Leonard Wortman, a Jefferson County commissioner and Boulder Valley resident, has been recognized as someone who exemplifies Montana’s “Western heritage and way of life” and is “key in preserving the West.”
“Leonard is as ‘West’ as it gets,” Jay Linderman of the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame said by email. “Leonard’s ranch background has instilled in him the values we wish to celebrate.”
The organization announced Dec. 6 it had bestowed upon Wortman its “Western Heritage Award” and would induct him at a Jan. 25 ceremony in Billings.
“Leonard’s work as a county commissioner has shown him to truly represent the people and land in Montana,” Linderman continued. “His recent work to promote a Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Heritage Center in Jefferson County is applauded by our organization.”
“It’s a heck of an honor,” Wortman told The Monitor.
Born in Great Falls in 1949, Wortman moved with his family to the Boulder Valley at age 11 and has lived here ever since but for a couple years spent in Washington. He said he’s always had a passion for the West and its values such as private property rights and pro rodeo, which has played a big part in his life. He said he has been a competitor, judge and organizer, and his sons have been involved as well.
“Our Western values are constantly being eroded and lost for future generations,” Wortman wrote in a statement he provided to the Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. “I have been and plan to continue to fight to preserve our heritage in a way that will expose it as much as we can to as many people as possible.”