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  23 May 2017  |  Vol: 4 facebooktwitterrss  
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Bozeman's Best
 
Bozeman's Best 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010  
 
The Magpie Awards: Bozeman's Best
 

FOOD
Best Breakfast | Best Pizza | Best Bargain Lunch | Best Coffee Shop | Best Restaurant if Someone Else is Paying | Best Off-Main Burger | Best Steak | Best Asian Food | Best Mexican Restaurant | Best New Restaurant | Best Wine List | Best Dessert

COMMERCIAL
Best Ski Techs | Best Snowboard Shop in the Universe | Best Bike Service | Best Outdoor Gear Shop | Best Bookstore | Best Second Hand Store | Best Place for Buying Cheap Beer | Best Place for Buying Wine | Best MD for Blown Knees | Best Pediatricians | Best Naturopath | Best Least Disagreeable Dental Experience | Best Big Box | Best Act of God as Economic Stimulator | Best Canine Indulgence | Best Hot Springs | Best Happy Hour | Best No-Tell Motel | Best Place to Get Your Hair Did | Best Mani/Pedi | Best Wax-on/Wax-off | Best Day Spa

CULTURE
Best Art Gallery | Best Dive Bar | Best Place for Live Music | Best Non-conservation Organization | Best Athletic Venue that Doesn’t Exist | Best Place for a Break-up | Best Bar to Catch a Fight | Best Place to Spend a Rainy Day | Best Sporting Event | Best Area in Need of Civic Love | Best Yoga Studio

LOCALS
Best Athlete | Best Artist | Best Prodigy Author | Best Local Band | Best Jewelry Designer | Best New University President 

COLOR
Best Two-Faced Political Grandstanding | Best Poorly-conceived Bill from the 2011 Montana Legislature | Best New Ugly New Building | Best Police Log Entries | Best Ridiculous Waste of Chronicle Ink | Best Place to Get Hit by a Car While Riding a Bike | Best Nonprofit Soap Opera NOT on 60 Minutes | Best National Drubbing of a Local Politician

 
Best Food
 
bozemans best award Best Breakfast
The Storm Castle Cafe
Best BreakfastLocated a Frisbee toss from campus, the Storm Castle is family-owned and operated. A native Montanan who runs the kitchen, Scott has a culinary degree from New England and worked in France. His wife, Nicole, is winsome with fast feet and lots of happy chattering. Having both on location all-day everyday encourages a spot in this hotly debated field. Considering the recipe authenticity, grande servings, and what many hail as “the best biscuits-and-gravy in Montana,” the off-Main Street operation makes a big move to the front. Order Grandma’s Enchiladas and you’ll taste truth—the race was never really close.
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bozemans best award Best Pizza
Tarantino’s Pizzeria

Best PizzaIt’s time to get personal. We gathered a panel of discerning judges representing our nation’s pizza meccas—The Windy City and The Big Apple—in addition to Rocky Mountain folk hailing from the Centennial State to the Big Sky, ordered a smattering of pies from Bozeman’s finest take-out joints, and let the deliberations begin. Wars were waged and marinara spilled. But in the end, one was left standing*: Tarantino’s. With a best-in-class crust, well-seasoned sauce, and an exciting take on Italian sausage, our bloated judges couldn’t help but grab a second slice. Bonus: at $9 for a 14-inch one-topper, Tarantino’s was also the kindest to our wallets.

