, like she’d seen Morris do.

Ridge made himself ready to back up their crew.

Santa gave directions as they circled the globe,

And Ridge tossed out presents, while Rayna kept control.

Rayna and Ridge giggled a lot, they were having a blast and their help hit the spot. They were home in a Jiffy at the very break of dawn

Alice and Donald John never knew they were gone.


They handed lines off to Santa, who felt pretty great

They had delivered the gifts, and not one was late.

Santa’s arm felt terrific, and it was bedtime for his crew.

Morris still stood up sleeping, but those kids knew what to do.

They sleep walked Morris home, and hugged him quite tight

And Santa was ready to take off in flight.


They heard Santa exclaim as he flew out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!”


– The End –




Ingomar Open Rodeo 2019 Wow

Ingomar Open Rodeo – Wow!

Story: Linda Lou Crosby, llneon90@gmail.com
Photos: Pam Benson, Linda Lou Crosby
From the time the first kid rounded a barrel to the final bull ride, the 2019 Ingomar Open Rodeo on Saturday July 27, was a wild and wonderful experience.  It was good old family fun – and mighty good times. Grace Poehler came all the way from Morehead, Minnesota for her first time in Ingomar, and first time ever at a rodeo. “I have never been to a rodeo in my life,” said Poehler, “And this was great! I live 30 minutes from a town that holds a rodeo every year, and I am definitely going to the next one when I go home.”  After Poehler had seen bronc riders, bull riders and the rough stock flaunting their best, she added, “And I am definitely not cut out to actually do this!”

“It was great seeing all the families, old friends and new folks in the crowd here,” added Ingomar Rodeo Club Director Donald John Cameron. “The participants, our announcer Deb Greenough, our many volunteers and sponsors – well, without them we just wouldn’t have a rodeo.” And what a rodeo was had.

Bareback entry Austin Quinlan, the first bronc rider of the day, bucked out of the chute accompanied by a huge burst of pink powder, which he said signified what his cousin’s new baby would be – a girl (a boy would have been blue). Quinlan then proceeded to deliver an inspired “buckaroo ballet” for the crowd. 

“We had record entries for the last 20 years,” added Rodeo Club secretary Alice Cameron. “ There were over 20 bronc riders (Saddle bronc, ranch rodeo bronc, bareback bronc), 15 Bull Riders (Combined open and kids), 18 Lady Barrel Racers, 55 Team Roping teams (Combined open and mixed), and of course Ladies Breakaway ropers and pole benders, calf ropers, and then of course the Buckaroo Bounce.”  The Buckaroo Bounce is an Ingomar special event that has bouncers (of all ages) grab colorful balls and bounce their way from the crows’ nest to the finish line in front of the crowd. There were three heats of 6 bouncers, and Turk Greenough won the final go round. Being the gentleman he is, he shared the $100 prize money with the other two young girls that competed in the final round.

Ingomar Rodeo Club members (7 at last count) do it all, from set up to clean up. Rodeo Club president Howard Newman and his wife Johnna Newman introduced His and Hers outhouses a couple years ago….and as you might imagine, they need to be emptied…. Nuff said….although, at times, Johnna (who runs the beer booth and honchoed gathering sponsor banners around the arena) has offered a few choice words.

The cook shack fed folks all day with terrific burgers and Polish hot dogs, and the Jersey Lilly offered their famous barbecue and a street dance to complete the day.

As dawn broke on Sunday morning, many outfits, and people in their bedrolls woke to the smells of Alice Cameron, Emily Olson (cook shack honcho) and Kim Erikson cooking breakfast for hungry overnighters. You can find out who won each event on our Ingomar Rodeo Club Facebook page.

“There were so many great events,” added Ingomar resident Hart Broesel, “The rodeo just delivered every minute.”  And the next event the rodeo club is delivering is the “anything can happen and it usually does” Ingomar Ranch Rodeo on Labor Day weekend…events will be Ladies and Kids teams on Saturday, and Open teams Sunday – the winning open team gains entry into the Eastern Montana Ranch Rodeo Finals in September and the Nile in October. “It’s always a hoot,” added Broesel. Don’t miss it!  Follow us on Facebook.

