New ‘Backroads of Montana’ Episode Makes Connections

May 08, 2015

MISSOULA – A new episode of the popular “Backroads of Montana” series will premiere at 8 p.m. Monday, May 18, on MontanaPBS.

Subtitled “Making Connections,” the program introduces viewers to Iris Dodge, who was inspired to record the vanishing cowboy life in paint and poems. Producer Gus Chambers attended the opening of Dodge’s art show at the Western Heritage Center in Billings, then hit the road to Wilsall, Ennis and Alder to meet some of the men she painted – and learn how to pronounce “Wilsall.”

At the annual Lineman’s Rodeo in Butte, producer John Twiggs watched professionals and amateurs show off their skills while brushing up on the latest safety techniques. The friendly competition gives linemen a chance to catch up with colleagues in their demanding profession that keeps the power on in Montana.

In Jefferson City, producer Ray Ekness spent a warm August afternoon walking along Prickly Pear Creek amid the beautiful flowers, plants and trees of the Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum, which may be the prettiest six acres in Montana.

The energy and humor of Roz Kristofferson, an 84-year-old dance instructor in Kalispell, brings the program to a graceful finale. As Twiggs found, Kristofferson’s students learn that dance technique can make for lasting connections.

William Marcus hosts the program from the annual Creston Auction and Country Fair just east of Kalispell, where thousands of people turn out each April to bid on everything from chain saws to heirloom antiques.

“Backroads of Montana” is funded by the Greater Montana Foundation, the Montana Office of Tourism and the University of Montana.

MontanaPBS is composed of KUFM-TV in Missoula and KUSM-TV in Bozeman and is a statewide service of UM and Montana State University. Check local listings for the channel or visit  

Contact: William Marcus, host, “Backroads of Montana,”, 406-243-4154,