*Buffalo Bump Pizza won the taste test, but our judges determined that the slim
margin of victory, additional expense, and lack of delivery options didn’t warrant the requisite 15-mile round-trip to Four Corners.
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bozemans best award Best Bargain Lunch
The Co-op
lunchLocals don't normally associate the Co-op with bargain shopping, far from it, but the new downtown deli offers a quality lunch and serious whiz-bang for your buck. For less than $7, a bevy of sandwiches are available (grilled cheese, egg salad or tuna salad for the truly thrift-aware) with a side of yummy blue corn tortilla chips as well as the obligatory pickle. That price includes any of the half dozen ready-made salads and Asian noodle offerings in the cooler at stage right. The ingredients are fantastically fresh, the people-watching is mm-hmm tantalizing, and even wide-loads will find the haul sufficient. Admittedly, some Bozeman necessities aren’t included in the fare; so all you Kombucha fanatics out there should bring a couple extra greenbacks.
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bozemans best award Best Coffee Shop (and Best Officeless Office)
Rockford Coffee Roasters
Rockford CoffeeCoffee shops, once the providence of geeked-out premeds, stoned poets, and soccer moms scoring Venti skinny vanilla soy lattes, have now become the domicile of a new demographic: the officeless. Maybe they’re freelance hipsters, nervy corporate types, or dirtbag ski bums awaiting the next powder rejuvenation, but no matter the career path, Rockford is the go-to substitute for the cubical ball-and-chain. With reliable Wi-Fi, variable seating options, and a relaxed atmosphere, this café’s equally suited to keyboard pounding, email checking, and wasting away on Facebook. Oh yeah, their beans are roasted in-house, and they brew a killer cup of joe.
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bozemans best award Best Restaurant if Someone Else is Paying
Pompey's Grill/Sacajawea Hotel
Best RestaurantAs owners of the renowned Wheat Montana farming operations and the namesake sandwich shop, the Folkvord’s might well be the most savvy business family in the county, and when they acquired the historic Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, people across the valley couldn’t help but anticipate the landmark’s resurrection. Boy, did they nail it—especially the restaurant. Executive Chef Matt Israel at Pompey’s Grill is bringing big city panache to mouth-watering gems like the Alaskan Halibut Cheeks and the Bison Short Ribs, and the service has quickly been regarded among the best around.
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bozemans best award Best Off-Main Burger
Cat’s Paw
BurgerIf the description of your dream burger requires the words: avocado, blue cheese, bison, or medium-rare, you better stop reading this. But if you consider LCD screens and neon signs comforting, if you relish an ambiance only rivaled by the Pit of Despair, if cigarette smoke lingering from 2009 evokes doting memories of bygone days, then the Cat’s Paw is your meow. Because $8 for a cheeseburger, fries, microbrew, and top-notch service can’t be beat by any of those Main Street joints.
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bozemans best award Best Steak
Sir Scott’s Oasis
SteakIt’s a bloody battle serving steak in this valley, and we don’t just mean the butchering. With two-and-a-half times as many Montana cows as Montanans, plenty of which are marbled, USDA Prime, we’ve got an resource unrivaled. Then take the gastric vacancy produced by six months of winter and the Big Sky lifestyle into consideration, and you’ll find this category’s hard won. But somehow a little supper club and bar in Manhattan ends up at the top of everybody’s list. The grain of the meat can make patrons gush, and I’ve seen people photograph the dinner check because they can’t believe the low price.
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bozemans best award Best Asian Food
Sweet Chili Asian Restaurant
Best Asian FoodWhere is a Pad-Thai lover to go? Just follow the scent of peanut sauce to 101 East Main. It might be the new kid on the block, but Sweet Chili has already made its mark, serving delicious and authentic Asian cuisine like Pad-Thai (best in town), Drunken Noodles, and Papaya Salad. But the gem is the traditional Chinese dessert, Chow Lai (fried milk in Montana-speak). Fancy fried, custardy, homemade donut-holes dabbed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s good.
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bozemans best award Best Mexican Restaurant
La Tinga
Mexican

