Local Libby man bags 358 pound bear


Wade Saunders harvested his bear on Friday, September 18. Wade told The Montanian, “My bear weighed in at about 358 pound live weight, and is a upper end Montana trophy bear, according to the fish and game and my taxidermist.” Wade got the bear  at 8:30 a.m.  North of Libby Montanan and hiked three and a half hours by himself to get this bear. Photo Courtesy of Wade Saunders

Ward’s Crushing opens new office in Libby

By Brian Baxter


The biggest change the Wards have seen in recent years is moving to their new store front location at 319 West 9th Street (Highway 2), Suite 1, in early 2020. This location shift from a home office has been beneficial to their company. One of the biggest benefits is simply the foot traffic that swings by to check it out. This reporter stopped by to visit the office, which is where the old Bertelsen Insurance Bureau used to be, and the Ward’s have done a complete remodel, with good taste, a functional setup, and a very professional look. They even have some very nice hats in cool colors for sale.

It’s always a beautiful thing when we see a local family business doing well. Especially with the tough economic situation currently. As a counter balance to a world tending towards complete insanity, it is good to think about traditional American values. Values that built this country from the ground up. Historically, these stories were common. In northwest Montana, local families were the salt of the earth, so to speak. Proud people took adversity in stride, did not whine or complain, stuck to their personal ethics, and the unwritten code that simply said, do the job right. Though in some areas of our country these principles seem to be lacking, fortitude and doing the right thing are still alive and well in northwest Montana. And one example of many in the Libby area, is Ward Crushing.

Entering the office you will find freshly brewed coffee, photos of smiling employees, and all the road material samples you need to complete any project.  With a helpful office staff, delivery drivers that have priorities of concern and efficiency, and a crew that makes products that get the job done the right way, Ward’s Crushing is both a friendly and professional outfit. Co-founded in 1998 by husband and wife team Steve and Sydney Ward, this locally owned and run business has been a sand and gravel supplier to not only Lincoln County, but regionally for the past 22 years.

Following a legacy of trucking that Steve’s father, Kendall Ward, etched into our community, Steve took his knowledge of mechanics and trucking to a whole new level by attending and graduating from Crushing School, and then purchasing a crusher. Ward Crushing was started to provide for their family, their community, and to give the Ward’s entrepreneurial mindsets a task for which outcomes they never could have imagined when they first began. Owning the company gave two of the Ward’s children, Brandon Laffoon and Paige Tolle, the opportunity to learn about the industry,  leadership, and employment. Brandon and Paige worked for the company through high school, college, and even as they started their own families. They held positions both in the office and in the field as the company grew and expanded.

Growing from doing local road projects such as gravelly roads and blading existing roads, to building new roads and driveways, to providing materials for residential jobs, Ward Crushing began to provide materials for Lincoln County and surrounding counties. And has further expanded to provide both materials and services to the State of Montana, the U.S. Forest Service, and many private companies as well. Though they have expanded, the Ward’s keep things on a down home and friendly basis. On any given day, you will find Sydney and her two dogs, Rudy and Maya working away in the office. Sydney’s accounting, bookkeeping, and managerial knowledge is the perfect compliment to Steve’s mechanical and industrial understanding.

So folks, if your looking for an ethical, hardworking family business to help complete any projects, think about Ward Crushing LLC at their new office in town. Their email is, and their office phone is 293-2188. In talking with Sydney, she said, “The Ward’s are so thankful to their fantastic employees and this amazing community for the support we’ve been shown. Please feel free to swing by the office for a cup of coffee and say hello.”

Steve and Sydney in front of their new office in Libby. Photo courtesy of Sydney and Steve Ward.