MONTIE MONTANA (1910-1998)
Inducted in 1997
Born on a Montana homestead in 1910, Montie hit the rodeo road with his parents at a young age. During his illustrious career, Montie Montana has performed around the world, and was a perennial favorite in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day Parade. He appeared in numerous western movies alongside John Wayne, Hopalong Cassidy, Will Rogers, Hoot Gibson, Slim Pickens, Bob Hope, Shirley Temple, Jimmy Stewart, and others. His most famous movie role was in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Montie Montana first appeared in Ellensburg as a 17 year-old trick roper in 1927; his mother and father performed a bullwhip act in the same show. Since then he has appeared eleven times, often with wife Louise and children Montie, Jr., and Linda Marie. One of Montie’s signature pieces was tossing a huge loop around the entire family while they rode towards him mounted. After completing his daily act in the rodeo, Montie would sometimes work in a night performance at the Audion Theater on 3rd Street. Montie’s father, a firm believer in the church, had a favorite pastime while in Ellensburg in the early days–he preached an annual sermon at the Methodist Church on Third Street.
In 1972, Montie Montana returned to Ellensburg for the 50th Anniversary show, and he served as Grand Marshall of the 75th Anniversary Ellensburg Rodeo Parade. He died the following winter.