“Cowboy Tales”: A Western Treat at the Jersey Lilly

“Cowboy Tales”: A Western Treat at the Jersey Lilly

From the chuck wagon dinner (roast beef, baked potatoes, homemade apple sauce and pumpkin bars), to a homespun atmosphere, to the most wonderful western entertainment, the 2018 Jersey Lilly “Cowboy Tales” event was top notch. Members of the audience hailed from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee, Kalispell, Jordan, and Baker, MT to closer in from places like Forsyth, home town of Deb Anderson, “We had a great time last night, food was great, music was great……so worth the drive “

Vince Royer aka Uncle Vinny with Linda Lou Crosby (center) and Alice Cameron (right)

Vince Royer (l), Linda Lou Crosby(c), Alice Cameron(r), and Boots’ campfire.

It was definitely a full evening of events. After great grub, June Nygren (co-owner of the Jersey Lilly with Boots Kope) sent the crowd out, while a select few set up the campfire (which Boots had created) and chairs in a horseshoe shape for the audience to gather round the entertainers.







Sandy Matheny Fennessy sings Campfire Waltz

Sandy Matheny Fennessy

The melodious Sandy Matheny Fennessy, from Whitefish, MT, drew the guests in with a beautiful rendition of “The Campfire Waltz”, followed by a song she wrote about Ingomar and the Jersey Lilly, “Two Old Cowboys and Three Guitars”. Sandy sings with a band called “Cowboy Country and the Gold Dust Girls” and if you find out they are coming to your town – go see them!






Uncle Vinny Royer

Uncle Vinny Royer

Sandy introduced Vince “Uncle Vinny” Royer who put everybody on the edge of their seats with his rendition of Lloyd M. Gerber’s cowboy poem, “It’s a matter of Taste” …..if you weren’t there and look that poem up, you will see why whenever Uncle Vinny started to speak for the rest of the evening….everybody was listening and laughing. Bertha Gadabout – the Ingomar K.MU.K. news reporter brought a lot of levity to the gathering as she shared some news stories about goings on about town. Stories like ”The Late Ball Playing Raccoon”, “Arlin Sanders’ Shocking Behavior”, and “The Confrontation at the Dump”….as Bertha puts it, “You just can’t make this stuff up!”


Western singer Almeda Bradshaw

Almeda Bradshaw

For this year’s “Cowboy Tales”, straight from performing during the NILE, singer-songwriter Almeda Bradshaw shared her program, offered through Humanities Montana, “Into the Sunset: The Forgotten Cowgirl Singers”. As Bradshaw explains, “Dale Evan’s success as Queen of the West is owed to a century of cowgirls in show business. From Mary Ann Whittaker’s horseback exhibitions in the 1850s, to the Wild West Shows and vaudeville acts of the early 1900s, to the pioneer radio and recording artists of the 1920s, forgotten women entertainers wore buckskins and boots while yodeling their way into America’s heart.” And Almeda wowed the crowd with wonderful songs from these entertainers, and added some of her other repertoire as well. Bradshaw is not only a grand singer-songwriter, but a terrific musician. Bradshaw had the evening’s guests traveling back in time to the old west, helping her yodel, and pretty much being mesmerized by the talent she brought to the evening. Bradshaw led the audience and the cast (except for Bertha Gadabout who retreated to a corner and wrote news stories) in singing, “Happy Trails” at the close of the show.

Then Marsha Kuykendall (lucky lady) and Glen Simenson (lucky guy) won special door prizes. When all was said and done, it was just a darned great evening. According to Ingomar Postmaster LaDawna Eriksen, “For a fun filled night, the Jersey Lilly ‘s Cowboy Tales was the way to go!  The food, songs, and stories were something we will never forget.  The campfire that Boots put together was just awesome! Sandy, Almeda, Uncle Vinnie, and Bertha Gadabout were very entertaining. We are already looking forward to next year!!! “By the way,” LaDawna added,” the Jersey Lilly tea is in early June right? Don’t want to miss that either…….”

Cowboy Tales 2018 at the Jersey Lilly poster



Cowboy Tales 2018

Saturday October 27th, the Jersey Lilly in Ingomar, MT, presents “Cowboy Tales.”

Cowboy Tales 2018 at the Jersey Lilly poster

It’s a western music and cowboy yarn-spinning event, with great grub, great talent and good old-fashioned western entertainment. This year’s event features an extraordinary talent, singer-songwriter Almeda Bradshaw. Among many honors, Bradshaw was recently recognized by the Academy of Western Artists with a nomination for the 2018 Western Music Female Entertainer, and was the 2016 Cowboy Idol Winner – at the Columbia River Cowboy Gathering, Kennewick, WA. Bradshaw is a consummate western entertainer. Her music is spell binding and her stories deliver you directly to the old west.

