Dusting off the old ones: July 3, 1998

Stephen Kalb-Koenigsfeld, Pioneer Editor
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these, but I was trying to think of what might be fun for everyone. I took a trip through the archives and found 1998 staring blankly back at me, as I was at it. 

July 1998 wasn’t that long ago, but then again, it was 20 years ago. I was a year into my first contract as a big brother, as my sister just surpassed her first birthday. But here in Sweet Grass County, there was plenty going on to keep everyone occupied within the news. 

Stillwater Mine

On this date, it was printed the Stillwater Mine Company (SMC) gave a tour of the East Boulder River to local government officials, forest service officials and the Department of Environmental Quality. 

SMC was in the “exploration phase” of their platinum-group metals mine. 

Featured on the front page of the paper was a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). It was working to reach a reserve of metals at the end of the tunnel. It was reported the TBM was ready maneuver its way through two or three thousand feet of limestone, before traveling another 15 to 17 thousand feet to the J-M Reef, which was rich in metal ores.

Pictures and the story gave a glimpse at life down at the mine in 1998. 

In other news

Local search and rescue members received some training and information from the 40th Rescue Flight at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. Featured in a picture next to the chopper is Alan Ronneberg and Kerry O’Connell from the Sweet Grass County Search and Rescue squad. 

The helicopter and its crew instructed local officials about the way the chopper could be used in backcountry search and rescue scenarios. 


Big Timber was treated to the NRA rodeo at the fairgrounds — in similar fashion to Sweet Grass Fest — back in 1998. Dave Utten, J.D. Bassett and Ted Gollaher were featured in their respective events, working rope, ride and wrestle their way to the top. 

Rodeo times also featured a massive parade right downtown, which could have been mistaken for this past week’s events.