March’s Mountain Bluebirds and Sandhill Cranes are fickle; April sheds more flakes than January; May favors gray and white over blue and green; and June lures possibility only to produce frustration. Face it: spring in the Gallatin Valley is unruly. But when Alba and Curt open La Tinga’s doors for the season, we take hope. Serving delicate dishes absent of the cheese-flavored grease so pervasive of most Mexican fare, La Tinga emphasizes gently flavored meats mingled with fresh cilantro, onion, and avocado - all swaddled in a homemade corn tortilla. Sure, the snow may still fly, but spring never tasted so good.
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bozemans best award Best New Restaurant
Chickpea Café
restaurantSaying that Bozeman is excited to welcome Chickpea Café is an understatement. Mediterranean cookery is some of the healthiest (and yummiest) in the world, and when Hamed and Jennifer Jento rolled into our über-athletic town two years ago they seized opportunity. Joined by Hamad’s brother and sister-in-law, they’ve made Chickpea a true family affair. Using intimate recipes from Jento’s Middle Eastern roots, they’re able to recreate traditional dishes like Baba Gannosh and Falafel. One bite and it’s evident that the whole family has put heart-and-soul into their delicious cuisine. The proof is in the hummus.
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bozemans best award Best Wine List
Plonk
wine listHemingway said, “Wine is as natural as eating, and to me, as necessary.” We agree and thus armed, proceed to Plonk. A proper wine list must conquer more than numbers, and although Plonk’s offerings are extensive—600 bottles and 35 house pours—it’s the handpicked nature of their collection that lures the discerning oenophile. From enduring favorites to hidden jewels, Plonk’s wine list is in perpetual evolution with each trait painstakingly selected. Tonight we'll forgo food altogether to center on a trio of pinot noirs from Willamette Valley’s 2008 vintage. Papa would be proud.
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bozemans best award Best Dessert
Starky's
dessertIt’s been a year since Starky’s reestablished itself after the 5 March 2009 gas explosion, and their comeback would impress even Robert Downey Jr. The traditional lunch spot is now serving two scrumptious square-meals a day and a Sunday brunch, but our favorites are the finishers. The dessert menu is continuously rotating, but never disappoints. Our picks are the key lime pie and anything with chocolate. Oh, and that rumor about the carrot cake being the best in the valley, yeah, it’s true.
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Best Commercial
 
