5 " Firsts" in Montana

5/18/2015


Horse in Montana This spring I dusted off my boots, donned my most western hat, and slid into some denim for a trip out West. My journey this time was the wilds of Montana. I was honored to be invited, along with 9 other journalists, by Firehouse Subs to take part in a multi day press trip full of adventure, good times, and the opportunity to get to know the company from the inside out. This was my first time to Montana, and I have to say, it was the trip of a lifetime. Here were a few "firsts" I experienced along the way....




Horses in Montana


1. First Time Beholding the Wild West
I consider it a great privilege to have traveled literally around the globe. I've experienced many foreign lands, and much of the US. From Texas to California I've seen expansive landscapes, but truly Montana is in a class all it's own. Rugged mountains, and sweeping plains stretch out as far as the eye  can see. It's a land as savage as it is beautiful. A place you can let your imagination run wild. Over the few days I was a guest at privately owned Bell Cross Ranch, I was able to tour quite a bit of the 9,000 acres within the properties boundaries. It was Epic! Here's a little taste.

Longhorn in Montana


I'm no stranger to cattle. My Dad is a cattle farmer in Kentucky. However in Ky, we don't have so many bears, and mountain lions. We were warned many times not to wander off alone for walks. You never know what kind of wildlife might decide to join you for a stroll.

Bear Den sign in Montana

These gorgeous yellow flowers were in bloom all throughout the ranch. It was so tempting to go frolic through them. Needless to say, there were plenty of photos taken of these beauties.

Yellow flowers in Montana


Donkey in Montana



Tackhouse at Ranch in Montana

Land and sky as far as the eye can see.
View of the wild in Montana with Amy West
Photo by: Scott Schalk
2. First Time Witnessing Mounted Shooting
Montana is a place where the traditions of the Old West are still cherished. One way is through the sport of Mounted Shooting. One of the experiences we participated in was a showcase of the sport by two World Champions and the opportunity to try it out ourselves. I opted out since I was 6 months pregnant, however I did get to shoot the guns. Worried about the horses? Don't be, these guys were specially trained, and didn't even flinch at the gun shots. They also had their own nifty pair of earplugs. The guns were loaded with blanks and the gunpowder was enough to pop a balloon. All the fun, with non of the risks.

World Champion for Mounted Shooting

Amy West
Photo by: Scott Schalk
I was pretty proud of myself as you can see. Although I do admit walking on two legs put me at quite the advantage next to my peers.
Amy West with Cowgirl
Photo by: Scott Schalk
3. First Time Clay Shooting 
Clay shooting made the list of recreations we were able to try, along with tomahawk throwing, horseshoes, and corn hole. I wasn't so great at the last three, but discovered I might just be a natural with the rifle. The first four out I nailed. Not too bad for a first timer. Maybe I should stop while I'm ahead...
Amy West in Montana
Amy get your gun! 
4. First Time Observing How Firehouse Gives Back
One of the most meaningful opportunities we had during the trip was traveling to Bozeman, Montana where Firehouse Sub's Public Safety Foundation gave away over $100,000 in equipment to the local fire stations. Hearing first hand from the leadership of these stations really made it all come together. Through the generous donations of the company, and the participation of local stores engaging the community to give back, Firehouse has given millions of dollars worth of equipment to Firehouses and Police Stations all over the U.S. They have also been large participants in disaster recovery efforts after some of the biggest natural disasters in recent U.S. history such as hurricane Katrina. Coming from Jacksonville, the hometown of the original Firehouse Subs, I learned that our local first responders have been some of the biggest recipients. It made it personal knowing that if someone I knew or loved was in an accident, it's very likely some of the lifesaving equipment used would be that which was generously provided by the foundation.
Firetruck


rescue equipment


The Hook and Ladder Sub from Firehouse Subs
The Hook and Ladder - Firehouse Sub's #1 Selling Sandwich
5. First Time Tasting Firehouse's New Cold Heroes
A trip with Firehouse Subs wouldn't be complete without getting to taste a whole lot of delicious subs. We learned in detail about Firehouse's commitment to quality, hearty portions, and of course amazing flavor. I've historically held a soft spot in my heart for the Hook and Ladder, but after tasting 5 more of their hot subs, I can confidently say I have a few more favorites. Fans of the restaurant will also be pleased to hear that Firehouse is continually expanding and meeting the demands of their customers. During our trip they rolled out their new line of cold subs coming late 2015. In addition to their famous hot subs, Firehouse looks to meet the need of those seeking something that's easier to grab and go for later. They are also using the opportunity to reinvent their entire catering menu with the new cold sub options. Right now they are testing the new Cold Heroes menu in a select few stores, but you can look for the full roll out later this year. Take my word for it, they are full of flavor and stay true to the quality Firehouse is known for. Get ready for some tasty goodness!

The Malibu - One of Firehouse Subs Cold Subs
The Malibu - my favorite sub from the new Cold Hero line up
Photo by: Scott Schalk
I can't say enough about this impressive trip. Firehouse co-founder Robin Sorensen and his family were incredible hosts. The location was stunning, and the team who put it all together and produced the seamless trip were pros. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime adventure and learn more about a company founded and headquartered in my hometown whose mission is not only to bring great food to the masses but to also help save countless lives through the Firehouse Public Safety Foundation, and with over 1,000 stores due to be in operation by the end of the year... that's a whole lotta great!

Now... who's hungry? 

Until next time...

Enjoy the Journey!

xo- Amy West



Amy West in Montana
Photo by: Scott Schalk
enjoying Montana with baby on board. #24 weeks and counting
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