Backroads of Montana features smalltown Montana


Backroads of Montana: Sharpshooters,” a new episode in the popular MontanaPBS travelogue series, premieres statewide at 8 p.m. Monday, May 23, on MontanaPBS.

The 42nd episode in the 25-yearlong series begins in Great Falls, where producer John Twiggs met Leah Walbon, a remarkable woman with a sharp eye at the pool table. She’ll sink a few shots and share stories from her extraordinary 100-year life.

In Lincoln, Twiggs followed members of the Sitch family, who run a co-ed basketball tournament that keeps their late father’s memory alive. Pete Sitch, who died in a logging accident, was a strong supporter of local sports. The tournament celebrates athletics and good sportsmanship.

In Billings, producer Ray Ekness visited Lou Adler, the “King of the One-Armed Bandits.” He buys, sells and restores antique slot machines. At any one time, he has nearly 300 machines, in what his wife calls “a hobby gone wrong.”

The Alberton High School Panthers might be the most-photographed team in Class C sports. Producer Gus Chambers met Rae Deschamps, who has patrolled the sidelines for more than 40 years, snapping big plays, small miracles and thousands of memories. With Alberton combining with Superior for sports, Rae’s career may be coming to an end.

William Marcus hosts the program from the historic M&M Bar in uptown Butte.

“Backroads of Montana” and Backroads of Montana: Sharpshooters are made possible by grants from the Greater Montana Foundation, The Montana Film Office and the University of Montana. Check local listings for channels.

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published