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It came down to two names, Continental Cowboy and Atomic 79.
Continental Cowboy was a closer runner up because of the Marty Robins song and the combination of authentic cowboy and ranch gear, as well as high-end goods.
Why Atomic 79? First you need to know a little bit of Montana’s history. Gold!! Gold was discovered in the town of Bannack in 1862. Bannack is right up the road from Dillon. This resulted in Bannack becoming the first territorial capital of Montana. Much of the history and mythology of the area comes from the gold rush days, including the story of the Vigilantes.
In 1881, the Eliel Brothers built our building in Dillon as a mercantile, making money from the gold trade. The railroad hub ran through Dillon and supplied Bannack with all necessities needed for it to flourish. In fact, in the back of our store is an old window in the brick wall with jail bars across it. We can picture gold being exchanged for goods back there in the old days.
On the periodic table AU 79 is gold. Gold is synonymous with quality. Atomic 79 came about with all this in mind: the gold trade, the building, and the railroad hub- plus a nod to the Atomic Age & Space Age and the cowboy symbology that they seemed to borrow from (....remember the book & movie "The Right Syuff"....)
So….. with that everyone put in their votes and it was a tie…. With a coin toss it was decided -- Atomic 79 won!
Here East meets West, don’t judge a book by its cover. You just need to come in and see it for yourself.
Atomic 79 is the place to come for quality boots, hats, tools, ropes, tack and clothing used by cowboys, ranchers and outdoorsmen in the area. The cattle history and tradition runs long and deep in Beaverhead County for the past 150 years. Here, cows outnumber people by about 25 to 1. Much of the cattle activity involves breeding, calving and raising calves (and their mother cows) in the mountainous regions around the valleys - hence the need, even today, for mounted cowboys to calve, move, gather, rope and brand cattle from horseback.