bozemans best award Best Ski Techs
Northern Lights Trading Co.
ski techsWithout skis, a Bozeman winter is more tortuous than nine months in Tartarus. Hobbled boards need revitalization, and they need it now. Sure, any rookie armed with a file, stone, and iron can manage a tune-up, but involved repairs require a pro, and the techs at Northern Lights are just that. While other shops shudder at your mangled gear and steer you to towards their selection of shiny new goods, these guys will find a remedy, and still leave you with enough coin for tomorrow's lift ticket.
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bozemans best award Best Snowboard Shop in the Universe
World Boards
snowboardOwner Jay Moore was a little peeved last year that we only awarded his store on West Main as “Bozeman’s Best Snowboard Shop.” Peeved because he wanted to be regarded as the best snowboard AND ski shop. “But you don’t sell skis,” I told him at the time, before taking an especially lengthy moment to get the point. While we still couldn’t pull the trigger, Jay, we definitely massaged it some. The store is that good.
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bozemans best award Best Bike Service
The Bike Peddler
bike shoptSome old clichés stick around for good reason. Take “It’s the little things that make the difference in small business.” Case in point: at least one of The Bike Peddler’s owners, Dixie and Brian Menkhaus, is always in the store, their bike techs are the friendliest in town, tune-ups are priced below market, and the staff always-always goes the extra mile. Oh, and the town’s newest brewpub just opened up next door. See what I mean?
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bozemans best award Best Outdoor Gear Shop
Prolite Gear
outdoor gearIn an interview with The Bozeman Magpie last year, Craig Delger said, “What used to be gear shops aren’t really gear shops any more. They still have the gear shop name, but they are really selling mainstream goods for mainstream America: bikinis, flip-flops, and board shorts.” Thus comprised the impetus of ProLite Gear, a website and store for true outdoor enthusiasts, and we love the creative, enterprising and competitive vision that Delger realized. As do many of the thousands of visitors the ProLite Gear website welcomes every day.
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bozemans best award Best Bookstore
Country Bookshelf
bookstoreAfter 36 years in the business, this Main Street landmark and its new owner, Ariana Paliobagis, demonstrated enough Montana grit to outlast big-box Goliaths. One good reason behind their endurance is the knowledgeable, face-to-face help synonymous with the Bookshelf. Rest assured, if the hardcover you seek is not in stock, one of the wonderful employees will order it faster than you can say “Amazon.”
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bozemans best award Best Second Hand Store
East Main Trading
second hand storeRegardless of your wallet size, you can always find what you need at East Main Trading. If owners Jessica Boerger and Lee Phillips aren’t working the antique cash register, you’ll be sure to find one of their kin behind the counter. (Have you noticed a theme of on-site owners in this list? Good reason for that.) Everything in this treasure chest is owned outright—no consignment—which means they can and do negotiate prices. Think of the bartering as a warm family welcome.
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bozemans best award Best Place for Buying Cheap Beer
Town & Country Foods
cheap beerOne half-empty container of sodden strawberries, vanilla yogurt, a refugee band of condiments, the curded remnants of one gallon of skim milk, three eggs, and seventeen beers of mixed lineage. These are the contents of our refrigerator today, the cupboard is more barren than a played-out mineshaft, and we won’t even consider a trip to the grocery store until the beer runs out. That’s the importance of beer promotions at grocery stores, and T&C gets it. They get us.
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bozemans best award Best Place for Buying Wine
The Wine Gallery
buying wineDespite offering in excess of a thousand labels, the Wine Gallery is not just a bottle shop. It’s an establishment for higher learning. Of course proprietor, Doug Badenoch, can aid your assessment of the perfect pinot to serve with Friday evening’s mushroom risotto, but also he publishes an informative weekly newsletter, The Grapevine, and offers month-long courses to refine your knowledge of wine and food pairing, viticulture and wine history, geography and etiquette. But consult your advisor: Doug’s syllabi are intense (yet affable), and to enroll in upper-level courses, you must’ve fulfilled the necessary pre-reqs.
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bozemans best award Best MD for Blown Knees
Dr. John D. Campbell, MD, Bridger Orthopedics
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bozemans best award Best Pediatricians
Acorn Pediatrics (Bonus: They give books to the kids at every visit to encourage reading.)
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bozemans best award Best Naturopath
Holcombe Johnson/Sweetgrass Natural Medicine
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bozemans best award Best Least Disagreeable Dental Experience
Hays Dental Group
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bozemans best award Best Big Box
REI Bozeman
big boxThis is one of those self-created categories. For the remarkable outreach efforts of the new store, particularly the jellybean selection of informative and free clinics organized by Teresa Larson, this is one big box retailer that has earned a pant-load of positive local acclaim. The rapid-fire schedule includes bike maintenance courses, presentations by regional experts on topics from wolverines to the Peace Corps, hometown athletes like Leif Zimmermann, and more eyebrow-raising additions every week.
