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Feb 12 2018

Announcing the 2017 Photo and Video Contest Winners

Over 1,000 entries made choosing the Picture Wild Montana contest winners a tough task

Announcements, Exploring Montana, Featured

After meticulously scouring every detail of 1,000 photos and videos, we’re proud to announce the winners of the 2017 Picture Wild Montana photo and video contest. Entries poured in from all over state, showcasing Montana’s majestic wild and public lands and highlighting the intimate connections that have bound Montanans to these unique and special places for centuries. 

Judging for the photo category was conducted by Luke Duran, art director at Montana Outdoors Magazine. 2017 marked the first ever iteration of the the video category, and all entries were judged by Matt Bowser, MWA’s stewardship director. Luke and Matt selected a first, second, and third place winner in each category. First place winners received a $500 prize, second place winners a $250 gift card from our partners at Kühl, and third place winners a $100 gift card from Patagonia. All winners also received a membership to MWA. 

Photo Contest

First Place

Xavier Springer, Swiftcurrent Falls on a Smoky Morning

Swiftcurrent Falls on a Smoky Morning

First place in the photo contest was captured by Xavier Springer of Great Falls for his photo “Swiftcurrent Falls on a Smoky Morning”, taken during a smoky orange sunrise in Glacier National Park

Second Place

Grant Golden, West Fork of the Yaak Falls

Swiftcurrent Falls on a Smoky Morning

Second place went to Grant Golden of Libby for the lush and vibrant “West Fork of the Yaak Falls”, a spectacular shot of this gem deep within the Yaak Valley in northwestern Montana.

Third Place

Kelly Wicks, Sullivan's Knob Trail

Sullivan's Knob Trail

Glendive’s Kelly Wicks won third place for his photo “Sullivan’s Knob Trail”, which spectacularly captured the wide-open badlands of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in south-central Montana.


Video Contest

First Place

Colin Ruggiero, Montana

In the first-ever video contest, the grand prize was claimed by Colin Ruggiero of Missoula, whose dynamic film “Montana” showcased the beauty of all our state’s majestic wild places from the eastern prairies to the Crown of the Continent.

Second Place

Nick Garner, Keep It Wild

In second place, Bozeman’s Nick Garner claimed the prize with “Keep it Wild”, a film that lent a human perspective to Montana’s wild places across all four seasons.

Third Place

Sam Saarel, Our Beautiful Montana

Sam Saarel of Livingston took home third place with “Our Beautiful Montana”, a moving and personal tribute to Montana’s wild past, present, and future.


A huge thank you goes out to everyone who submitted photos and videos to the contest. Your entries are powerful reminders of why Montana’s wild places are so special. We’d also like the thank our partners at Kühl, whose support helps make the contest possible. 

We’ll be announcing the 2018 contest this summer, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for updates when the weather’s warmer. 

- Amanda Hagerty, MWA education and outreach manager