GREAT FALLS - The 'cowboy way of life' is a key part of the Treasure State's western heritage, and a museum in the Electric City came together with the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Friday afternoon to recognize one artist who's secured that legacy through his work.
Over the decades, Artist Jay Contway has crafted hundreds of bronze sculptures featuring moments frozen in time, such as ranchers roping in their steeds and cowboys riding carriages. People came from all over Montana, and even parts of Canada, to celebrate Contway and his sculptures.
The former cowboy, who's known as "Montana's Storyteller in Bronze,” received the second ever "Saddle of Honor," award Friday for his authentic portrayals of western life. From animal fur to the shape of cowboy chaps, and even their lassos, no stone gets left unturned when it comes to his figures’ details. And the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame's president said that's what made him stand out among every other artist who were eligible for the award. .
"The days of the cowboy are fading. So it's nice to have for real cowboys doing this and making the real ones. I think Jay's legacy will go on much as C.M. Russels did," said Bill Galt.
While Contway doesn't work as much nowadays at the age of 84, his wife Lynn said he still continues to craft bronze figures to this day at his foundry, just west of Great Falls.
If you'd like to learn more about Jay Contway and his sculptures, you can visit his official website, his foundry at 434 McIver Road or reach out to him and his wife at (406) 452-7647.