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bozemans best award Best Act of God as Economic Stimulator
THE Hailstorm
Virtually all the roofs in our Bozeman neighborhood got thrashed. Correction: make that “every” Bozeman neighborhood. Windshields were rendered to landfill fodder in seconds, vinyl siding all across town looked like backdrops for gruesome Francis Ford Coppola scenes. Then the clouds parted, and there was more labor demand than the town could handle, roofing installation costs doubled by the square, and guys with Florida plates taught us the meaning of PDR. Perhaps those bloodshot mornings in church paid off, because the hailstorm of June 30th did far more for this town’s economy than Washington or Helena ever could.
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bozemans best award Best Canine Indulgence
Canine Aqua Balance Rehab
canine indulgenceAlthough Canine Aqua Balance specializes in getting your injured pooch back on her paws—it boasts an underwater treadmill, an endless pool, and skilled acupuncturists—it also serves as your dog’s favorite day spa. Offering massage therapy and a heated pool devoted to puppy play (Bozeman’s only), Aqua Balance is a hound’s remedy for January creeks that are just too cold. Canis lupus familiaris never had it so good.
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bozemans best award Best Hot Springs
Chico Hot Springs and Resort
hot springsSince before the arrival of the white man, Chico Hot Springs has been Paradise Valley’s destination oasis. Its distinguished guest list includes Teddy Roosevelt, Charlie Russell, Peter Fonda, and Jeff Bridges. But besides its therapeutic waters, celebrity standing, and exquisite amenities—a poolside grill, saloon, and arguably the finest dining in the state—Chico is famed for its paranormal potential. If you seek the “The Lonely Lady,” the ghost of Chico’s original proprietor, Percie Knowles, book Room 349 and follow your nose towards sweet scents of lilac and jasmine. Percie will be waiting.
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bozemans best award Best Happy Hour
Dry Fly Saloon
happy hourYep, it’s a repeat. Last year’s winner didn’t change a thing because they didn’t have to. The Dry Fly offers free food, Monday through Friday from “4:30 to 7:30 or until the food is gone.” Monday night is hot wings, Tuesday brings chili, Wednesday offers beloved tacos, Thursday is… well, you get the picture. We’re talking genuine, Americana grub here, and I once watched a buddy down eight, slider-sized pulled pork sandwiches without so much as a look from the staff. Food quality is good, the tallboys are cheap, and Dan Wycoff’s the kinda bartender you feel like making up stories to impress.
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bozemans best award Best No-tell Motel
The Royal 7 Budget Inn Motel
no-tell motelRule No. One is the Dog’s Rule: you don’t shit where you sleep. But when you’re hot and the little trollop insists on a roof, you’ll need a redoubt that meets the pre-reqs: inconspicuous off-property parking, multiple entrances, escape opportunities at the front and back of the room. The Royal Seven’s got ‘em all, plus it’s a short hop to the interstate, all for $54. The rest is up to you, Lothario.
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bozemans best award Best Place to Get Your Hair Did
Theory Salon
hair salonSure, you can tell people that your hair is its natural color, but you want them to believe you. Theory Salon can conceal those little white lies as well as it masks those little gray hairs. Owners Brittney Murphy and Trevor and Cori Soucie send their colorists and stylists to Bumble & Bumble workshops to ensure their skills are constantly honed. In addition to the fun atmosphere, the actual salon is as chic as their haircuts. If you can manage to keep your eyes open during a scalp massage, enjoy the rotating art exhibitions that adorn the walls.
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bozemans best award Best Mani/Pedi
A Diversified Nails
The folks at Diversified really know their trade. They’ll give you a fast—no fuss—mani or pedi any day of the week and attend to drop-ins with expedience. The quality is top-notch and everyone loves the amazing nail polish options and the largest selection of OPI and Essie in Bozeman. The most random perk (and guilty pleasure): giant flat screens permanently tuned to the Food Network. Paula Deen would be proud.
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bozemans best award Best Wax-on/Wax-off
Egzact Electrolysis
If Mr. Miyagi taught the art of hair removal, Egzact Electrolysis would be his blackbelt protégé. Owner Jes Brown, a licensed electrologist, has been performing wax and electrolysis hair removal in Montana for years. She offers a comfortable and private atmosphere. Whether it’s eyebrows, bikini area . . . or your back (yes, Bozeman Jacks, they do manscaping), Jes has seen it all and then some.
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bozemans best award Best Day Spa
Sage Spa
Simply sitting in the lounge before your service even begins is enough to make you feel rejuvenated. It’s like an indulgent cocoon right in the heart of downtown Bozeman. You’ll begin your spa service right there with a salt scrub foot bath followed by an aromatherapy hand towel. You may have a hard time getting up from their chic leather chairs after that but do—the actual services (massage, facial or anything else on the menu) will be worth it.
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Best Culture
 