For this year’s “Cowboy Tales”, Bradshaw brings her program, offered through Montana Conversations; Community Programs by Humanities Montana, “Into the Sunset: The Forgotten Cowgirl Singers” to Ingomar.  As Bradshaw explains,  “Dale Evan’s success as Queen of the West is owed to a century of cowgirls in show business. From Mary Ann Whittaker’s horseback exhibitions in the 1850s, to the Wild West Shows and vaudeville acts of the early 1900s, to the pioneer radio and recording artists of the 1920s, meet the forgotten women entertainers who wore buckskins and boots while yodeling their way into America’s heart.”

Western yarn spinner Vincent Royer, raised in Eastern Montana, also joins the show. Royer, aka Uncle Vinny, a writer, an educator, and a tall tale enthusiast will be sharing yarns, like the time he visited  “Ole Mad Jacks and encountered that Darned Ole Dog”. Always colorful, slightly irreverent, and pretty much hilarious, Uncle Vinny is anything but predictable. You’ll have to see him to appreciate how far he might go out on a limb, taking audiences right down that rosy path.

Add to this amazing evening, Sandy Matheny Fennessy, melodious western singer/songwriter and guitarist from Whitefish, MT (Cowboy Country and the Gold Dust Girls band), and you have the perfect entertainment mix. Sandy performs her blend of country and folk influenced by her Scottish and Irish background, peppered with a dash of German heritage. Mix that with the sparkle of her personality, her eastern Montana connections, and her savvy down home delivery, this will be a performance you don’t want to miss!

And then there’s the NEWS from KMUK ,  “The Muck”, the local Ingomar Radio station. A KMUK reporter, who changes her name to protect the innocent (her), will be reporting about goings on in and around Ingomar.  With stories like “The Late Ball Playing Racoon”, “The Confrontation at the Dump”, and  “Arlin Sanders’ Shocking Behavior”, the audience will be amazed and amused. “You can’t make that stuff up!” added our intrepid reporter.

Join us for “Cowboy Tales”, Sat. October 27th, at the Jersey Lilly in Ingomar. Doors open at 5:30PM for dinner and the show. Tickets are $25.00 ea. Call 406-358-2278 for reservations (which are recommended) and more information. See ya there! Photos Almeda Bradshaw, Sandy Matheny Fennessy, Vincent “Uncle Vinny” Royer. Photos courtesy of performers.

2018 Jersey Lilly Old-Fashioned Tea

Lovely ladies who attended the 5th Annual Old-Fashioned Tea at the Jersey Lilly, Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Lovely ladies who attended the 5th Annual Old-Fashioned Tea at the Jersey Lilly, Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Jersey Lilly Old Fashioned Tea a “FANtastic Success!” 

