Sean R Heavey: Blog en-us Copyright Sean R. Heavey - All Rights Reserved (Sean R Heavey) Sun, 08 Jan 2023 14:54:00 GMT Sun, 08 Jan 2023 14:54:00 GMT Sean R Heavey: Blog 120 75 For the Glory Final Gold Fleet Race of the day at the 2020 Ice Sailing North American Championship on Fort Peck Lake, Montana

Video picks up on the 2nd lap heading towards the windward mark.  US 44 in the lead with US 4926 and US 5166 closing fast.

]]> (Sean R Heavey) ice ice sailing IDNIYRA Montana racing Sun, 01 Nov 2020 03:05:19 GMT
To the World's and back A few weeks ago I had only heard of Ice boat racing... A sport where they reach freeway speeds while skimming across the ice.

Years back I saw a photo, my wife's friend spouse did it, and meet another man who had a boat. Intrigued I was but the opportunity to see it in person was never presented itself. That is until I was on my way home from a trip and my phone notified me of a text saying that the North American championship for the DN Class Ice Yacht Racing Association was coming to a lake near me.  ... IDNIYRA for more info ...

This was not just a weekend day race but the whole North American Championship and the hundreds of competitors that participate.  

What's a guy to do who has been intrigued for years now.  Remember they go freeways speeds on ice!  One's got to clear the schedule and go take pictures... Right?  Thanks to you who allowed me to reschedule...

Not to bore you with the rest of the details but during the event I shot a drone video that was called "the best the sport has ever seen".  The video soon took on a viral following and next thing I know an invitation was offered for me to join the American delegation as they travel to Sweden for the World Championships.

After a outpouring of support from friends and total strangers I was on my way to Europe.  On a personal note I can't even begin to thank you all.  I am truly grateful!!

What an adventure, what an experience... Pretty cool for an independent photographer from the Middle of Nowhere, Montana

But I'm not a writer so I'll quit trying but I do take pictures and what do they say?  Something about a picture is worth a thousand words...  So grab a cup of coffee and zone out for a few.  

Here is the Drone video of the final Gold Cup race that started it all...


Here's a slideshow of the photos from the North American Championship ... full gallery here


And here's a slideshow of the World Championships ... full gallery here

From the Middle of Nowhere to the Worlds and back again...  what an amazing way to start 2020.

]]> (Sean R Heavey) USA championships DN Europe DN North America ice racing IDNIYRA Middle of Nowhere Montana Sean Heavey Sean R. Heavey Tue, 25 Feb 2020 22:50:49 GMT
Resting in Rust Resting in Rust

By Sean R. Heavey and A.J. Etherington

Hard Time Finding the Right Tool For the JobHard Time Finding the Right Tool For the JobA shop near Opheim, Montana left sorted through over time the shop gives the appearance that the owner was looking for something in a hurry.      Sitting in stillness that is broken only by the howl of wind through aged cracked walls, the abandoned shops of Northeast Montana have been left to rest and rust. Once these shops provided the pulse for Missouri River Country’s largest industry. They grew grains and raised cattle, feeding far more people than will ever visit. These shops were a necessity serving as man caves, a place to teach children, operating rooms for precious machines, and butcher shops for worn out implements. They were without a doubt a place of great importance.

Spaced OutSpaced OutAn abandoned shop lets in a lot of light illuminating the once essential stockpile that was left behind.     Today these once essential structures lay empty. Left to crumble under the weight of their years of experience, experiences that can no longer be cataloged or rendered, but must be remembered. They tell stories of forgotten projects, bent tools, favorite seats, and valued tractors. Left frozen in time they boast of their hard work and valued status. 

Five Gallons of QwikLiftFive Gallons of QwikLiftOld oil drums sit stacked in an ald abandoned shop in Northeast Montana.

    Through time the various colors give way to the single color of rust. Robbed of purpose, and comparable to the blues suffered by people, the shop fades into a reddish state -- the color iron takes when left alone too long. The depression makes any chance of returning to work hopeless. Overcome by stiffness and bitterness, reluctantly, the shop resigns to its retirement. 

Tuning Up Ol' RedTuning Up Ol' RedAn old tractor rests under a leaky roof in this shop North of Nashua, Montana that has been left to the elements for sometime.

