Traveling up hwy 141 in Montana’s Blackfoot valley, the “blink and you’ll miss it” warning could hardly be more appropriate if you hope to glimpse the little town of Helmville. From afar, its little gradeschool, community hall, two churches, and the world famous Copper Queen bar could easily be mistaken for a modest ranch building complex. But as many before have found, if you take a moment to stop in and visit, you may never want to leave.
As pioneers began to filter into the valley for the first time, they immediately recognized the beauty of the Blackfoot watershed. In a letter to his brother back in Virginia, John Moore, an ancestor of one side of the Mannix family, had this to say upon arriving in the valley:
I left the states on the 22nd of Feb 1867 and arrived on the golden soil of MT on the last of June following. You would probably like to hear something about MT, the Eldorado of the world. Her agricultural lands are unsurpassed, her mineral lands inexhaustible. I live in the Rocky Mountains, the backbone of the American continent. Here the altitude is high up and healthy. I mean higher in the mountains where the treasure’s of North America are locked up. The arable lands are confined to valleys alone, and with proper cultivation they largely remunerate the farmer for his industry, while the hills and mountain lands are steep, rugged, and rocky, but produce a luxuriant and nutritious grass, affording splendid pasture to the stock grower.
Those who are familiar with present day Helmville have come to love its fiercely proud and tight knit agricultural community, not to mention the abundance of wildlife and natural beauty native to the valley. Events like the annual September “turkey shoot”, November craft bazaar, and Labor Day Rodeo have always been popular with locals, and are well attended by folks from across the region.
See more of the Labor day Rodeo