The rugged spirit of Montana's cowboy heritage finds its annual celebration as the 16th class of inductees is set to join the prestigious ranks of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. Scheduled for Saturday, February 10th, this year's induction ceremony will take place at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls, heralding the exceptional contributions of Montana's finest individuals to the state's rich cultural tapestry.

Celebrating Remarkable Contributions

Carefully chosen from a pool of nominees put forth by the public, these inductees stand as embodiments of Montana's storied history and traditions. Each nominee embodies the essence of the cowboy legacy through their remarkable endeavors and enduring impacts on the state's heritage.

Recognition Ceremony Details

The recognition ceremony, a brunch starting at 10:30 a.m., promises to be a momentous occasion to honor the accomplishments and lasting legacies of the 2024 inductees. Those eager to partake in this celebration can still secure their spot by pre-registering at $30 per person. To reserve a seat, individuals are encouraged to reach out promptly.

District-wise Inductees

The selection process for the 2024 class adhered to specific criteria set by the board, allowing for the election of both a Living Inductee and a Legacy Inductee from each of Montana's 12 districts. The breadth of contributions and impact across the state becomes evident through the diverse array of inductees:

  • District 1: Living - Henry “Gary” Danelson of Scobey; Legacy - David C. Funk of Frazer.
  • District 2: Living - Harold Lee Isaacs of Jordan; Legacy - Donald Goodman “Don” Holt of Sidney.
  • District 3: Living - Wayne M. Morford of Miles City; Legacy - World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale of Miles City.
  • District 4: Living - Leon LaSalle of Laredo; Legacy - Clarence Basil Cuts The Rope of Hays.
  • District 5: Living - Alvin “Dutch” Lunak & Stuntmen of Blackfeet Country of Valier; Legacy - Joe De Yong of Great Falls.
  • District 6: Living - Durl J. Gibbs of Buffalo; Legacy - Donald Elton “Don” Abarr of Grass Range.
  • District 7: Living - Lynn “Jonnie” Jonckowski of Billings; Legacy - Elmer E. “Slim” Kobold of Kirby.
  • District 8: Living - Lenore McKelvey Puhek of Helena; Legacy - Paul B. Hart of Helena.
  • District 9: Living - Delbert & Janice High of Bozeman; Legacy - Raymond P. “Ray” Ansotegui of Livingston.
  • District 10: Living - Betty Mae Wemple Schall of Arlee; Legacy - Alvin Garth “Al” Merritt of Pablo.
  • District 11: Living - Paul Zarzyski of Missoula; Legacy - William E. “Bill” Mytty of Lolo.
  • District 12: Living - Walter Elroy “Walt” Shaw, Sr. of Cardwell; Legacy - John William “Pat” McDonald of Philipsburg.

The Cowboy Ball and Benefit Auction

Beyond the induction ceremony, attendees can cap off their day with The Cowboy Ball and Benefit Auction, commencing at 6:30 p.m. The event will pay tribute to the 2024 Saddle of Honor recipient, 2018 MCHF Inductee Bud Griffith, renowned as Montana’s Gentleman Cowboy. Notably, Griffith will receive a bronze sculpture of Charlie Russell’s saddle crafted by Jay Contway. The evening will be accompanied by a brisket buffet dinner and live Western music by Big Sky Country, along with a captivating silent and live auction featuring unique Western items. Individuals interested in contributing to the auction are encouraged to get in touch.

Details and Contacts

Pre-registration for The Cowboy Ball is $75 per person, emphasizing the importance of securing reservations by contacting (406) 650-7460.

For comprehensive biographies of all inductees, the MCHF & WHC’s website ( offers detailed insights. Additionally, for further information or inquiries, the MCHF & WHC can be contacted at 406-653-3800 or via email at

Unveiling of MCHF Gallery

Adding to the day's festivities, the unveiling of the new MCHF Gallery at the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls will take place at 3:30 PM, open to the public at no cost, offering a glimpse into Montana's illustrious cowboy legacy.

As February 10th approaches, anticipation mounts to celebrate the unwavering spirit and remarkable contributions of Montana's esteemed cowboy legends.

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