By Stacy Bender
Libby High School Senior, Jay Beagle, has officially signed his letter of intent to pursue an athletic career with the University of Montana Grizzlies Track and Field program in the Fall of 2021.
“My coaches have done a great job pushing me to be the best athlete I can be,” shared Beagle in an email following the Friday, December 4, formality. “My track coaches over the past couple years have really worked with me on some technique and form. They also gave me an awesome conditioning program to help me achieve the record times I’ve already logged and are going to carry me on to the next level where I know the coaches in Missoula will help me to advance even more.”
Beagle believes that being pushed this past Spring and Summer by LHS coaches Josh Bean (Track), Neil Fuller (Football), and Devyn Christian (Summer Workout Programming) has fueled not only the physical but the mental aspect of overcoming several unconventional obstacles which have come into play during his Senior year at LHS.
Speaking to the mental grit gained through those athletic ventures and how that translates back to his classwork, Beagle wrote, “This year we’ve all had to adjust [in response to Covid-19] day by day, sometimes minute by minute in our everyday lives. I think the mental piece of sports has helped me to get through this strange year. Especially football and basketball – they require me to think quickly and be ready to adjust on the fly.”
Looking forward to his pending collegiate career, Beagle plans at this time to pursue a Major in either Communications or Business. “U of M has a great business school, so I believe this is a really good opportunity to receive the education I want while still having access to the athletic experience I am looking for.”
“We are just so very proud of the hard work which Jay has put in over the past several years in order to accomplish his goals and compete at the Division 1 level of college competition,” shared Beagle’s mother, Betty Jo, following the collegiate signing event. “We are so excited for Jay’s future!”
Pictured Above: LHS Senior Athlete, Jay Beagle was joined by his parents, Scott and Betty Jo, younger brother, Ryan, and Libby Logger Track Coach, Josh Bean, during his Collegiate Letter of Intent signature moment on Friday, Dec. 4. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.
By Stacy Bender
Libby High School Senior, Ryker McElmurry, put pen to paper and signed with intent to pursue football with the University of Montana-Western Bulldogs in the Fall of 2021.
“I have been surrounded by a lot of talented athletes that motivated me to be the best I can be,” Ryker wrote in an email leading up to his collegiate signing event. “I was taught to never take a starting role for granted as everyone must work hard to earn their spot on the team. I appreciate the coaches pushing us during the season and not letting up during the off-season to motivate us to our highest potential.”
Speaking directly of the unconventional times at play as his Senior year continues to unfold, Ryker stated, “I really cherish each and every Friday night game and did not take them for granted, especially this year as Covid-10 was widespread.”
While yet undecided as to what Major he will pursue once on campus at Montana-Western, Ryker looks forward to striving for both athletic and academic success while using the skillsets he has gained through years of involvement with various Logger sports.
“I have always been proud to represent my team and my school,” Ryker wrote. “Without sports, I am not sure if I would be the same person. I enjoy competing. But my experiences through sports have also given me a good foundation and understanding of how to be successful in life.”
Ryker noted he has taken a great deal of friendly flack from his coaches and teammates in high school for always being 35 to 40 minutes early – for everything. “I have a bit of OCD in terms of making sure things are falling into place. Whether it’s practice, film, lifting, volunteering, or just school. I am always prompt and ready to go. I believe work ethic and responsibility are great qualities to have when going into the work force and adulting.”
“Jen and I could not be more proud of Ryker,” shared Joe McElmurry, Ryker’s father. “He has worked his tail off both on and off the field. He is always going above and beyond to be the best he can be. Just being around him in general, not only in sports, is a pleasure as he truly enjoys life and likes to laugh and have a good time. We are lucky to have such a nice young man and wish him all the best in whatever comes his way.”
Pictured Above: LHS Senior Athlete Ryker McElmurry was joined by his parents, Joe and Jennifer, his sister, Lyndee, and Logger Football Coach, Neil Fuller, during his Collegiate Letter of Intent signature moment on Friday, Dec. 4. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.
Turkey Dash Delivers Support for Kootenai Kiwanis
By Stacy Bender
Following the annual Thanksgiving-time run/walk which aims to give back to its community each year, a small flock of Turkey Dash representatives orchestrated a special curbside meeting with members of the Kootenai Kiwanis Organization to deliver their 2020 donation check on Friday, December 4.
“The Turkey Dash is truly a great time for all involved, but most importantly it’s about our awesome friends and neighbors coming together to help those in need,” shared Gordon.
Huntsberger noted that the Kiwanis Organization is extremely grateful for the generous gift provided on behalf of the Turkey Dash and Koats 4 Kids looks forward to applying the funding received towards reorganizational efforts currently underway for the long-standing Winter Gear program which hopes to continue serving those in need of warm clothing for many years to come.
Local first time author pens book, ‘The Sneakin’est Man That Ever Was – Headline Stories From Montana’s Early Days’
By Brian Baxter
Jim Harmon has put together an eclectic collection entitled The Sneakin’est Man That Ever Was – Headline Stories From Montana’s Early Days. The first Harmon’s Histories Vol. 1, gives credit to the early journalists of Montana who documented the finer, mediocre, and rougher cut news. Harmon respects these writers, and gives his regrets that we don’t know most of their names, as there were no by-lines back then.
His appreciation can be totally understood, as Harmon’s roots as a journalist span nearly fifty years, with three of those decades in Missoula. In retirement, this Montana native is a history buff who’s spent a decade researching long-forgotten stories in Montana newspapers.
Harmon’s grandfather, John Harmon was born in Missouri and his family moved to Malta, Montana around 1900. Jim’s dad, Lee Harmon was born in Malta in 1916. Grandpa John suffered from severe grain or hay allergies, and was advised to move west to mountain country, where the air was cleaner. That brought the family to Libby in 1919. Grandpa John worked as a sawyer in the nearby lumber camps Harmon’s grandmother, Pauline and his dad then two-three years old lived in the boxcar-housing made available to families at the camps. Eventually, the family moved into town.
John worked mostly for J. Neil’s Lumber Company, but as Harmon said, “For a short time, in the 1930’s, served as Libby Police Chief, appointed by Mayor Elmer Switzer. As a result, he and Sheriff Frank Baney became fast friends.” He continued with his Libby family history, “My dad, Lee, worked briefly at the Kootenai Mercantile, then for J. Neils until retirement.
My mother, Vesta, was a school teacher. Lee was part of the championship Libby Terriers high school football team in the 30’s, along with Brad Phillips and others. Our family lived at 908 Main, a house that still stands today-now, housing a business.”
Harmon’s book, edited by Sherry Devlin, has chapter titles that would interest any Montana history fan, especially one with a good sense of humor. Among this reporter’s favorites are, God Bless The Man That Discovered Beer; Cat/Griz-Talking on the Sidelines Cost Griz the Game; I’ll Mash Your Face, You Little Pinhead; Gunfight on the Higgins Bridge-Train Conductor & Dentist Near Death; Al Jolson-An Instant Hit in Montana; Mark Twain-Takes a Wrong Turn on Way to Ft. Missoula; and Dunn Creek Nell-A Most Cantankerous Woman.
Harmon has a unique perspective and verifiable information for his chapter on Dunn Creek Nell. Harmon said, “Dunn Creek Nell was a character I heard about a lot, growing up in Libby. Both my grandfather and father had run-ins with her over the years. She was fast to grab a gun, and fast to confront you for any perceived wrong…
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