Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame

Honoring Those That Came Before Us...

2008 Inductees:

Martin "Bud" Connelly: 60 years this outstanding athlete has been competing in Rodeo. A strong competitor in High School in 1951, Bud was a two year District champion and All-Around runner the next 2 years. A National High School Rodeo finalist in 51 and 54 and at age 74, he is still competing! A 14-time holder of the IRCA Canadian Champion title, NRA Bareback Champ, NRA Saddle Bronc Champ, and finally topping it off as NRA All-Around Champ. This "Great" Champion has won over 400 Rodeo Belt Buckles and 20 plus saddles. Winning 400 Belt Buckles is like playing in 400 basketball tournaments and winning Most Valuable Player each time. Bill Brown: A very talented Bronc Rider, Billy Brown started fast and furious! Naturally talented Bill Brown captured the National High School Rodeo Association All-Around Cowboy. To put this into some kind of perspective the Hall of Fame Bronc rider, and some say this best rodeo hand in U.S. history, Ty Murray won the same title Billy Brown won! What makes Brown unique is he went on to win the Inter-Collegiate All-Around Cowboy Title-----In College at Northern. This is like getting voted in as an All-American in any other sport. Elvis Old Bull: The magic of Elvis Old Bull was felt statewide and nationally, as he brought Indian Basketball to the forefront in the late 80's. With 3 state MVPs, 3 state championships, 484 assists (22 in one game) and 728 field goals in his career, Elvis Old Bull has the numbers and the records to represent the Indian Hall of Fame. The Lodge Grass basketball team under the guidance of future Indian Hall Of Fame inductee Coach Gordan Real Bird won 3 consecutive State B Basketball Titles. Elvis Old Bull and the Lodge Grass team were just too tough to handle. Against the Cut Bank Wolves in the state title game, Old Bull scored 9 points in 36 seconds to bring the Indians to a come from behind State Title victory. A MacDonald’s All-American Team member Old Bull made everyone around him better, that's what the good ones do! Winning a State Title is a team effort, but with the game on the line "The cream rises to the top".
Dr. Joe McDonald: Salish-Kootenai College President and outstanding Indian Educator and coach. Joe was an excellent athlete who quarterbacked the State C Champion Mission Bulldogs of St Ignatius, in 1949. In 1951 he was selected to the first team All-state in Basketball. He played football at Western Montana College and was a starter for the Bulldogs. He was a great Coach and one of the first Indian educators to teach and coach off the reservation. He had stints at Plevna, Hamilton, and with the Grizzly Freshmen, but most notably was his coaching of the great George Yellow Eyes at the State industrial school in Miles City. Joe also coached at Northern Montana College, recruiting Indian Players throughout the state. Bob Parsley of Wolf Point, and Carl Kipp of Browning, were just 2 of the many Indian players. Joe McDonald has been a powerful role model for all Montana youth for many great years. A true Communicator with Indian students! Jess Labuff: Labuff left the reservation, survived the ravages of world war two, and was one of the first American Indian educators to work off the Reservation and build an athletic dynasty. Nominated by former players this great coach will find his place in the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. At Shelby High School this talented communicator established these coaching marks: All set in 13 years at Shelby Football 65 wins 24
losses 6 ties, a 75% winning average. For basketball he won 222 lost 92, a 71% winning average State Champions in 1955. For track he won 7 straight divisional track titles, 3 second place finishes at state, 2 third place finishes at state. He coached at Manhattan, Lodge Grass, and Browning, no records were found for those
schools. What a Great man!
Bill Smith: Called one of the most pure shooters in Montana basketball history, Bill Smith once lit up the Glendive Red Devils for 47 points, and was taken out of the game in the 3d quarter! He may have gotten the State Record and more if he would have played. Wolf Points All-Time leading scorer with 1362 points. He was a member of 2 State Championships with the Wolves in 61 and 62. Bill Smith was as good with a 10-15 foot hook shot as he was with a 10-15 foot jump shot!
Rodney Plenty Hawk: Scored 30 points in the 2nd half of the State title game in 1977. Plenty Hawk was named the State Tournament M.V.P. He led the St. Labre ball club in a very successful campaign in 76-77. A strong rebounder with power and strength around the basket, he seemed to get stronger in the tough games and with the game on the line. Rodney is just one of many Big Indian Basketball player with the ability to get tough inside and make you pay from 10-15' from the basket. Luke Spotted Bear: M.V.P. of the 1981 Class C tournament, Plenty Coups won the State Title that year when Spotted Bear made a game saving defensive play. A deadly shot and a "knack" for getting around the ball Spotted Bear was a prolific scorer from the outside in and around the basket. He went on to play at Haskell making All Conference as a freshman. Moving on in the college ranks he finished his career as an All-regional player at Mary College. Sam Bird Jr.: The great nephew of Samson Bird. Young Sam started competing in Rodeo as a young man on the Blackfeet Reservation and Seville Flats. His Brothers were also great rodeo performers and they taught him well. That hard work made him one of the best team ropers in Montana history. He was the Heading Champion at the Indian National Finals 3 times in 76, 88, and 2001. He has been on the Montana Team Roping Champion team 7 times. Also the Northern Rodeo Team Roping Champion twice.
Hall of Famers: #38 Alpheus Bighorn, #31 Leonard Bighorn, #30 Ernest Bighorn & 2007 inductee #33 Philip Red Eagle Alpheus Bighorn: Brockton was the State Champs in 1936. Alpheus Bighorn was a potent member of that state team. He played at Brockton in 1934, 35, 36 establishing an outstanding record with the proud Brockton Team. This ball club was one of the best in Brockton and the Ft peck Reservation History. 3 Brothers played on this championship team. Alpheus was a forward on the team in 36. Leonard Bighorn: A member of the 1936 Class C Championship team Leonard was a ball handling, quick guard. All the Brothers could run, pass and shoot. Leonard controlled the guard spot for Brockton. With super quick hands he was a defensive specialist who could steal the ball quicker than any guard in the state of Montana. Ernie Bighorn: A strong scorer and rebounder for the 1936 State Champs. Ernie was chosen All State that year. The 3 brothers knew where each one would be on the court. With Hall Of Famer Philip Red Eagle, Brockton was a tough team to contend with. The 3 Bighorn Brothers, as far as I could find, are the only 3 Brother combination to win a state championship in the state of Montana History. The 3 Bighorn Brothers are the foundation for the advancement of the Bighorn dynasty in basketball on the Ft. Peck Reservation. The Bighorn Family is basketball on the Ft. Peck Reservation. The 3 Bighorn Brothers beat the Original Harlem Globetrotters in the late 30's Prompting Globetrotter founder Abe Saperstien to comment “We need the Bighorns on our team" Great, great, ball handlers and passers. In 1964 the Son's of Alpheus, Leonard, and Ernie, beat the Original Harlem Clowns in 1964.

