Kitty Ann Quigley was born a fourth generation Montanan on May 11, 1944.
In 1947, her father began constructing his dream of “Frontier Town,” created with logs and boulders. An animated road sign, carved from pine logs and powered by electric motors, grabbed the attention of travelers along McDonalds Pass with its depiction of a grizzly bear about to attack a lumberjack and his dog. At six years old, Kity Ann’s first job was to lie on her belly in the hollowed-out log under the sign and push a button that would play a recording of the dog barking. She advanced to swamper, window washer, and coin seller, and on special occasions, she was required to “get up and sing” to guests in the dining room.
Kitty Ann was just 17 years old when, in 1961, she took the honors of Miss Last Chance Stampede at Helena’s first rodeo. Kitty Ann went on to win the Runner-up to the Miss Rodeo Montana title that fall.
She graduated from Powell County High School in the spring of 1963 and went on to attend the University of Montana in Missoula. That same year, she won the “Miss Missoula Centennial” contest, and from there earned the title of “Miss Big Sky Country” in 1964.
In celebration of Montana’s Territorial Centennial, the “Montana Centennial Train” of 25 rail cars left Billings on April 5, 1964 on its way through sixteen states with three-day stops to promote Montana tourism. “Miss Big Sky Country” was on the train to promote Montana and also attend the Montana Exhibition at the New York World’s Fair. She brought a lot of publicity to the state with her act of shooting off a pistol during her performance of “Annie Get Your Gun” in the vicinity of newly sworn President Lyndon B. Johnson (following the assassination of Kennedy).
While driving a full mount buffalo around the Unisphere of the New York World’s Fair, intended to draw attention to the Centennial Train, Miss Quigley was issued a speeding ticket by the Pinkerton Police.
In 1967, Kitty Ann was offered the opportunity to work for the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. She was elected as the Associate Director, served on the Rodeo Committee and Public Information Committee, and was the Stampede’s official entertainer for thirteen years. During her tenure she was the City of Calgary’s Media Liaison and hosted the radio show “This is Your City.”
On August 24, 1979, Kitty Ann married Aavo Taaler in Frontier Town’s chapel.
In 1981, the couple leased Frontier Town and successfully managed it for eight years, before relocating to Nebraska (where Aavo was the General Manager for the Wheatbelt Public Power Company). They returned to Montana in 2008 and are now retired.
Kitty Ann Quigly has been described as a singer, dancer, entertainer, performer, comedian, artist, and whistler—but the words do not do her justice. She is indeed a Montana personality.