Notes From the Road: The Kinds of Men You’ll Meet in Montana’s Yellowstone Country

In preparation for your next trip to a Yellowstone Country public establishment (re: bar), I’ve done the dirty work of uncovering and identifying many of the wild male species that roam unbridled through the streets. Have a look (and maybe have a laugh) and see if you meet any of these usual suspects:

The Powder Hound
Probably the most concentrated group in population in Yellowstone Country, the Powder Hound doesn’t understand when the rest of us get excited for summer, unless we’re talking about summer skiing in the Beartooths. Unfortunately, unless you’re a respectable skier in your own right, you will find yourself with absolutely nothing to talk about. There’s too much of a slang-uage barrier.

Benefit: You’ll never need to look at the snow report on your own again.
Drawback: Half his wardrobe is Gore-Tex; he wears ski pants in July.
Classic Line: “You wanna head to the Patagonia 40% off sale?”

Sir Bikes-a-lot
Pedal or motor, this guy can’t get enough of being on two wheels. He works at a bike shop, owns more bikes than you do pairs of underwear and his other car is a bike. You can pick him out of a crowd easily; just look for the guy with grease under his nails and a rag in his back pocket. Or the one wearing a bike lock to the bar.

Benefit: Together, you’ll save the environment, one ride at a time.
Drawback: Even his “nice shirt” is stained with grease.
Classic Line: “You know your wheels are out of alignment?”

The Motorhead
This guy could make a tractor run right with a paper clip and some spit, but he’s usually spending his weekend shining up his F-150 or racing around the trails on his dirt bike. He’s more than happy to haul you and your skis into the backcountry on his snowmobile, but don’t ask him to stick around; he’d rather be chasing his own fresh pow on the back of his sled.

Benefit: You’ll never have to pay for a mechanic.
Drawback: Unless you like to hang out in a garage all the time (or know how to ride a dirt bike), quality time is nonexistent.
Classic line: “Are those your fingerprints on my window?”

The Cowboy
In a place that requires horse riding to round up cattle or bison, it’s no surprise that we have real, live cowboys (or, more commonly, ranch hands) stirring up the local scene. Most of them wear cowboy hats un-ironically and cowboy boots out of necessity and never pass up a chance to show you what they can do with a lariat.

Benefit: He won’t complain when you head to the local legion club and ask him to swing you around the dance floor.
Drawback: Sometimes the chaw of chew gets in the way of comprehensible speech.
Classic Line: “Hey there, little lady.”

The Easterner
We don’t mean the ones from the coast. Eastern Montana is host to all sorts of jobs in the oil industry, but not really host to anything, well, fun to do. In order to take advantage of their disposable income, they sometimes rent places in Yellowstone Country so they can get away and play in our gorgeous backyard on the weekends.

Benefit: You never feel bad about making him buy the first round of drinks … or any round, for that matter.
Drawback: Like unicorns, they’re hard to find and even harder to nail down.
Classic Line: “Yellowstone Park? Where’s that?

The Yellowstone Country Native
Born and bred in Yellowstone Country, this guy’s entire life has been a time-lapse video featuring everything from the development of downtowns to the sheer population explosion. Generally positive about all the flight to Yellowstone Country (because a high school class of 19 doesn’t really bode well for new dating prospects), he does like to remind you of the, “Good ol’ days,” before you got here.

Benefit: He knows every bartender, traffic cop and meter maid, which means free drinks, speed limit grace windows and parking warnings instead of tickets.
Drawback: Those “Good ol’ days” stories can get old real fast.
Classic Line: “I remember when [important highway] was just a two-lane dirt road.”

And don’t worry. One of these days, I’ll get around to posting an article on the women you’ll meet in Montana’s Yellowstone Country.

Have you met any of these characters?