By Gabriella DiCenzo Content Marketing Intern
BIG SKY– Originally beginning as a humble hunting camp in 1946, Buck’s T-4, founded by Buck and Helen Knight, was complete with cabins, meals and guided pack trips for a mere $12 per day. In 1950, two of these cabins were ingeniously combined to create the present-day bar. With Buck tending to patrons at the bar and Helen conjuring her culinary magic in the kitchen, Buck’s T-4 swiftly became a cherished Montana roadhouse for locals, hunters and tourists alike. Today, being a part of this legacy is considered a true privilege by the staff and visitors.
In this edition of Making it in Big Sky, we had the opportunity to speak with Mandy Hotovy, general manager at The Wilson hotel, who sheds light on the newly found partnership between these two iconic establishments and the now extended range of event spaces and dining experiences. Mandy provides a tantalizing glimpse into the upcoming season, full of additional offerings and unique experiences for residents and tourists.
This series is part of a paid partnership with the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce. The following answers have been edited for brevity.
Explore Big Sky: Tell me about the relationship between The Wilson and Buck’s T-4.
Mandy Hotovy: When we first found out that Buck’s T-4 would become a part of the portfolio, everyone was extremely excited to combine forces. We now provide additional event space and dining options for our leisure and group guests. We work together from a staffing perspective which is extremely helpful, collaborating on new visions while focusing on bringing awareness to the area.
EBS: How does it feel to work alongside this staple of Big Sky history?
MH: It’s been a true privilege. Some of our staff still remembers the time when they first visited Big Sky as a child and dined at Buck’s T-4. The food, the atmosphere and especially the people consistently warm your heart. We are all honored to be a part of the Buck’s family and to help keep the tradition alive.
EBS: What can visitors look forward to in the coming season?
MH: Now that we’ve added a few more properties to the mix, we are looking to provide our visitors and our residents additional offerings. For example, we will continue our Sunday Brunch at Block 3, Monday, Thursday, and Sunday night Football at Tips Up, wine pairing dinners at Buck’s T-4 and monthly concerts and tastings at The Wilson.
EBS: Are you familiar with the history of Buck’s T-4; could we get a brief background on it?
MH: Yes, Buck’s T-4 was established in 1946 by Buck and Helen Knight. It started out as a hunting camp and then in 1950, the bar that we all love, was built and it became a favorite Montana roadhouse for locals, hunters and tourists. After Buck and Helen sold the bar and restaurant, the new owners expanded the property to what we see today. A few years ago, Lone Mountain Land Company purchased Buck’s T-4 knowing that it’s a special place for locals and for visitors alike. We continue to help celebrate special occasions with our guests and provide an unforgettable meal while they connect with family and friends.
EBS: What other services aside from great meals and hotel accommodations do you provide?
MH: Between Buck’s T-4 and The Wilson Hotel, we are now handcrafting guest experiences by providing concierge services, welcome packages for special occasions, buyout packages within our restaurants/bars and music events in our lobby and pool area while offering pool passes for the local community. There is a little something for everyone!
EBS: Tell me about your team—what makes all this work possible and what is the best thing about working with them each day?
MH: We are a very diverse group of individuals and bring something fun and different to the table every day. We recognize none of us could do our job without the other. This is what keeps our passion strong. That, and knowing that one of us will always be doing a coffee run daily. It’s all about the support we have for one another!
EBS: Anything else you’d like to tell the Big Sky community?
MH: We repeat it often I know, yet we are all in this together. As everyone knows, working in a resort town has its challenges, and we hope to provide as much continued support as possible.
EBS: What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
MH: First and foremost, always treat others with respect and compassion. Second, remember that we live in Montana for a reason, so focus on a great work/life balance. Third, put your whole heart into everything that you do and take every situation as an opportunity to grow. Lastly, dress for success, even in Montana!