   To see one of these ruins of rust with your own eyes makes one wonder, “What was this place?”,  it is all but unrecognizable. Time has torn down the order of things. Rearranging the shop from a place of work into an unusable junkyard, a place for mismatched and unwanted equipment. Unable to perform their duties, and unwanted by the utilitarian nature the region demands, these rusted engines and obsolete tractors sit. The shop falls into the past, remembered only by the few who infrequently dare visit, but are welcomed all the same.

Gasket CollectionGasket CollectionA wide assortment of Gaskets hang on a shop wall in Glasgow, Montana. Belt DrivenBelt DrivenOwners of this shop used an old electric motor to automate their tool collection in Glasgow, Montana. Shop ArtShop ArtA painting of a windmill hangs amongts spare auto belts in a shop near Lustre, Montana. "Trust Your Car to the Man Who Wears the Star""Trust Your Car to the Man Who Wears the Star"A wall of oil drums sits in a shop in Glasgow, Montana adding some colorful interest. The green "T" inside the star and hexagon suggests these drums are from 1963 to 1980.

    Entering stirs dust and thoughts of long nights and busted knuckles. Trying to maintain its authenticity, you tiptoe over the ruins making sure to disturb as little as possible, moving as if the shop would awake from its sleep at a moments notice, angry at the intrusion. Treading with care you move on. Satisfied and relieved with the result of your journey, your query still rests. With peace the shop’s retirement continues, at least for a little longer.

Missing ToolsMissing ToolsA shop owners organization paints a picture of what once existed in this shop near Lustre, Montana.


]]> (Sean R Heavey) A.J. Etherington Abandoned Abandoned Places Abandoned Shops Agriculture Big Sky Big Sky Country Blue Collar Life Classic Automobiles Classics Farms Forgotten Days Glasgow Happy Days Hard Work Heavey Left to Rust Missouri River Country Montana MT Northeast Montana Nostalgia open road plains prairies Ranches Rusty rusty tools Sean Heavey Sean R. Heavey Shops tools Treasure State Vintage Life Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:23:05 GMT
The Curious History of Montana‚Äôs Vintage License Plates The Curious History of Montana’s Vintage License Plates

By Sean R. Heavey and A.J. Etherington

  Studebaker '59The prison made plate of a Montana Studebaker remains in pretty good condition after nearly 50 years on the road.    

    Montanans have a common experience involving license plates. Each of us has been in some distant state on vacation or business, and has spied that other Montana plate on the road. We look excitedly trying to read the first number, or pair of numbers, hoping to identify the owner’s county of residence. As I understand it, this county numbering system is unique to Montana, and while off in some far off state surrounded by strangeness and usually large amounts of people, seeing that other Montanan fosters a comfortable and warm feeling. 


    You see in Montana we distinguish the county of registration on a list of numbers from 1-56. In 1926, the Treasure State added the county identifier to the beginning of the plate numbers. Butte-Silverbow County is number 1 and the list ends with Lincoln County in northwestern Montana as number 56. In Valley County, where I call home, we are assigned the number 20, meaning that in 1926 when the system started we were the 20th most populous county in Montana. At the time the numbers went by population, even though that has changed, the county numbers remain the same. By using this unique number system Montanan's have gotten pretty good at finding people we know, or people who know people we know while out on the open road. 

     Big Sky in the '70sThese retro 1970s era license plates show their age against the rusted face of a vintage truck in Northeast Montana. Teal PlymouthThis Valley County license plate cracks and peels against the vivid teal trunk of a vintage Plymouth Coupe near Glasgow, Montana.

    Since 1914 Montana has issued plates to distinguish registered vehicles. Over time they became used for identification and law enforcement purposes. At first the plates had nothing more than the year, a unique number and the letters “MON” to represent the state. Since then the system has taken on complexities like adding identifying numbers for counties, being used as a fundraising method for charities, and lastly being made in the state prison. 

   Old IronsidesThe rusted iron look of this Valley County license plate matches the retina of the vehicle it adorns in Northeast Montana.      

    Montana issued its first “Prison Made” plate in 1928, and began, at the same time, printing Montana’s full name. Before making the plates in the Deere Lodge state prison, they manufactured the costly markers out of state. The implementation of prison made was a cost saving measure that has endured to the present day. The “Prison Made” stamp was only added in 1939 and then removed in 1957 for reasons unclear. 

Rusty ChevyThis prison made truck plate stands out against the rusty background in northeastern Montana. Number 34 means this plate came from Sheridan County the furthest northeast county in Montana.

