Longevity is one of the attributes of Montana FFA Legacy Families.  Families that span generations- with each new generation working just as hard to capitalize on every opportunity possible with the Montana FFA.

The 4th family I am featuring is the Christensen family.  The MT FFA started in 1930, and this family has been there from almost the start. Here is the story as told by Calvin Christensen.

First Generation:

My father was state FFA vice president in 1938 and the state public speaking winner. His name was Arthur Christensen. My dad started college in Bozeman in 1938 but was sent to World War II so he did not finish his college but I believe he was given an honorary degree from Montana State University in early 2000s. Art Christensen was an avid supporter of the Beaverhead FFA and was one of the charter members of the Beaverhead FFA alumni association. I went to high school at Dillon, Beaverhead County High School, and I was the chapter president in 1973-1974 I ran for state president in 1975, but was not selected.

Cali and Grandpa Arthur
Cali and Grandpa Arthur

My dad grew up and did FFA and College and the war with Don Schaffner who is Gale Kuntz's father. Gale was one of the first girls to join FFA in Dillon and she beat me in the speech contest when she was a senior and I was a sophomore. Our daughters served together on the dream team (2011- 2012 Montana FFA State Officer Team).  It is a wonderful blessing to have three generations with Morgan's family. My dad had never told me he was a State FFA Vice President in 1938. I learned it in 2001 at the state convention in Bozeman when Rick Kountz told me.


I was a freshman in college when I ran for state FFA president and I had planned to take the entire year to devote it to traveling to every chapter and meeting every freshman in the state of Montana. I also had a plan to really promote alumni associations. I was a year older than the other candidates, and we all thought we knew who our team would be, but I was not selected as FFA President, I started college in Bozeman in the fall of 1975 and the day I went to register I reconnected with Jodi Kalberg from Big Timber and she became my wife.


Beaverhead FFA Alumni:

The reason we had such good luck getting the FFA Alumni Association started is because there was a group of young ladies that were much like Kristen Swenson, who were part of our FFA chapter in Dillon. They did all the hard work to make all of the ideas work.  The big push to start alumni Association's for each chapter was by Kevin Fenner, state FFA president, 1972-73


Cali (Christensen) Rooney

Cali began her FFA career in 2007-2008 & enjoyed five trips to Nationals. Twice she went for National Talent, 2008 & 2009, then in 2010 she went in horse judging. 2011 she went in Extemporaneous Speaking. 2012 she went as a National FFA Officer Candidate.

Calvin and Cali Facebook Photo
Calvin and Cali Facebook Photo

National FFA Convention

When Cali and Morgan were extemporaneous speakers at John Deere Ag expo their freshman year, Cali told me she would be too nervous with me watching her. Morgan told me she would give anything to have her dad watching her so I went and watched and cheered for Morgan. Morgan won the extemp speaking and Cali always wanted me to watch and cheer for her after that.

I had planned to be the sole chaperone for both of them to National FFA talent, but last minute they found that Gale could go with us and we had the most fantastic time because we had a stop at Nashville for a couple of days before we flew to Indy.  While we were in Nashville, we were on a Gray Line tour that took us to "Ledhends" a famous entertainment and party club right next to Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

We had some refreshments and listened to the band and then Morgan was walking out with her fiddle on her back to go over to Tootsies Orchid Lounge and the bandleader said hey girl,have you got a fiddle in there? Morgan said yes I do and the bandleader said well get up and play us a song.

Morgan replied that she would not go on stage without her singer so they said, well go get her.  Cali and Morgan went on stage at legends and did wide open spaces and the band was so good. They sounded like they belong together. Morgan was so spectacular with her fiddle and Cali did a great job of singing, and the place just roared when they finished.

Later that day, we were all dressed up, ready to go to the Grand Ole Opry, waiting for a bus and a limousine pulled up and dropped off a couple, and the driver escorted them into the Hotel. When the driver came back out, I laughingly told him that we would go with him, but we were waiting for something bigger. He laughed and said, why don't you all jump in my limousine and I will take you to the Grand Ole Opry, complements of Limo Mike.

Morgan had never been in a limousine and she kind of collapsed against the Limo in disbelief.  Mike opened the door, like a perfect coachman, helping the girls and Gail into the Limo.  I got in last and Mike turned on Johnny Cash Video on the big TV and took us to the front door of the Oprey House, causing some people to believe we were performing stars.

The  stories, the history and experiences of all of these FFA Legacy families is so great to hear and learn about.  If you have a FFA Legacy Family that I need to write about, please let me know!

If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at randall.bogden@townsquaremedia.com


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