Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, we’ll be finding out what it’s like to live 200 miles from your nearest neighbor as we visit Montana, so let’s get started…
* Montana became the 41st state on November 8th, 1889. It was originally settled by a herd of moose who eventually lost the territory to white settlers in a poker game.
* Seems that moose always twitch their antlers when they’re bluffing.
* The first large-scale vigilante force was formed to police the lawless Montana Territory in 1884. More enthusiastic than legally savvy, they would frequently hang wandering cattle for rustling themselves.
* Montana’s nickname is “The Nervous Sheep State”.
* It was legal to drink while driving in Montana until October 1, 2005, when the Kennedy Prevention Act was finally passed.
* The Bitterroot is the state flower of Montana. The root is so bitter that eating it is actually forbidden by law, lest the person eating it turn into a Democrat.
* After years of Montana having no speed limit on its highways, it was finally set at 65mph in 1999, effectively killing the state’s antelope drag-racing industry.
* In Butte, Montana, it’s legal to shoot anyone who deliberately mispronounces the city’s name and giggles.
* Montana is believed to have the largest grizzly bear population in the US, although the number may include some of the local women who were counted by mistake.
* The state song of Montana is “What’s That Bear Doing In The Woods?”
* Montana gets its name from the Spanish word for “moose chalupa”.
* The state tree of Montana is the Ponderosa Pine, which has a much better salad bar than the Bonanza Pine.
* The state bird of Montana is the Meadowlark, which terrorizes the skies above the state’s human residents much as their prehistoric pterodactyl ancestors did.
* The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem included in the Crown Jewels of England, except for the Texas Yee Haw Diamond.
* In 1888, Helena, Montana, had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world. In 1889, God sent a plague of elk to devour them all for their sinful ways.
* The population density of Montana is 6 people per square mile. About the same as a Dixie Chicks concert.
* The first bobsled track in North America was built at Lolo Pass, Montana in 1965 in the hopes that it would enable the American Olympic team to finally defeat those feisty Jamaicans.
* Combination, Comet, Keystone, and Pony are some of the quaintly-named Montana ghost towns from which the Brady Bunch have successfully escaped.
* Virginia City, Montana was founded in 1863 and has remained completely unchanged for the last 100 years, much like the Democratic Party.
* The highest point in Montana is Granite Peak, which stands 12,799 feet tall, give or take a mountain goat.
* The world’s largest glacier is in Montana’s Glacier National Park, where it has been carefully preserved inside the world’s largest glass of Scotch.
* Glacier National Park also boasts the world’s most elaborate security system, which was specifically designed to keep Ted Kennedy out.
* The mountains of Montana have yielded a treasure trove of prehistoric artifacts over the years, including dinosaur eggs, and a speech by Howard Dean from his sane period.
* The Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument is located just south of Billings, Montana, and marks the spot where General Custer and his men were slaughtered by Plains Indians for not tipping their waitresses at the casino.
* The “Going to the Sun Road” in Glacier Park, Montana, is considered one of the most scenic drives in America, second only to New Jersey’s “Toxic Waste Trail”.
* In Montana, the elk, deer, and antelope populations outnumber the humans, but they are not allowed to vote because of Apartheid.
* To this day, Nelson Mandelka remains a political prisoner in Billings.
* The Roe River near Great Falls, Montana, is the world’s shortest river. At 58 feet, it’s 10 feet shorter than the drool-trail left typically left by Michael Moore while entering a McDonald’s.
* Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel was born in Butte, Montana. Despite his many legendary stunts, he never did manage to make it across Springfield Gorge on his skateboard.
That wraps up the Montana edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll likely be murdered by feral Corn-Children as we visit Nebraska.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get a Moose Chalupa.
[The complete e-book version of “Fun Facts About the 50 States” is now available at Amazon.com. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps for your web browser, smartphone, computer, or tablet from Amazon.com]