Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey

Ovando's Old West Christmas Fest Photos: Doug "Hoot" Richards


December 4, 2019

Roger Dey

Doug "Hoot" Richards of Seeley Lake encourages Dannette Sullivan (far left) as she contemplates her next color for a drawing. Alex Lapka sits next to Dannette, while in the background, Tony Lapka helps his son Joe. Meanwhile, Allie Orrantia of Bozeman (far right), keeps her mittens on as she works on her own coloring.

Doug "Hoot" Richards, 85, a professional art designer from Seeley Lake, drew the pictures for kids to color during the Old West Christmas Fest bazaar at the Ovando School.

"This is fun; I love it," Richards said.

Leigh Ann Valiton, who organized this year's Christmas Fest, said the coloring corner was a new addition to the event this year, and that it worked out well. She said the kids were kept busy coloring the pictures while their parents did some chopping at the bazaar.

Roger Dey

Doug"Hoot" Richards relays the story of how he earned his nickname.

Richards, who worked as a designer for a newspaper and went on to become the production service manager for the House of representatives in Washington state, said he used to create similar pictures when he volunteered at camps in Washington state and Montana for kids with cancer. A Marine Corps Veteran, Richards explained to the group at the table that he earned his nickname, Hoot, not in the military, but as a volunteer at one of the camps. He said that when a kid asked why he volunteered to help out at the camp, he told them "I don't know, I guess I just give a hoot." When he showed up for dinner that night he was greeted by a chorus of 'Hoot, Hoot, Hoot,' and his nickname was born.

In addition to creating drawings for kids to color, Richards also had a number of birdhouses for sale at the bazaar, and he was donating the proceeds of the sales to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.


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