Willie Weeks: An all-around athlete at Wolf Point High School. Willie was named the Most Valuable Player as a junior in the Big 32 Tournament in 1968. The Wolves beat Kalispell and 6'11" Brent Wilson for the title. Willie also was a standout football player at Wolf Point making the East West Shrine Football game in 1969. Willie went on to play at Montana State for 2 years. He was a strong player who could beat you from the outside and take you inside and use his size and strength. Robin Selvig: 31 years as head coach of the UM Lady Griz, Selvig has continuously recruited members of Montana's Indian Tribes. His support of these young women was a primary reason for his induction into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Selvig has recently hit the 700 win category in coaching wins. 8
American Indian girls have been recruited by Robin and offered scholarships. Malia Kipp - Blackfeet, Simarron Schildt - Blackfeet, Tamara Guardipee -Blackfeet, Dana Conway- Blackfeet, Le Ann Montes - Assiniboine, Dvera Tolbert - Crow, Corrie Villegas - Flathead, and Kayla Lambert - Ft Peck. A Great coach who has made an impact in Indian athletics in Montana.
Sampson Bird: Sampson was an All-Around athlete at Haskell Indian Jr College, and Carlisle University. His steady partner at both schools was the great Jim Thorpe. Bird was voted in 1971 as an outstanding American Indian Athlete along with Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills, the great Olympic champion. At Carlisle, Mr. Bird played center on the great Carlisle football teams. In track he was an outstanding discus thrower, shot put and javelin. Sampson Bird was also an All-American Lacrosse player.
St. Labre Braves - 1967: Back Row L-R: Coach G. Claymore, Rudy King, Jr., Eugene Limpy, Dwight Stewart, Winfield Russell, Clifford Foote, Asst. Coach Leonard Guardipee. Front Row L-R: Adrian Foote, George Bement, Lloyd Spang, Nathaniel Littlebird, Billy Two Moons, Orville Two Bulls. Tim Henry - Box Elder Great Tim Was a force to be reckoned with in the State class C ranks All time scoring leader in school's history. What made Henry a Hall Of Fame candidate was his strong work ethic as an Indian Player coming out of High School. That strong work ethic carried him to be an All-League performer in the Frontier Conference at Northern Montana College . In the 70's 80's and 90's Henry was one of only five Indian player's who went on to play collegiately.