True West Magazine listed our beloved town of Ennis, MT as an honorable mention of “Towns to Experience Cowboy Culture”. The article describes how American Western towns are determined to remain strong in the upcoming year, despite the effects of COVID-19. Many travelers and history lovers have remained home to stay safe during the pandemic, slowing down the traffic of tourist travel to many of these towns that rely heavily on the attraction of their history. Luckily, these old western towns have seen their own booms and busts since their inception!
The article mentions, “Internationally famous for trout fishing, Ennis is a crossroads city on the ‘Vigilante Trail,’ a scenic and historic byway between Butte and West Yellowstone.” (Peter Corbett, True West Magazine). Most locals to the area are more than familiar with Montana’s history during the gold rush of the 1860s where the road agent group the Innocents and leader Henry Plummer stirred up rift-raft during the lawless times.
Keeping up the tradition, Ennis, MT hosts their annual Independence Day parade and rodeo right in town for spectators all around to see and celebrate. Our local agent and resident, Toni Bowen, weighs in on the event:
"The festivities begin with the rodeo on the evening of July 3rd and the three saloons, the brewery, and the distillery all do a booming business. Trucks park along Main Street days before the fourth, just to make sure they have a good spot for viewing the parade. The day of the Fourth always starts out with an early morning pancake breakfast hosted by the Madison Valley Fire Department, just north of town. Classic car enthusiasts can check out a car show on the lawn of the Sportsman's Lodge as they make their way back into town for the start of the parade at 10 AM. But you have to have your spot staked out early! The parade route is packed and everyone enjoys the enthusiastic participants on floats, on foot, in interesting vehicles, and on horseback. Following the parade, crowds head up to the Madison Valley Veterans Memorial at the west end of Main Street where a very patriotic and solemn service is held to honor veterans and to dedicate the new memorial bricks to be placed in the wall. This adds emphasis to the meaning of the holiday.
Next, there is always a barbeque in the Park in the center of town, plus all the saloons and restaurants are open all over town. At 2:00 PM, the second rodeo begins in the rodeo grounds west of town, and after all that dust and yelling, everyone heads back down to Main Street to the saloons! It is hard to describe the energy and festive excitement of the Fourth of July in Ennis, MT, but it is not to be missed. And if you are still standing after all of this and can take any more fun, when dusk arrives, everyone heads up the mountain to Virginia City for the fireworks display!"