Jeff Hudiburgh, Owner of A-1 Landscaping  

“I am happiest when I’m hanging out with friends and family, talking and having a good laugh,” says Jeff Hudiburgh, husband, father and business owner. He recalls the quote he put in his high school yearbook.

“‘Have the best of times, but don’t forget the oldies,’ – Hootie Hoo, aka Jeff Hudiburgh” is quip that still speaks to him today.

“I’ve had a lot of great times I like to reflect on, but I also like to look to the future and imagine what adventures are ahead of me,” he says.

A Billings native, Jeff grew up with the Rims as his childhood sanctuary.

“I grew up on the top of 17th; my neighborhood was right under the Rims,” he explains. “The rims were basically my backyard. We had a neighborhood full of friends, and we ran around all over the Rims. I loved it.” He developed an affinity for the outdoors and mountains, preferring cold weather to the heat, as well as a love for building things. In sixth grade, he began an endeavor that combined these two passions. 

“I started building a tree house in my backyard that ended up turning into a mini house,” Jeff describes. “It had installation, electricity, carpet, heat, windows, beds, a deck, a trap door, a rope swing—the works. We called it ‘The Bungalow.’ My dad and I put a lot of man hours into it while I was growing up.” He continues to foster these talents, both at home and in his landscaping business. 

“I do everything from estimating, operating machinery, digging holes, ordering plants, laying out job sites and making deliveries. I jump into multiple shoes a day. I go where I’m needed to help things move efficiently.” 

If given the gift of 100% financial independence, Jeff believes he would carry on working with his hands.

“I would have an impressive wood shop and spend time building anything from furniture to tree houses,” Jeff says. “When I’m building things it makes me happy. I’ve enjoyed woodwork from a young age. I like to challenge myself learning and honing skills.”

Those who know Jeff would describe him as ambitious. Yet, he is also willing to say something ridiculous to lighten the mood and get the room laughing. He believes that having kids was the turning point in his life.

“I have always been a ‘go-getter,'” says Jeff. “But once I had kids there was a bigger purpose to being a ‘go-getter.’ It became less about the money and became more about what I could do for my family.”

Tracy Moore, Photographer/Head Prankster of Tracy Moore Photographers, Inc. 

Life through the lens of Tracy Moore seems a bit brighter, more cheerful. Her images glow, evoking the very radiance and energy that seem to burst from Tracy herself.

“I am happiest when I am living my purpose with joy and passion,” she smiles. One of her gifts is connecting with people, through an infectious good humor and genuine compassion, and her photos capture others at their best, their most confident, their silliest, their most beautiful. She captures others as she sees them and the world around her. 

Born in southern California, Tracy grew up in Long Beach, where she developed a lifelong love for the ocean.

“It’s my favorite place in the world,” she admits. “It’s my happy place; it’s where I want to go anytime I need to think, cry, plan, or dream. The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt, the mysteries of the deep water, the fish, the beautiful coral reefs, the dolphins…I could literally go on for ages so I’ll just stop there.” 

Yet, she has no lack of appreciation for the natural splendor of Montana.

“I will always miss the ocean, but I have grown to really love the mountains as well,” says Tracy. “I moved to Colorado when I was young and met my husband, Matt, and followed him to Montana 17 years ago.” They both enjoy snowboarding in Red Lodge and Big Sky during the winters, fly-fishing the Big Horn, and exploring every inch of the state chasing adventure and the perfect sunset. She and Matt have two children, Wesley (three) and Joey (one). 

Tracy doesn’t just chase adventure under the Big Sky. She also enjoys traveling the world, both for business and pleasure. Or, for the sake of helping others.

“Living in Africa for six months was the most interesting thing I’ve ever experienced,” she says. “New culture, new experiences, the highest highs and the lowest lows.” A few other memorable destinations include the Seychelles, France, Costa Rica and Bali.

If given 100% financial independence, she says, “I would probably move to the ocean and continue to come back to Billings in the summers to grow Tracy’s Closet (my charity) to spend time with family and then peace out when the cold comes and play in the waves. I would also love to go back to Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania (where we lived for a few months) and build a school.”

She believes in the importance of finding balance in life, especially when your passions begin to pull you in multiple directions.

“While working to change the world and create true impact,” begins her favorite quote, “you can’t forget to spend the time to live in it.”

“I’m not sure who said that,” Tracy reflects, “but it hit me hard. I can get lost in work and my passions, and forget to enjoy the present. I get so excited about the future that I always have to remind myself to be here now.”

The turning point in Tracy’s life came in 2014.

“The day I gave up alcohol,” she asserts, “life got a whole lot more clear. I was healthier (mentally and physically), happier, and a much better person all around. Alcoholism runs in my family, and once I felt a hint of that…I decided to never let it ruin my family, so I just stopped. People still think I drink because I can get pretty wild. I am not shy, I dance a lot and I am a pretty energetic, happy person.” 

It is that energy that propels her to succeed and to make others smile. In a situation begging for the mood to be lightened, she is an expert at diffusing tension.

