On a recent weekend, Kaimin photographers and reporters set out to create a portrait of Missoula. We talked to and photographed around 50 people of different ages, with different interests on different days, in different places. From our photographs and interviews, we assembled this collage of Missoula - people we see all the time, people we’ve never met before and maybe some people you know.

In building a cross-section of Missoula, we discovered a symbiosis between our college and our town. It’s impossible to separate the two — UM students need Missoula to build connections and careers , and Missoula needs UM for its youthful energy, creativity, jobs, and to put the “college” in “college town.” The community is important, but don’t take our word for it. Get out there, go talk to people and become a part of it. 

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Nancy and Joel Bender

Nancy: We took our bicycles from Moscow (Idaho) to Mexico, and then we came back to Moscow and we had one more semester of school to go. And everybody was sure that we would never come back, but yeah we came back. I mean, you don’t invest all that time in school, in college, and blow it for one semester. That was hard, though. It was hard, hard to come back.

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Madeline Smerin

 This thing is a drum called a Rav Drum and it’s from Russia. I just got it this year. I always was this, like, struggling, awful guitarist wanting to learn guitar, and just, it’s not happening. I finally just gave up. And then I was like, drum just feels more intuitive, like I can do that, like more of an extension of you and what you’re feeling or something.

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Cayla Daily, Aerialist

I like the challenge, getting in shape, the adrenaline. Sometimes I get stuck and need someone’s help to get down, it just gets tangled, so I never do it alone.

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Maggie Bornstein

I work 20 hours a week (full-time student, too). My employer is awesome and lets me express myself, but this is a time I get to really truly do my own shit while looking like my true self. 

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Greg “The Octopus” Nowak

I was a child (chess) prodigy at age 9, I did some playground tournaments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I found my niche. I was way better than the other kids — within a year I was playing in the adult club, beating doctors and lawyers. Some were a little surly that a 10-year-old beat them.

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Nick Pflug and Austin Johns

 Austin: “This is pretty funny, I haven’t seen him in years! I haven’t even said ‘hi’ to him yet!”

Nick: “Our moms were good friends and we were in school together as kids before I moved away.”

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Mike Miller

I wasn’t actually in a war, but it was in the Vietnam era. I joined the Army because I was going to be drafted. Whether I went to Vietnam or not is entirely up to the Army and not me, the same is true for everybody, except almost everybody else did go to Vietnam and I didn’t.

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Hemigh Martin, Scalper

My dad gets the tickets and he can’t go to every game, so he just hands them to me, tells me to sell them. Usually the first person to walk up gets angry that it’s not as low as they wanted it to be, but they realize how fast tickets are going and then someone will come along.

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Bob Palmer, Bus Driver 

I wrestled for the University of Montana 50 years ago, so I’ve been here for a long time. We didn’t have a lot of people out, we could beat the Bobcats once in a while, we weren’t very strong, but we had fun.

The jacket would be the official uniform, but it’s Griz Day! If you don’t wear purple, you're naughty!

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Lindsey Compton and Buck

He really likes to sleep under the beer pong table. We have had him for two months. It's our first baby. Holds the parents off on grandkids ‘cause they keep dropping hints, so this will fight it off for a little longer.

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Craig Garfield and Anthony Minjares, Parking Attendants

Anthony: For a lot of the people, it’s their first time in Montana, so they have no idea where to go.

Craig: If they park in a reserved spot, they get towed away.

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Jack and Mack Schultz

You need more newsstands in the UC, there weren’t any Kaimins when I went in there.We love cast iron skillets, the brats are excellent. (When taking picture) Say “Monte.”

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Edward and Connie Lord, Jack Morten

So did you guys meet in school then?

Connie: Uh-huh!

And you were also a business major?

Connie: Oh I changed it three times.

I have, too.

Connie: And then I changed it two more after that!

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Yodit Aregawi

Do you want more coffee? 

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Daniel Tsuber, Cucumber and Honey Seller 

Do you get to keep any of the money?

I don’t keep any of the money. My mom picks them, so I give it to her. I’m fine with it.

What’s your favorite part about working at the market?

I don’t know. Free food, probably. My sister is selling stuff over there too.

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Charlie Leitch and Schuyler MacLeitch Hollingsworth, Beekeepers

We are actually trying to pollinate Missoula, so we have met other people who like bees and like honey and we have put hives on their property at seven different locations around Missoula — they get a share of the honey and we get a share of the honey. The purpose is to pollinate, so everybody’s fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and flower beds will all get pollinated.

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Jesse Verlan, Sawist

I learned on a hardware saw at the hardware store, but this is a much better saw, these are special steel and stuff. I do have an actual Stradivarius, it’s an actual hand-saw Stradivarius. I have it here in my case if you want to see it.

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Erin Belmont, Sauerkraut Maker

I really had no plans of staying here when I came here for a temporary forestry job in 2001, but now I have no plans of leaving. I’m invested here, I love the community of the Bitterroot. So many great small farms where I can get my cabbage from.

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One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… VROOM VROOM!!

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James Sapp, Produce Guy

During the winter I work for the Forest Service, and during the summer, I’m trying to, beginning to farm — apples and pears and plums and all that stuff.

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Our goal is to reach this city with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Ann Little, Mad Hatter Confections

I had this hat before we started, it’s fun — it’s cheap. It was a Jo-Ann bouquet, cut all the stems off, stick it in an old hat. Less than 10 bucks.

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Rakel Tangvald

It’s my second year as an RA and a friend of mine brought it up to me — yoga outside. We thought the Oval would be cool. We tried it, no one showed up. We tried it again and this time a few people showed up.

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Yulianus Kogoya

Missoulians are friendly, helpful, and this is a really quiet place. I am a country boy. I come from the remote area and I don’t really like crowded cities. There aren’t tall buildings, there’s lower crime, the nature is beautiful.

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Cassie Sevigny

Writing has been a thread between all of my interests because no matter what I’m interested in, I can write about it and I can explain all my own personal feelings on it and I can also explain more scientific, theoretical background on it.

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Tiki Preston

What are you most passionate about?

That’s an easy one! I’m a dancer here at the UM program. I started at a very young age, 2 years old. And it just kept my interest. It’s a way to express myself.

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Marilyn Schmidt 

I’m not going to the game, just walking the dogs. It’s good exercise and good for the dogs.

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Kendal Anderson 

We were guarding the 100-year business school centennial and making sure no one was crazy.

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Molly McKinney, Conference Attendee 

We are here for the Rock Stars of Health Conference. It’s for people who work in worksite wellness, as well as vendors, HR people, anyone who does worksite wellness.

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Ruth Grove, Intravarsity

We try to hang up our banner once a week, as a way to connect with campus, and we have free buttons, which is pretty cool. Sometimes you get into really deep conversations, because they’ve been waiting to get that input from a group on campus.

Photographers: Sara Diggins, Eli Imadali, Donal Lakatua, John Hooks, Daniel Duensing

 

Additional reporting for this story contributed by: Matt Neuman, Paul Hamby, Ryan OConnell, Micah Pengilly, Kaden Harrison