MISSOULA – Growing giant pumpkins, caring for fragile dinosaur eggs, protecting unique boulders and playing a final musical tribute are the storylines for a new episode of the popular MontanaPBS travelogue series “Backroads of Montana.” The program premieres at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, on MontanaPBS, with a preview showing at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21.
The program follows a Polson man’s summerlong quest to grow Montana’s heaviest pumpkin. “Backroads” Producer Ray Ekness chronicled the journey from seed planting to a weigh-off that brought imposing gourd entries from all over the region.
The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center near Bynum was just closing up its public summer digs program when Producer Gus Chambers arrived to observe how a nest of dinosaur eggs is swaddled in protective coating to survive the Montana winter.
Near Geraldine, Chambers followed Hank Armstrong, a quiet man who’s made it his hobby and passion to conserve and protect the scenic Square Butte area, including a rock quarry that has produced some of Montana’s most important monuments.
Shelby’s Ray Zell never misses a local Memorial Day or military funeral. Producer John Twiggs caught up with the 99-year-old trumpeter, who may be the oldest veteran to play taps for his fellow servicemen on their final passage.
William Marcus hosts the program from Ennis during the annual Hunters Feed on Main Street, where locals cook up wild game dishes to share with their neighbors and visitors.
“Backroads of Montana” is supported by the Greater Montana Foundation, which encourages communications on issues, trends and values of importance to present and future generations of Montanans; the Big Sky Film Grant; and the University of Montana.
MontanaPBS is a collaborative statewide service of KUFM-TV at the University of Montana and KUSM-TV at Montana State University. Check local listings for channel numbers.
Previous episodes of the program can be seen online at http://watch.montanapbs.org/ or checked out at city/county libraries across the state.