bozemans best award Best Art Gallery
Old Main Gallery & Framing
art galleryWhen they first opened the gallery in 1964, Jim and Lynda Brown set the foundation for Bozeman’s vibrant art scene. As one of the town’s initial art galleries, they provided a platform for local artists and spotlighted Bozeman as a legitimate art destination. Old Main also fostered contemporary art in Montana and was the first to feature local artists including the late Freeman Butts. To this day, the Old Main Gallery continues to support Bozeman’s emerging contemporary and traditional artists alike.
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bozemans best award Best Dive Bar
Eagles Lodge
dive barThe Eagles Lodge remains a study of contrasts: a great Main Street location with daily $1.50 beer specials; two floors with live music capabilities and Brady Bunch-era furnishings; and a hotspot for young Bozemanites determined to avoid L.L.Bean-clad tourists. Its unassuming entrance and low-low-key staff make this the most lovable shithole in town.
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bozemans best award Best Place for Live Music
¡Viva Rialto!
live musicThe Filling Station lures some of the region’s best indie and Americana bands, the Zebra Lounge delivers killer hip-hop, while Stacey’s and Upstairs at the Eagles offer prime honkytonk dancing. But as a college town, Bozeman’s live music scene has long neglected the critical under-21 demographic. If this community wants to inflate its musical draw, it demands a venue accessible to minors. We vote to revive the Rialto.
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bozemans best award Best Non-conservation Organization
ROC Wheels
organizationBozeman is known for a strong conservation community determined to preserve its beautiful landscape. But it’s also home to a legion of nonprofits supporting social efforts across the globe. The standout is ROC Wheels. From Port-au-Prince to Baghdad, St. Petersburg to Nairobi, and Lima to the West Bank, ROC Wheels has touched more than 8,000 children with disabilities, providing specialized pediatric wheelchairs. But beyond mobility devices, they strive to educate and empower youth to make positive impacts through service learning and social entrepreneurship.
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bozemans best award Best Athletic Venue that Doesn’t Exist
New Hockey Center
athletic venueExplosive, fierce: these words aptly describe the blitzkrieg fundraising efforts last fall by MSU President Waded Cruzado and the Quarterback Club for the $10 million addition to Bobcat Stadium. But how much action will the big house see? A handful of loud Saturday afternoons in the fall and a few spring scrimmages? Haynes Pavilion currently entertains hockey programs for men and women, young and not-so-much, for over 12 hours a day, seven days a week, nine months out of the year. Come summer, however, they scrap the rink to make way for the farmers’ market. Time for a change.
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bozemans best award Best Place for a Break-up
Montana Ale Works
break upWhen that “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood” moment arrives, the protagonist has a couple standard options: 1) head for the hills, so your insignificant other can go Mount Vesuvius with as little risk to the general population as possible; 2) or make for a crowded joint in hopes the background noise and spectators will dissipate the theatrics. For reasons of self-preservation, we strongly favor the safety of numbers, and there’s nowhere better than Bozeman’s most popular restaurant, Montana Ale Works. Good luck and Godspeed.
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bozemans best award Best Bar to Catch a Fight
The Crystal Bar
catch a fightWhen Bozeman’s sleepy bar scene’s got you down, a Saturday evening sojourn at the Crystal is your only therapy. There, cheap booze flows like wine; college punks slurp vodka Redbulls, and lean cowboys are quick to drown in bottom-shelf bourbon and PBR. You throw a little catalyst into the mix, just for fun, (maybe a slight nudge towards one of those college punks) and the reaction takes off. Polo shirt bumps a pair of skinny Wranglers, and that golden lager foams and sprays. Egos soar and dukes dance. Bozeman does know how to party.
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bozemans best award Best Place to Spend a Rainy Day
Museum of the Rockies
museum of the rockiesThe MOR is accredited by the American Association of Museums, placing them among the top 5% of the 17,500 institutions in the country. Maybe it’s the nationally regarded paleontological exhibit and the influence of dinosaur-celebrity Jack Horner that captivates us. Or it’s the permanent Northern Rockies display telling the tale of our land spanning 4 billion years. But it could also be the diversity of the temporary exhibits ranging from colorful frog ecology to rock-and-roll photography. No matter the exhibition, the short of it is, Bozemanites of all ages are lucky to have the MOR.
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bozemans best award Best Sporting Event
Ed Anacker Bridger Ridge Run
sporting eventWhat do you get when you mix 20 miles of Bridger high country, 6,800 feet of steep climbs, 9,500 feet of technical, rocky descents, 300 participants, wretched weather, a 25-year tradition, mud, blood, tears, and exhausted grimaces of pain and elation? The rite-of-passage to Bozeman citizenship. Signups are May 15th. Better start training.
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bozemans best award Best Area in Need of (More) Civic Love
North Seventh Avenue
civic loveThe direct link from western Montana to Downtown Bozeman, North 7th carries without complaint an estimated eight thousand passing vehicles every day. There’s ample parking, plenty of elbow room, and low real estate overhead. Yet, there’s also a rash of vacancies from Main to Tamarack, buildings that are unsightly or in disrepair, and almost none of those cars stop. While the City and the Urban Renewal Board's work north of Tamarack is encouraging, there remains much to be done, but everyone wants to talk about Bozeman Creek. Wrong life-giving tributary, people.
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bozemans best award Best Yoga Studio
Be the Change Yoga Studio
yogaThe yoga newbie doesn’t want to feel intimidated, and the yoga master wants to feel challenged. Luckily, Be The Change Yoga offers this kind of balance and any other yogi balancing posture you want. Jessi Smith has created a welcoming and intimate yoga studio that makes anyone at any level feel comfortable. The instructors focus on Vinyasa and Kundalini yoga. Great music and a sense of humor are always part of the mix. Expect laughter and serenity all by the time you finish your first down-dog.
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Best Locals
 
