Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Retired Valier rancher grows a tall tale

Retired rancher John Holden’s tales are retold, stretched and invented slices of life along the Rocky Mountain Front. Ranchers prank the Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ bear guys (who are at least better than the feds), neighbors gather ’round at Kitty’s Bar and Grille in a one-parking-meter town called Pot Hole and Big Harry, Little Herbert and Fat John try to make a living raising sheep and cattle in his stories. Old-timers have passed on bear stories, embellished truth or pure fiction, and he’s drawn composites of locals he’s known. “There’s a guy or two I mighta got even with here,” Holden said. “It’s stuff that went on and stuff I dreamed up. “Some of these guys give you ideas, and I twist them around,” he said. “If it didn’t happen, it could have happened.” His stories are not “politically correct,” he allows. He occasionally rags on feds, environmentalists, nudists and liberals. The stories “say some things I think about society,” he said. Mostly he’s known for humorous yarns inspired by life on the Westwind Ranch between Dupuyer and Valier and the foibles of those who surround him, from Wolf Creek to the Canadian border. Holden has collected bear stories in “Grizzly Bears: Catch Me Now or Catch Me Later” and quips, jokes and observations in “Windscapes of Western Thoughts: Truisms of a Lesser Kind From an Older Montana Mind.”...more

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