Fans fluttered and lovely feathered hats floated in as ladies and younger ones from Miles City, Whitefish, Forsyth, Hysham, Custer, Rosebud, Melstone and Ingomar arrived at the fifth annual Lilly Langtry Old Fashioned Ladies Tea at the Jersey Lilly in Ingomar, Montana. Then, of course, there were the motorcycles. Four ladies on their ‘bikes’ pretty much roared in, and calmly took their place at the hitching post across from the Jersey. They unpacked their feathered hats, grabbed their fans supplied by none other than Ingomar’s post-mistress LaDawna Erikson, and took their place at the daintily decorated tables ready for a spot of tea.
It was a grand event. Jersey Lilly co-owner June Nygren had once again outdone herself with tasty treats, an assortment of teas, a pitcher of lemonade, lovely settings and a welcoming atmosphere that encouraged all to enjoy themselves for a fashionable afternoon reminiscent of high tea in the old west. It was certainly an eclectic group of tea-goers. The youngest was a nine-month old boy, Corben Koerper, accompanied by his mother, Salina from Rosebud. Other youngsters included Rylee (8 yrs) and Colt (5 yrs) Ogren, accompanied by their caretaker Tanya from Hysham/Custer. And, of course, Maggie Propp (8 yrs).
June shared some history of Lilly Langtry and Judge Roy Bean, and gave a copy of the story to each guest. Amorette Allison, who enjoyed a run away victory in the best fan contest with her peacock feather fan, is a historian from Miles City. Amorette engaged tea party guests with the proper way to signal one’s intentions with a fan. Guests were trying out the various techniques of fan etiquette as she read the list. It got a bit wild for a moment, especially at the motorcycle table.
Lori Tyner rode her Harley Sportster from Miles City, with her feather-bedecked hat safely in her saddlebags. Who were these gals? And how did they learn about the tea? Apparently LaDawna also rides a motorcycle (although not that day). She was in Harlem when she got a text from her friends looking for a fun place to ride on Sunday. “I just told them about the tea,” said LaDawna, who already had her red, white and blue fan, “and they were in. I’m riding my motorcycle to the tea next year,” she added. LaDawna realized they (which included her friend Cori Goddard who followed the motorcycles in her car) needed fans. So she zipped over to Havre and got a bunch of different fans at the Dollar Store. When asked what our motorcycle riders called themselves, “The Outcasts” (OuTKasTs and friends) was the reply, followed by gales of laughter.
Young Rylee Ogren decorated her own purple hat. “I like to add something new to my hat every year”, said the tea going veteran. Rylee also scored one of the grand prizes, a fabulous basket.
“I want to be sure every young person that comes to the tea goes away with a prize,” said June. And each one did, not to mention just about everybody else. June also shared that this event was the most time consuming one to prepare for of all she does at the Jersey Lilly. June also offered a special raffle for a gorgeous doll her grandmother had made for her. And already was thinking about next year. “I will begin planning right away for next year,” added June. LaDawna was already thinking of some fun things to donate to June for gifts next year. “This is my first Jersey Lilly tea,” said LaDawna, “It is so much fun. The food is so good. I am not going to miss one of them!”
Camaraderie continued throughout the event as tea guests shared tea stories from the past. Connie Brown in her fabulous feathered hat and fringed dress was tossing out ideas for next year’s features. Connie has been to just about every tea. “You could have shawls,” said Connie. And ladies chimed in with other thoughts as they departed the Jersey for an outside photo. It was fun. It was special. It was magical. The Jersey Lilly’s Lilly Langtry Old Fashioned Ladies Tea will live on in the hearts of those who attended until next year.

Ingomar Open Rodeo July 28 2018

The Buckaroo Bounce
11:00AM July 28th at the Ingomar Open Rodeo
Open to Youth Organizations

Prizes: A cash prize of $100.00 will be awarded to the winning Youth Organization… AND a Buckaroo Bounce trophy.

The event:

  • A competitive relay on big bouncing balls – resembling or not resembling horses – across a designated area in the Ingomar Rodeo Arena Saturday, July 28th, beginning at 11:00AM.

The particulars:

  • Cheering on by team members and friends is highly encouraged. Only participating team members with one coach can be in the arena at the time of the event.
  • Team members will be bouncing on a 150 lb limit ball….so plan accordingly.

(and more…..)

Make history, Enter:

  • To enter: call Alice Cameron, Ingomar Rodeo Club Secretary, 406-358-2255.
  • Be the first to bounce your way into Ingomar Rodeo history!!


  • Contact Alice to be a part of this historic and fascinating event, 406-358-2255.

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Inducts Jersey Lilly

It’s Official: Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Inducts Jersey Lilly at Ceremony held at Great Falls

Compiled by Linda Lou Crosby, from notes by June Nygren
Photographs taken by/or Courtesy of June Nygren

It was a gala event. Folks from all over Montana (and Alaska, New Mexico, Washington and even Florida) came together February 3rd, 2018, to celebrate newly inducted members to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Among the honored people and places that made contributions to Montana’s history and legacy, were June Nygren and Boots Kope, co-owners of Ingomar’s famous Jersey Lilly Bar and Cafe – the official inductee. “There are 12 districts in Montana,” added June, “Each district having 3 inductees, totaling thirty-six inductees for the state.” The Jersey Lilly is in District 3. In our district, besides the Jersey Lilly, a Legacy inductee, there were Bob and Helen (Fulton) Askin (also Legacy), and John L. “Jack” Bailey, a living inductee.

“It was pretty much a whirlwind of activity”, added June.

The weekend started Friday night with a social welcome gathering and a hosted appetizer hour, where folks from across the state had the opportunity to meet each other. “There were about 600 people at Saturday morning’s Brunch Induction Ceremony,” said June. “Our biographies were read by talented ‘story readers’. The shared stories were truly amazing, of personal struggles and triumphs, and how each inductee contributed to the continuation of the cowboy way of life.”