bozemans best award Best Athlete
Tanner Roderick
athleteIn the 2010 high school football season, Bozeman’s Tanner Roderick made his opponents look like a field of Pop Warner ankle-biters. His 2,457 passing yards, 1,913 rushing yards, 51 touchdowns (combined), and 63 extra points led the Hawks to a 13-0 season and halted their 93-year title drought. Trading turf for hardwood Roderick is still leading the Hawks, this time towards a state basketball title. With 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game, Roderick is poised to double up on his Gatorade High School Player of the Year honors, a distinction previously reserved for Randy Moss.
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bozemans best award Best Artist
Will Pope
artistWill Pope bucks the cowboy-art humdrum with his colorful and dynamic paintings. His wood panels (canvas is too wuss a term for his mixed media of oil paint, plaster, beeswax and resin) are layered with bright and vivid narratives. No western dustbowls here. His works reflect a boundless and unfenced world where wildlife, cowboys and cowgirls have room to breathe. The images put whimsy and adventure back into our austere landscape, reminding us that the West is still wild—as long as we keep using our imaginations.
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bozemans best award Best Prodigy Author
Christopher Paolini
authorMontana has long been black soil for pioneering, DIY types. So when local author Christopher Paolini decided to write his first novel at the age of 15, no one got in his way. Four years later, Christopher’s parents helped publish his first book, Eragon. Shortly after, Knopf Publishing read a copy and suddenly the kid became "The New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini." Eragon has also become a four-book fantasy/sci-fi series called the Inheritance Cycle—having sold a combined total of over 20 million copies to date. That’s “git’n ‘er done” in our book.
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bozemans best award Best Local Band
Ten Foot Tall & 80 Proof
bandIt really comes down to your flavor of choice, because we’ve got some area options. Hip Hop? Eightrack Mind. Bluegrass? Stormy Creek. Latin? Yes, Latin; check out Poco Loco. Wanna spin around the dance floor, do a little jitterbug or the two-step? None better than Ten Foot Tall & 80 Proof, who just added another great guitarist in Jimmy Lewis. They take the overall prize for the second year in a row, and we heartily recommend catching their show at Stacey’s in Gateway or the Belgrade Lounge.
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bozemans best award Best Jewelry Designer
Melissa Steinhauer/Yellow Studio Design
jewelry designerIf you spend much time in Bozeman, chances are you have seen someone wearing a piece of jewelry by Yellow Studio Design. Melissa Steinhauer has created a line of incredibly distinct jewelry in a town overflowing with jewelry designers. Her pieces shine so memorably in part because of her method. Her beautifully pigmented designs are made by mixing resin with specific “ingredients” like black sand from Maui, dirt from Montana or ground up Sweet Tart candy. Not only are her pieces recognizable, they are also one-of-a-kind time capsules. And before you even ask, you cannot eat the pieces made with Sweet Tarts.
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bozemans best award Best New University President
Dr. Waded Cruzado
university presidentRemember that old song by Cinderella, “Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘til It’s Gone?” Okay, maybe that’s just us, but we haven’t heard anyone use those words in reference to MSU’s former front man, Geoffrey Gamble. As for the new gal, she’s five-foot nothin’, got a 95-octane smile, and could raise millions on a three-day weekend in summer. Bozeman loves Dr. Cruzado, even if her Caribbean upbringing might have her exploring other professional options amidst another snowy Montana May.
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Best Culture
 