“I was born for these situations,” says Tracy. “I dance, I make silly faces, I am fully willing to make myself look really dumb in order to make others smile. It’s always a fun challenge, and I can usually lighten any mood.” This talent serves her well as both a photographer and a friend. 

Cindy Thompson, Owner of Time Out Sports

“Running is my passion,” says Cindy Thompson, a woman who has proven her dedication to the sport through accomplishing a feat few others may attain. “I have completed 10 marathons, one in Dublin, Ireland.” This passion has fueled both her own personal journey, as well as the fitness journeys of countless others touched by her store and classes. 

Growing up in Lewistown, Cindy lived just four doors away from the love of her life.

“At 18 we eloped and headed off to MSU in Bozeman,” she says. “I think we were voted the least likely to succeed, but here we are 48 years later, and he is still the light of my life. We have three terrific sons, three great daughters-in-law and six wonderful grandchildren.”

Cindy’s affinity for marathons began after she and her husband, Tim, had worked the Montana Marathon’s halfway water station. An elderly gentleman came through their checkpoint, leaving Cindy in awe.

“He was walking ten steps and then running ten steps; he looked to be about 100 years old,” she recalls. “I looked over at Tim and said, ‘Well, I think I could do that.’ I talked about it all the way home and decided to hook up with my friend Kate, who had run over 20 marathons.” 

In the spring of 1999, Cindy decided to start a marathon training group with the help of her more experienced friend. Inspiration turned to perspiration. In the fall, Cindy returned to the Montana Marathon, but this time as a contestant. Her friend, Kate, ran by her side all 26.2 miles. 

“When I came to the finish, I was overwhelmed with emotions, eyes filling up with tears and I realized I had just completed my first marathon,” Cindy admits. “As I crossed the line I vowed to never run again!” Yet, once the tears had dried and the utter exhaustion passed, she found herself making plans for the next race.

“By the next day I was already making plans of how to train better, what marathon I would conquer next, and how many runners could we get for our next clinic,” Cindy says.

Now, her life revolves around this love for fitness. Her business, Time Out Sports, specializes in “sit and fit” athletic shoes.

“I purchased my store in January 1990,” says Cindy. “I love fitting people in the right shoes. The correct shoes make a huge difference in life. We help runners, walkers, hikers, fitness enthusiast and the lives of everyday people. I love helping our seniors stay active and upright.” She also teaches fitness classes at Rocky Mountain College.

“I am my happiest when I am working out. Teaching my classes and motivating my students is one of the highlights of my life,” Cindy says.

When faced with a challenge, Cindy still reflects on some sage advice passed along by her grandmother: “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” She has learned to devour her goals in long, steady strokes, and can face down the behemoth that is a marathon, eating up the miles one at a time. 

Dick Pence, Coordinator of the Big Sky Worldview Forum

“I have enjoyed the quiet beauty of the mountains,” reflects Dick Pence. “God’s creative touch is displayed in a thousand ways.” He and his wife of 52 years, Nancy, enjoy yearly trips over the Beartooth Pass, along a highway that offers Dick one of his favorite drives and allows him to bear witness to the powerful beauty God bestowed upon Montana. 

Yet, Dick is truly happiest when working with and talking to others about issues that impact our culture. So much, in fact, that he would continue his current work even if given financial independence. “Few people find the satisfaction of doing what fulfills them,” he explains, “so I would want to do exactly what I am doing with the forum and other cultural interests.”

The Big Sky Worldview Forum is a Christian Foundation and Worldview lecture series beginning its ninth year in September. “We do four to six events a year,” says Dick. “I also work with legislators and other representatives on cultural issues at the community and state levels.”

Although he believes others would describe him as “serious-minded,” Dick has his own ways of softening the tension when a moment grows too stressful.

“One method of lightening the mood is drawing people back to a foundation they can agree upon—something that they all care about,” he states. “I enjoy teasing people as if they were horrible at something they are actually gifted at…my style of encouragement.”

Over the years, he and Nancy have worked and resided in seven states.

“We were involved with livestock and farming,” he recalls. “Employment brought us back to Billings 13 years ago.” Dick has always harbored a love for agriculture. “I grew up on a farm on the Huntley Project and went to school at MSU.”

His time spent in college resulted in not only an education but transformative enlightenment.

“When I was in college, the College of Agriculture sent two students to a summer leadership camp put on by the Danforth Foundation. It was, in fact, heavily Christian in nature. These instructors talked to the Lord as if they knew Him. I had a growing desire to read the Bible and eight years later, I discovered justification by His grace.”

Now, Dick lives with the words of Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands at the turn of the 20th century, rooted firmly in his mind.

“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” proclaimed Kuyper, an influential Neo-Calvinist theologian.

Dick muses, “In a time period when the church was ignoring what is going on in culture, Kuyper spoke to the church reminding us that everything—including cultural issues—were of interest to and controlled by God.”

When asked to name the most interesting thing to ever happen to him, Dick asserts his conviction in the work he pursues. “I would say working with legislators and others interested in promoting Christian ethics issues—especially related to life,” he vows, with the dignity and faith of a man who is righteously walking His path.