“It was a gathering to celebrate the unique and exceptional lives of everyday people, places and organizations from all kinds of different backgrounds”, added Boots.

To learn more about the inductees, you can view each biography online at www.montanaCowboy Fame.org. And you can enjoy the Induction ceremony video on their facebook page. (The Jersey Lilly is featured about 47 min into the video).

June reflected on the event, “This was such an incredible journey from the very first moment this project was suggested to me, all the way through and past the ‘award’; really makes you sit back and ask yourself – what will your legacy be?” (Authors note: The journey back to Ingomar was quite an adventure as well, as June and Boots were treated to the aftermath of a big storm, and snow covered highways.)

To keep up with Jersey Lilly activities, follow them on Facebook. And you will find event stories on campiou.com.

For further information contact Linda Lou Crosby

Attendees at Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Inductee event 2018

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Ingomar Open Rodeo July 29 2017

Rip Roarin’ Ingomar Rodeo Comin’ Saturday, July 29th, 2017

For Immediate Release

July 6th, 2017

The crowds will cheer, the dust will fly, and the stock will buck at the 31st Annual Ingomar open rodeo. This event is a ‘not to miss’ spectacular in the little town of Ingomar, Montana, population 12 (when everybody’s home).

Bucking bronc Ingomar Rodeo 2016

Dirt for lunch. Ingomar Rodeo 2016. Photo by Hart Broesel.

It’s a time-honored tradition, and loads of family fun. Former Ingomar rodeo competitors, some of whom hit the big time, have often said, “You never forget an Ingomar Rodeo.” And there are plenty of stories to back that up! A true family event, the Ingomar Rodeo has been around for thirty years supporting buckaroos “to be”, and offering opportunities for all eastern Montana hopefuls to compete

“We have some terrific sponsors,” adds Alice Cameron, Secretary of the Ingomar Rodeo Club, a non-profit that honchos both the Ingomar Open Rodeo at the end of July, and the Ingomar Ranch Rodeo on Labor Day weekend, September 2nd and 3rd this year. “And we often have former PRCA, NRA, and IRA participants as our judges and our announcer,” adds Cameron.

Folks also appreciate the super families that participate in the event, excellent cook shack grub, a crowd from all over the place; not to mention the four new bucking chutes, a new crows nest, and a new electronic timer. This new equipment happened thanks to the Northern Rosebud Community Foundation sponsorship and lots of elbow grease by the Ingomar Rodeo Club. There is always a good cross section of entries, and top stock for riders to ride and ropers to rope. Stock will be provided by Newman Rodeo and Paul Eiker. All followed by a Saturday night barbecue and dance put on by the famous Jersey Lilly. If it gets late, plan to stay over at the newly refurbished Community Center rooms, or the Bunk and Biscuit.

So saddle up folks! Riders and ropers put your entries in. And folks, whatever you do, do not miss the Ingomar Open Rodeo Saturday July 29th, 2017!

Please contact Alice, Cameron, 406-358-2255, for further information, potential interviews, etc.

A Visit from the Old West

A Visit from the Old West

Jan and Mike Hillenbrand at Camp IOU
Jan and Mike Hillenbrand visited Camp IOU early this summer, all the way from Thousand Palms, CA. They arrived in their motor home, and stayed a few days. Our paths originally crossed some years ago in the little California high desert mining town of Randsburg. (You gotta go there). The nearby gold mine was still active to some degree, characters roamed the dusty streets, and we hit real pay dirt when we entered the Hillenbrands’ General Store, with its old fashioned soda fountain.
We talked Jan and Mike (that day) into helping us put on Western Theatre in Randsburg. Jan remembers her son Joe coming in to the living part of the store, from the counter, and announcing, “Mom, there’s a crazy lady out there, and she wants to use our living room for tryouts for a play.” Jan (although she may have regretted this decision at times) thought, “Why not?” And in seven weeks, “The Miner Incident” charmed a packed audience in front of the old Randsburg schoolhouse.
Linda Lou based this version of the vintage melodrama on ‘true rumours’ about the area. And there were plenty!  Hart played the nearsighted, elderly sheriff, Jan played a most convincing heroine, and her son Joe was conscripted to play the hero. (Did I mention there weren’t too many people living in Randsburg?)
All the characters did a great job. Many newspapers and magazines wrote about the shows. And they took off in popularity. Busloads of people came all the way (about 2 hours) from LA to be a part of the fun.
More amazing adventures followed (after Hart carefully tore down the stage he had built just for the first play, and returned the unscathed lumber to its owner) (He reminded Linda Lou that there would be no future lumber borrowing, if there even was a future for the two of them).
Sometimes we were hired to appear at other places. Once we took the entire set and cast traveling to a Death Valley Resort, and setup on the golf course. (Not an easy task to be sure). We played to a packed audience of visiting Germans in 45 mile an hour freezing winds. At intermission the audience all left. Who could blame them? After intermission, they all came back, with blankets. At one point the heroine’s hair blew over her face, and she almost fell off the stage. Ah, memories.
This time around, Jan cooked, Linda Lou cooked, Mike made tri-tip and Hart cooked his famous “Swingin’ Chicken’. Hart saw the recipe on the TV show ‘Swamp People’, and has been devising various ‘Swingin’ Chicken’ cooking cans for a few years now. Mike likes to keep moving, so he grabbed the mower, and trimmed things up around the garage.
Great times; great friends. As the visit came to a close, the Hillenbrands continued on their way to Michigan. And we had added a bunch of new fun memories with our old friends.
More photos…