    Other novelties exist about Montana’s license plates that many people, even Montanans, do not entirely know or appreciate. Montana's license plate appearances are as diverse as the many forms as the state's landscapes, from its high snow-capped mountains to rough badlands and rolling prairie hills, the State’s unrivaled diversity is captured in the color and design of its plates. In the early years the plate consisted of stamped metal, but plates in 1944 consisted of pressed soy bean fiber board due to the common problem of a lack of metal from World War II. In 1950 Montana spruced up their design feature by adding the “Treasure State” slogan to the plates. In 1967 the decision was made to change it to the ever-famous slogan of “Big Sky Country”. The new name endured until 2010 when the “nostalgic” blue plate again came to be. With a plain state outline, the name Montana, “Treasure State”, the year and the unique vehicle number, the blue plate harkened back to earlier designs.    

   Running PaintThis plate from Rosebud county sits attached to a rusted out Studebaker in Eastern Montana.   

    Today Montana prints a wide variety of plates. The current county issues the standard plates, organization and charity plates, and military plates among many others. In Montana every registered vehicle owner has the chance to express themselves through the choice they make in which plate will be displayed on their vehicle, giving the Treasure State the distinction of having the most vanity plates in the Union. 


    So the next time you set out on the road, and maybe cross the path of a Montana plate you can wonder, or even know, just how far from home they may be. Perhaps it will give you that sense of familiarity it is sure to give another Montanan on that same road far from the big sky.

The Long HaulThis "exempt" 37 plate is from Daniels County in Northeastern Montana. Exempt likely means this truck served the city or county government in its hay day. Hard-At-It Since 1966This Valley County Plate sits attached to the bumper of an old rusted out truck near Glasgow, Montana.

]]> (Sean R Heavey) A.J. Etherington Big Sky Big Sky Country Classic Automobiles Classic Cars Classics Glasgow Heavey License License Plates MT Missouri Missouri River Country Montana Northeast Montana Prison made Sean Heavey Sean R. Heavey Treasure State open road plains prairies Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:18:26 GMT
Capturing the Big Sky Capturing the Big Sky

By Sean R. Heavey and A.J. Etherington

    Montana has two sides really. Literally and figuratively. When confronted with Montana, which fittingly means Mountainous, you must also consider the nickname Big Sky Country. The truth is the “Big Sky” has nothing to do with the Mountains. If Montana, as a name, represents the western side of the state where the Rocky Mountains stand as proud sentries between the ground and sky blocking the view from peering eyes, then Big Sky represents the eastern side of Montana. Open and free the sky stands uninhibited by the Earth revealing the cosmos in all their glory. 

     A Mountain never changes, the scenery remains the same. Sure the light may change, fog may roll in, and snow may cover it, but the Mountain remains relatively unaltered. The landscape, therefore, is the dominate scene of Western Montana. 

    On the eastern side of Montana, however, the landscape bows out to the superiority of the sky. Unable to compete with her beauty the land is left to supplement the heavens which becomes the ultimate focal point in a land of plenty and selflessness.

    The truth about the Plains of Montana, is that it is a land that sneaks up on you, grabs your heart and takes it hostage. It is a place of harsh reality and still unparalleled simple beauty, full of honest souls and leathered hands. For Centuries natives, pioneers, plainsman and farmers have sought freedom on the prairie of Northeastern Montana. They faced hardships, isolation, exposure, wild dangers and disease that gave most pause, but for those few who came the plains of Montana were a beacon of liberty and independence. They became a place where a man, women or family could make their own life free of masters, free from oppression and free from discrimination. The plains beckoned a life that offered the closest example of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Looking out over the sees of grass and wheat speckled with cattle, deer, pheasant and antelope the eye is drawn out, but ultimately it is drawn up as if viewing a large mural painted on the ceiling of an already ornate Cathedral. This painting, however, lives, it breathes and it changes making the canvass constantly in need of documenting and rendering in all its awe inspiring forms. 

    This sentiment has been shared by many who have made this land home, and wouldn’t have it any other way.  Pulitzer prize winning writer A. B. Guthrie Jr. was quoted saying, “By George, I’m free!” after stretching out his arms under the big sky of Montana. 

]]> (Sean R Heavey) A.J. Etherington Big Sky Heavey MT Montana Sean Heavey Sean R. Heavey Thunderstorms badlands mountains night sky photography photography plains prairies snow-capped peaks vistas Fri, 20 Jan 2017 21:00:59 GMT