Montana Mint, with readers’ help, to crown top athletes


The Montana Mint has released a list of the top 16 athletes in Montana history and is asking fans to vote for their top four. On Feb. 12, the website will crown the “Mount Rushmore” of Montana sports.

The Montana Mint, which says its simple mission is to “Bring the best of Montana to the Internet,” compiled its list of top 16 athletes after polling its fans through various social media platforms.

Those athletes are Brock Osweiler, Colt Anderson, Dan Carpenter, Dane Fletcher, Dave Dickenson, Dave McNally, Dwan Edwards, Evel Knievel, Josh Huestis, Kroy Biermann, Larry Krystkowiak, Laser, Ryan Leaf, Todd Foster, the Zadick Brothers, and the 1904 Fort Shaw Women’s Basketball Team.

The Montana Mint story on the competition started like this:

Who is the best athlete ever to come out of Montana? Finding an answer to this question has resulted in thousands, perhaps MILLIONS of hour of debate … and the Montana Mint wants to find an answer.

After polling the Mint community, we developed a list of the top 16. We are turning to the Montana Mint community to name the best. Instead of asking you to name just your number one choice, we’re asking for a “Top 4.” The Mount Rushmore of Montana Sports, if you will.


In making the top 16, we looked at an athlete’s post-high school career (apologies to Mike Chavez and Mike Warhank). The best high school athlete in Montana history will be an article for another day. We also only included people that are identified as Montanans. It is true that John Elway played Little Grizzly football in Missoula, but we determined that Montana does not really claim him. Same goes for Phil Jackson.

The story goes into exhaustive detail on each athlete, pair or group of athletes, including biographies, the case for and against each nominee and some expert analysis from the “Montana Mint Superfans.”

Also, the story says, “Some athletes are paired up because their careers were so intertwined.  So you can vote for the Zadick brothers or the 1904 Fort Shaw women’s basketball team and it will count for one vote.  It just did not feel right separating them.  You leave the logistics of carving all those faces into a mountain up to us.”

And because the Montana Mint wants to reach as many Montana sport fans as possible, it has made all of its material available free of charge to other media outlets, including Last Best News.

We decided to give you this condensed version, allowing you to go to the Montana Mint for all the many details. And when you’re done, you can go directly to the website’s Google poll and cast your vote.

Your Last Best News correspondent almost feels like voting for Larry Krystkowiak, out of residual guilt. My first newspaper job was in the Anaconda Bureau of the (Butte) Montana Standard.

I had to cover everything in those days, including high school sports, and I believe I was at the game in which Krystkowiak made his debut in Anaconda, playing for Missoula’s Big Sky High School.

After I watched the game, wrote it up and shipped the story over to Butte, I went home. Mrs. Kemmick asked me how the game was. I briefly told her, adding, “Big Sky had a really tall player, but all he had was height. I don’t think he’ll amount to much.”

Fortunately, that was one of the few sports predictions I ever made.

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