bozemans best award Best Two-Faced Political Grandstanding
Sen. Jason Priest, R-Red Lodge
politicalIn a 2010 candidacy speech, Jason Priest identified that “state government is responsible to reign in the excess of the federal government.” But as a senator, Priest fought to promote the elimination of greenhouse gas regulations, the reduction of benefits for small-scale renewable energy generators, and the prohibition of energy efficient building codes. In short: he fought to create a climate prime for businesses like Optimal Auctions—his own Texas-based corporation that sells energy to utility companies. Who is going to reign in your excess, Mr. Priest?
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bozemans best award Best Poorly-conceived Bill from the 2011 Montana Legislature
House Bill 549

bill of legislatureMontana’s 2011 legislative session was wrought with the tireless debate of critical issues. Our civil servants discussed big-game spear hunting (SB 112), the creation of armed militias (HB 278), panels to nullify federal laws (HB 382), acceptance of guns in schools (HB 558), and the withdrawal of the US from the United Nations (SJ 2). But Joe Read, R-Ronan, penned the cream of the session with House Bill 549: “Global warming is beneficial to the welfare of Montana.” We’re with you, Joe. Our grizzly bears, forests, fisheries, and ski hills may not agree, but a little boost to the thermometer, that’s just gotta be good, right?
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bozemans best award Best New Ugly New Building
the City's Sand Hut on North Rouse
ugly buildingIt's well known that building anything larger than a birdhouse in Bozeman requires
an approval process with a survival rate worse than K2. Good news, those bleak days are bygone, as the City has obviously loosened the reins. Take the new Sand Hut as an example. At the lighted intersection of state highway 86 and Griffin Drive, it's an unquestionably hi-viz spot on an entryway corridor to downtown. And it looks like Paul Bunyan's pup tent.
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bozemans best award Best Bozeman Police Log Entries
police logsOption A: “A caller had questions about trading a gun for a trailer.”
Option B: “Someone dumped half a dozen deer carcasses on a man’s property on North 7th overnight.”
Option C: “A woman said she went to work and her husband went skiing after they had a “heated conversation.” A deputy talked to her about “appropriate and mature methods of dealing with heated conversations.” ”
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bozemans best award Best Ridiculous Waste of Chronicle Ink
Parker Heinlein, 9 December 2010

waste of inkYou already know that this town has an off-the-charts percentage of college grads. You realize its placement in the middle of a sportsman’s utopia teeming with fish and game. Now consider that the local AP’s hunting expert lives eons away in Malta, Montana, and pens turd-nuggets like this from December: “Wolves are like women; you can’t live with them and you can’t shoot them.” There’s just one question that remains: why does this man still have a job?
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bozemans best award Best Place to Get Hit by a Car While Riding a Bike
Anywhere on the North Side
hit by carAttention cyclists: Bozeman police say that they are three times more likely to scrape your DNA off of a northside street than from southside pavement. Seventy seven percent of the bicycle vs. motor vehicle accidents reported in 2009 and 2010 occurred on or north of Main Street. Bozeman’s critical arteries, North 7th and the Peach/Durston byway, were the major culprits, accounting for over one third of the accidents. Better don your helmets, Northsiders.
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bozemans best award Best Nonprofit Soap Opera NOT on 60 Minutes
American Wildlands

soap operaFor 32 years American Wildlands has been integral in the Northern Rockies conservation effort. It focused on the protection of roadless areas, helped pioneer advocacy for the preservation of wildlife corridors, and created models to map critical wildlife habitat. But, in 2009, Wildlands experienced intra-organizational turmoil, shuffled most of its staff, and enlisting a new Chief Executive in a matter of months. Despite this, it was quick to revive it mission, that is until this past March, when staffers attempted to enter its Main Street office, and were surprised with locked doors. Permanently locked.
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bozemans best award Best National Drubbing of a Local Politician
Rep. Bob Wagner, R-Harrison, vs. Anderson Cooper

drubbing of local politicianThe setting: on February 16th, Cooper invited the Republican State Representative to a live interview to back up Wagner’s ‘Birther’ bill. The showdown (link to video): it was Tyson-Frazier all over again, with a ghastly amount of blood and Wagner’s face smeared across the canvas—all after one short round. Let the resounding embarrassment brought on our state be a lesson to valley voters: don't vote for letters, vote for people.
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