History of Black Tie Blue Jeans
Celebrating Over 25 Years
Rocky Mountain College is proud to celebrate over 25 years of Black Tie Blue Jeans, not only one of Billings’ premier gala events, but one of the longest-running scholarship benefits.
In 1987, the first Black Tie Blue Jeans Scholarship Benefit was held, growing out of what was called the “Rocky Mountain Roundup,” which was a unique fundraising event well-supported by area ranchers and cattlemen. Short-of-cash ranchers had calves and steers they were willing to donate to education. The College had its official registered brand – RMR – for the Rocky Mountain Roundup, which was used to brand the donated livestock. Originally, College volunteers rounded up the RMR-branded cattle and trucked them to the public auction yard where they were judged and sold. Later, when Black Tie Blue Jeans began, a reserve champion calf and a grand champion calf were selected to be auctioned off at the event.
While the donated cattle fundraising idea was newsworthy – The New York Times covered it – it was also cumbersome. By 1990, the Western theme of Black Tie Blue Jeans was firmly adopted, but the branding and cattle roundup evolved into a silent and live auction of a variety of donated items. What Black Tie Blue Jeans-goers bid on was impressive every year. Nationally-known Kevin Red Star and Russell Chatham paintings and prints sat alongside cruises, moonlit dinners, resort get-aways, and Hummers. More recently, trips to Las Vegas, Hawaii, and the Caribbean have been auctioned off. A “Heads or Tails” event became a popular favorite, with a Montague's Jeweler's prize going to the winner.
One thing that never changed over the 20-year life of this event is its goal: to raise money for student scholarships. This year we are excited to bring the event back to campus and celebrate our students at home.