2017 Jersey Lilly Old-Fashioned Tea a Delight

Jersey Lilly Old-Fashioned Tea a Delight

By Linda Lou Crosby and Adele Field

Fine china, sweet delicacies, whimsical place settings and exotic teas awaited ladies who attended the Fourth Annual Lillie Langtry Old-Fashioned Ladies Tea this June at the Jersey Lilly in Ingomar, MT.

Genteel tea goers enjoy the afternoon at the Jersey Lilly.

Adorned in their finest attire, genteel ladies, from 7 – 90+ years, were greeted by an enthralling setting, as Jersey Lilly co-owner June Nygren had transformed the western themed Bar and Cafe into a captivating tea room, with all the trimmings. June greeted guests with her new hat, and a lovely pair of white gloves, as this year’s theme was decreed a “White Glove Affair”. June then shared a short history of gloves, and a short history of the Jersey Lilly, for newcomers to the celebrated spot.

Tea was poured from six lovely teapots by Adele Field of Melstone. “This year’s tea was very enjoyable,” said Adele. Field mentioned talking with Tanya Hardgrove, one of former Jersey Lilly owner Bill Seward’s nieces, who brought the youngest member of the gathering, 7-yr old Rylee. Field also noted that the Double Chocolate Mocha tea was the hands-down favorite, followed closely by Cranberry Autumn.

In this genteel atmosphere, the early 1900s came to life, as ladies sipped, and spoke, and laughed throughout the afternoon. The outfits were sublime, the gloves were lace, velvet and the finest cotton; and fantastic hats grabbed much attention throughout the event. Guests thoroughly enjoyed June’s famous lemon bars and dill cucumber sandwiches.

Jersey Lilly Tea judges' pick for hat winner

Kasha Hogue was the judges’ unanimous pick
for winner of best hat award at the Jersey Lilly Tea.

Although hat-judging results were unanimous, each guest openly admired the myriad of gorgeous bonnets in the room. Hat winners were Kasha Hogue from Miles City in the women’s division, and Haley Hould in the young girls’ division. Both ladies were from Miles City. Red hat ladies visited from Hysham; the Forsyth Ladies came by American Legion bus – escorted by driver Larry Kautzman and his wife/assistant Karen. Larry was nattily attired, and he and his wife helped June with hat judging and the game session. Visitors also attended from Rosebud, Miles City, Melstone and Ingomar.

Each year June adds a new treat and this year, a new challenge. Besides the scrumptious strawberry short cake, which guests removed their gloves to enjoy, this year ladies were asked to join in a couple of fun games. Guests were asked to write down as many words as they could from the letters in TEA PARTY in five minutes, and for the next challenge a tray was shared at each table for a limited time, while guests memorized the tray contents. Ladies wrote what they remembered, and the most correct guesses won a prize.

And prizes were many, for ladies and young ladies alike. There were prizes for the best hat, the game winners, lots and lots of door prizes, a grand door prize (a stunning tea set won by Mija Hould of Miles City and the youth grand door prize won by Mija Hould of Miles City), and each setting had a fun candy dish, and journal. Next year’s tea is already in the planning. June found this year’s door prize last August! Enjoy 2017. See you next year!

More photos…