mtcowboybandIn 1912, a cowboy band and a group of Blackfeet Indians from newly developed Glacier National Park traveled to expositions in Minneapolis and Chicago to promote the state of Montana. Hired by Great Northern Railway President Louis W. Hill, the son of James J. Hill, the musical ensemble included a cornet soloist named G. Oliver Riggs.

Award-winning freelance journalist Joy Riggs, the great-granddaughter of G. Oliver Riggs, will tell the story of this unusual adventure in an engaging presentation at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Northfield Historical Society. The event is co-sponsored by the Vintage Band Festival.

Joy Riggs is writing a narrative nonfiction book about the extraordinary exploits of her paternal great-grandfather, a pioneering Minnesota music man. She received a 2015 emerging artist grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) and serves on the boards of both the Northfield Historical Society and the Vintage Band Festival. She blogs about her book project and her family’s adventures in making and appreciating music at A native of Alexandria, Minn., she lives in Northfield with her husband and their three children.