WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, Mont. — Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen visited election officials, businesses, and middle school students in White Sulphur Springs this week. During the trip, Secretary Jacobsen discussed upcoming elections, celebrated continued business growth, and explained the importance of the constitution to students.
“White Sulphur Springs is a great example of a community filled with opportunity,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “It’s always great to visit with our Montana neighbors about their success, from the beautiful school to the thriving businesses, many which boast history of more than 50 years.”
Secretary Jacobsen’s trip began at the Meagher County Courthouse, visiting with Clerk and Recorder Penny Plachy and Deputy Clerk and Recorder Liv West ahead of the May 3 school election and June 7 primary.
Meagher County has more than 1,300 registered voters.
“Thank you to Penny, Liv, and the volunteers in Meagher County for their hard work and dedication in preparation for this busy election season. Their experience conducting elections is a benefit to the voters of Meagher County,” said Secretary Jacobsen.
Just down the road, Sarah Calhoun has turned her business, Red Ants Pants, into a nationally recognized brand. Calhoun, who was raised on a farm in rural Connecticut, discussed with Secretary Jacobsen her journey’s beginning designing women’s work pants, and how she operates the storefront, distribution center, and international headquarters all in White Sulphur Springs.
Today, Red Ants Pants offers various styles of clothing and accessories.
Calhoun also created the Red Ants Pants Foundation to “develop and expand leadership roles for women, to preserve and support working family farms and ranches, (and) to enrich and promote rural communities.” The non-profit is funded by the annual Red Ants Pants Music Festival, which brings thousands of visitors and their tourism dollars to Meagher County each summer.
“Sarah Calhoun and Red Ants Pants are a true Montana success story and an example of how a dream can become a reality,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “Along with the charming clothing line and the famous music festival, Calhoun’s work to create opportunities for women and efforts to bring revenue to the area are incredible.”
Right next door on East Main Street, the Hedrich family recently celebrated the six-year anniversary of the 2 Basset Brewery. Owners Barry and Chris Hedrich, along with children Hank and Molly, have also attracted thousands of customers to White Sulphur Springs to sample the dozen or so brews on tap. Visitors are also eager to hear the stories of Leroy and Stanley, the basset hounds that helped start it all.
“The Hedrich family has turned passion, both the brews and the bassets, into a prosperous business with a friendly atmosphere,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “The 2 Basset Brewery is an excellent place to meet friends and make new ones thanks to the vision of the Hedrichs.”
The history of White Sulphur Springs can be found on display at Berg Garage, which recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Patriarch Helmar Berg founded the business in Martinsdale in 1919, selling cars and delivering freight. The business expanded to White Sulphur Springs years later where it served as a GM dealer until 2010. Today, Berg Garage is a Conoco gas supplier and automotive service station that has become a necessity in the community.
Secretary Jacobsen presented Berg Garage with a 100-year certificate.
“The history of Berg Garage is incredible,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “To be family owned and operated for more than a century is exceptional. Community members continue to rely on the fine service provided by Berg Garage.”
Secretary Jacobsen was also pleased to visit with teacher Nick Coughlin and his eighth-grade students to discuss the importance of the Montana and U.S. Constitutions, as well as the YouthVote Program and Montana’s “What Does the U.S. Constitution Mean to Me?” contest. Secretary Jacobsen also took questions from the students, including one with aspirations of running for public office.
“I love when students have such a vested interest in our state’s political procedures,” said Secretary Jacobsen. “Mr. Coughlin and the students are clearly educated in Montana and U.S. government and I look forward to their participation in our YouthVote and Constitution Contest. Thank you, Mr. Coughlin, for educating our youth about civics and government.”
“As Secretary of State, it’s always an honor to meet with the officials that run our elections, the businesses that boost Montana’s economy, and the students who are the future of our great state,” Secretary Jacobsen added.