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Montana's 'E' towns like to make big boasts

Montana's 'E' towns like to make big boasts

Our small towns sometimes have big reputations. The one we feature today, Ekalaka, has called itself “the bucking horse capital of the world.”

December 14, 2014 7:58 am Photos

Photos

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Montana Highway 7

Montana Highway 7

Just outside Ekalaka, Montana Highway 7 stretches straight over rolling hills 36 miles north to Baker. Medicine Rocks State Park can be seen on the horizon at left.

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Local residents of Ekalaka

Local residents of Ekalaka

Local residents of Ekalaka gather on a recent evening in the repair garage owned by Duane McCord to socialize at what's known as the Church of Hank Williams. The garage has become a sort of community gathering place in Ekalaka, and hosts live music, weddings, funeral receptions and parties i…

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Ekalaka residents

Ekalaka residents

Becky Jesperson, Harlan Mehling, Ken Jesperson, Kate Anderson and David Rice, from left, play the coffee game on a recent morning at the Wagon Wheel Cafe in Ekalaka. Along with a chance to talk about goings-on in town, the long-running gathering of sometimes a dozen people involves trying to…

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Coffee game log book

Coffee game log book

David Rice has kept a log book of the coffee game for years, recording the numbers picked, who was present and who got "stuck" by guessing the number.

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Bucking horse capital of the world

Bucking horse capital of the world

Ernie Tooke has spent a lifetime around bucking horses, ever since his father Feek took to breeding horses specifically for rodeo bucking events. Tooke said Ekalaka became known as the bucking horse capital of the world.

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Carter County Museum

Carter County Museum

The Carter County Museum features extensive paleontology exhibits, including a mounted skeleton of the duckbill dinosaur Anatotitan copei. The skeleton, found in the bluffs west of Ekalaka in 1938, is one of only a few nearly complete specimens of its kind.

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Marilyn Schultz

Marilyn Schultz

Marilyn Schultz, assistant director of the Carter County Museum, looks at a cast of Nanotyrannus lancensis found in Carter County.

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Jef Jourdan of the Carter County Museum

Jef Jourdan of the Carter County Museum

Jef Jourdan of the Carter County Museum talks about the Pachycephalosaurus skull found in the county in 1940.

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Carter County Courthouse

Carter County Courthouse

The Carter County Courthouse displays animals mounts from a more modern era than that of the dinosaurs just down the street at the museum.

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Tommy Carroll

Tommy Carroll

Tommy Carroll is a descendent of Ijkalaka, the Oglala Sioux woman who married the area's first white settler and for whom Ekalaka is named. Carroll's grandmother was Ijkalaka and David Russell's youngest child.

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A lone phone booth

A lone phone booth

A lone phone booth, complete with folding chair, sits on Ekalaka's main street.

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Wagon Wheel Cafe

Wagon Wheel Cafe

When Trish Bishop and her husband took over the Wagon Wheel Cafe from her aunt recently, they found they had to increase prices on the menu. Still, a hamburger costs only $1.80 at the cafe.

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Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park

The sandstone formations in Medicine Rocks State Park were formed from the sand of an ancient river that flowed to a prehistoric sea that covered North America's interior. Over eons, the sand compacted into sandstone that has been shaped by weather, and today attracts visitors and wildlife.

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The Carter County Courthouse

The Carter County Courthouse

The Carter County Courthouse sits prominently in Ekalaka, next to the grade school, hospital and nursing home.

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Rex McCord

Rex McCord

Rex McCord looks at a hot rod built by himself and his brother at the garage turned gathering place they now call the Church of Hank Williams.

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Ekalaka's main street

Ekalaka's main street

Ekalaka's main street was once filled with businesses and bars. Now some locals talk about the increase in traffic through town since the road to Alzada was paved four years ago.

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Marilyn Schultz

Marilyn Schultz

Marilyn Schultz, assistant director of the Carter County Museum, cleans the glass case of an exhibit of a Pachycephalosaurus skull.

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Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park

The sandstone formations at Medicine Rocks State Park attract thousands of visitors every year.

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Les Kreitel

Les Kreitel

Les Kreitel is a great-grandson of Ijkalaka, the Oglala Sioux woman for whom Ekalaka is named.

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