James (Jim) Thomas (Handelbars) Krieg was born July 19,1940 at 12:23 p.m. to Thomas William Krieg and Wilma Elizabeth Van Hoose. His early years were spent in Edgar on his grandfather James Van Hoose’s (named lia lsha by the Crow tribe) spread who had been a sub agent at Pryor under general agent S.G. Reynolds of Crow Agency and his grandmother Wilhelmina Bolenske Van Hoose, who taught at the new Pryor Creek Boarding School. Chief Plenty Coups was a great friend of the family and Jim maintained that relationship with many members of the Crow Tribe throughout his life. His parents moved to Billings and he attended school at Broadwater School and graduated from Senior in 1958. On Palm Sunday 1954 he was confirmed at First Congregational Church and was the only kid In a black leather jacket in the class picture which horrified his mother. Under the instruction of the “Kid from Meaderville”, Sonny O’Day, he won several weight lifting and boxing bouts. He attended School at Rocky Mountain College majoring in aviation while working at bars like the Stone Front until he entered one of his greatest loves which was the Marine Corps in June of 1959. He was permanently injured when a rope broke while repelling and he fell two stories damaging his neck and back causing constant pain 24/7 while walking or sitting, which increased as he grew older. Jim became a professional photographer following in his fathers footsteps working for the Gazette until his retirement in 1985. He won awards for color separation against newspapers from across the country and was renown for rodeo and news photography with credits in the New York Times, Boston Globe, National Inquirer, and many other national newspapers and magazines. He was the track photographer for Yellowstone Downs and the Crow Fair Races and Rodeo as well as the Billings Night Rodeo which is still the world’s longest consecutive running rodeo, The Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days, The Red Lodge Rodeo, The National High School finals Rodeo for 22 years, and a PRCA photographer for decades! He loved being the official photographer for Big Sky Video and his pictures are featured in the Big Drive of 89 video and all the BIKER videos they produced when he acquired the nickname “Handlebars”. He was honored by the Montana Hall and Wall of Fame and is on the wall at the Metra as a Rodeo photographer and was one of the organizers along with Lyle Graves and Larry Jordon to create a scholarship program for Montana Rodeo youth. He was commander of the Marine Corps League and DAV chapter 10 and was an avid flyer. He flew fire tankers during fire season and was featured in the cockpit of number 21 on the front page of the Gazette. He loved photography, the Raiders, rodeo, flying and his love his significant everything, he would say, Gwen Kircher of 36 years. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Leslie Krieg of Billings Electric. He is survived by Gwen Kircher, significant other, sister in law Barbara Krieg Billings, nieces Michele Krieg-Barrett (Dave) Billings, and Carri Krieg-Nelson (Eric) Dallas TX, great nephew Cameron Kehler Billings, great niece Amanda Barrett Bozeman. Memorials may be sent to Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone Co., Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame, the DAV chapter 10, the Marine Corps League or any charity of your choice. Visitation will be Thursday from 9 am to 8 pm at Smiths downtown with the funeral at the Pentecostals of Billings at Rehberg and Colton Friday at 1pm. Burial will be at Fort Rockvale Cemetery in the family plot with reception following at the Pentecostals of Billings.
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