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Big Sky Chamber of Commerce announces annual award-winners

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By Abbie Digel

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce honored two local businesses and one individual at their annual meeting, located at 320 Guest Ranch on June 22.

The theme of the evening, which revolved around a gourmet meal, drinks and lively conversation, was the appreciation for all members who put their trust into the Chamber to represent their best interests. Marne Hayes, Executive Director of the Chamber, acknowledged that businesses are all in a “pattern of recovery, and are rediscovering what it is going to take to make us thrive and succeed in Big Sky.”

Big Sky Arts Council was honored with Non-Profit of the Year because of their continued efforts in bringing the arts to Big Sky. With a board of directors made up of local volunteers, the Arts Council’s newest addition to their summer line-up is the first annual Classical Music Festival, also a free event.

“Motivation from the community is what drives us,” said Donna Thompson, President of the Arts Council. “We’re bringing great entertainment in a cost efficient way by listening to what the community wants and hopefully fulfilling everyone’s musical interests… I’m proud of our board. They work so hard.” Thompson also wanted to recognize Brian Hurlbut, who adds creative energy in bringing the arts to Big Sky.

Lance Child, who won Community Member of the year, has been involved in various projects in the Big Sky community and was most recently voted into a trustee seat on the Ophir School board. A resident of Big Sky since 1999, Child has two children who attend Ophir, and has been the assistant basketball coach since 2008. He also sits on the Resort Tax Board, and was part of the Board’s recent key decision making and money allocations. Child is a private mortgage banker for Wells Fargo.

The Outlaw Partners, a marketing and consulting services firm, won Business of the Year. The Outlaw Partners’ team has tripled in size in the past year. They also acquired the Big Sky Weekly, and now publish Mountain Outlaw, a bi-annual, full color, regional magazine exploring lifestyle, land and culture in Southwest Montana.

“The Outlaw Partners is very committed to be a lasting part of the Big Sky community, and we greatly appreciate this award,” said Eric Ladd, CEO and founder of the Outlaw Partners.

Quinn Johnsen, owner of Choppers Grub and Pub, and a client of the firm, said “Outlaw has helped me discover previously untapped business potential.” Recently, Outlaw developed a new brand platform for Choppers, creating a new menu and guiding the business with key marketing decisions.

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