What’s Your Secret Montana Fantasy?

By Caitlin Avey

Artists, politicos, innovators, and sports stars share their Big Sky Dreams with MJR readers

“My secret Montana fantasy is to steal the late Evel Knievel’s X-2 Skycycle and jump it over the Berkeley Pit.”

Jamie Ford – Montana author known for his 2009 debut novel, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.”

“I have been to all seven continents, and often compare what we have in Montana to the places I visit. There are very, very few places on Earth that can match our ‘Last Best Place.’ That is not just a marketing slogan. My secret fantasy would be a weeklong backcountry horse-back trip with interesting people. I have never done a big trip.”

Steve Running – Nobel Peace Prize recipient for his work with the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Regents Professor at the University of Montana.

“My real secret fantasy is to be the starting quarterback for the Montana Grizzlies.”

Jim Messina – Former White House deputy chief of staff, 2012 campaign manager for President Barack Obama, and 1993 graduate of the University of Montana.

“To retire and own a piece of land where I can’t see or hear any of my neighbors.”

Dan Carpenter – Helena native and NFL kicker for the Buffalo Bills.

“To live a long life, with virtually every day spent here in Montana.”

Pat Williams – Former United States Congressman and University of Montana alumnus.

“Because I travel so much, while I appreciate being able to see the world, the thing I miss the most is Montana. My fantasy is to be able to spend more time here. I rush around so much, the nicest thing about Montana is being able to see life unfold and time unwind. To have a few uninterrupted weeks here would be fantastic.”

M. A. Sanjayan – Lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, science and environmental contributor for CBS News. He resides in Missoula.

“To be a ski bum all winter and a fishing bum all summer!”

David Berkoff – Four-time Olympics medalist in swimming, including two gold medals (Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992).

“Well, I’d like to see it the way it was when it was 1803, before Lewis and Clark got here.”

James Lee Burke – Bestselling author of crime novels set in Louisiana and Montana and a longtime resident of Lolo.

“For people to put aside their anger and divisiveness and come together in peace and harmony through knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. For them to then restore, nurture, and maintain the delicate relationship and balance between people, civilization, and the natural world.”

Monte Dolack – Graphic artist famous for depicting ducks in bathrooms and fish in living rooms. Studied art at Montana State University and the University of Montana and owns a gallery in downtown Missoula. 

“My secret Montana fantasy was to run all the available Montana rivers in my kayak! I did that!”

Barbara Wright – Biologist, professor emerita, and world-class kayaker. First American to break into the top 10 at the 1967 International Canoe Federation World Championships and the first woman to run the Grand Canyon.