Blank found paradise in solitude of Montana

Here's Arthur Blank on his horse Trinity. His old horse was named "Winsome," not "Winall," but he didn't name it. (Courtesy of Arthur Blank.)

Arthur Blank on his horse, Trinity. His old horse was named Winsome, not not Winall, but he said he didn't name it. (Photo courtesy of Arthur Blank)

(To my online readers: This is not a typical blog or column. It’s a first-person account by Falcons owner Arthur Blank about his family guest ranch in Montana, where he escapes to every summer. It sounds like a very cool place. The AJC has done similar stories in the past with other Atlanta sports figures and asked me to do this one. The story is running in Sunday’s AJC, but I figured I would post it here, just in case you wanted to comment on it. FYI, I’ll also be off until Monday — thus, no panic posts on things falling apart in Flowery Branch. Thanks.)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank can travel any place in the world for his vacation. But where does he escape to every summer? Montana. The Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Paradise Valley opened in 1929. Blank and his family first visited there in the summer of 1999. He loved it so much that in the fall of 2001 he bought the place. (Must be nice to have those options.) Blank spends five to six weeks there every year – without TV, radio, cell phones or a Blackberry. But he does cheat a little. He recently built a private cabin for his family and hooked up a satellite dish so he can check email. And yes, he has three land lines (one for a fax machine). Blank spoke to AJC sports columnist Jeff Schultz about the ranch.

When I was younger, I did a lot of horseback riding. I rode at several camps in upstate New York. I used to teach hunter jumping when I was a teenager. Stephanie used to ride, too, but probably not as much as me. I think we both wanted a place where we could get away from the East Coat and get into the mountains, a place that was unique.

We have slightly under 9,000 acres. It backs up to the Gallatin National Forest, which is 1.4 million acres. It’s beautiful country. The weather is great. Days are long. Sometimes there’s light until 10 o’clock at night.

We have a place on the beach in Hilton Head and we love that. But this is very remote. At Hilton Head we have all the distractions you can have at home. At the ranch, it’s almost like living in a cocoon. It’s very much a nurturing kind of atmosphere. Part of the tone is there’s no TVs, no radios, no newspapers. People come there and spend a lot more time talking to each other, communicating with their families and their friends. People just get away from all of the noise that’s in their life.

It does very much the same thing for me. I spend more time with the family. I read more. I have more time to reflect. I don’t wear a watch. When I do work, at most it’s a couple of hours a day. Steven Spielberg came for a week three or four years in a row and he said he would make only two phone calls, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday.

I’ll try to stay in touch by email and call the office usually once a day. But I only do that because I’ll go for a month. What I can’t understand is why when I leave and come back, the Braves are in the same position. Why don’t things change — they’re still 5 ½ games out.

It’s just amazing quite honestly how much doesn’t change in the world, nothing of substance. The stuff that happens that you don’t know about really aren’t things you want to hear about or know about any way. You just get all of that out of your life.

Yes, this is a real picture and not a painting. (Photo courtesy of Arthur Blank)

95 comments Add your comment

CORRECT!!

August 6th, 2009
2:18 pm

Soooooo………

mryan

August 6th, 2009
3:02 pm

so, you’re an idiot for clicking on the link. so, get a life.

FALCONS SORRY

August 6th, 2009
3:03 pm

AUTHUR BLANK! I SEE YOU GOT A NICE PIECE OF PROPERTY THERE! DID YOU USE YOUR 30 PIECES OF SILVER TO GET SUCH A NICE PLACE! I BET YOU DO NOT EVEN FEEL THE LEAST BIT OF GUILT THAT THE MAN WHO LOVE YOU LIKE A FATHER THAT YOU CAST ASIDE IS OUT OF WORK RIGHT NOW AND HIS KIDS IS GOING HUNGRY BECAUSE OF YOU! NOBODY FINDS THAT LITTLE SMIRK OF YOURS CUTE NO MORE BLANK! IF YOU KEEP HAVING TO PAY OFF THOSE WOMEN THAT SUE YOU FOR SEXUAL HERASSMENT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO SELL OF ALL YOUR ILL GOTTEN GAIN! I BET YOU BOUGHT THAT PROPERTY WITH THE FIRST MILLION DOLLAR$ VICK MADE FOR YOUR BLANK! TED TURNER IS A LOT BETTER AND SMARTER OWNER THAN YOU BLANK! HE ALSO GET SUED LESS! YOUR LAND IS PROBABLY A WHOLE LOT SMALLER THAN TED TURNER TOO BLANK!

Alphar

August 6th, 2009
3:07 pm

Rich people make friends with the rich people. Is that the rule of the world?

Alphar

August 6th, 2009
3:11 pm

FALCONS SORRY, what’s that about? Vick made millions already before he was caught killing dogs. His kids going hungry? ask Vick where are those millions.

Ya hear me what I say.....

August 6th, 2009
3:16 pm

I see my brotha from anotha motha is living nice… nothing wrong with a dog that can climb a tree.

Dont mind them haters Blank. Keep doing you!! Bring that there trophy home to the A. Go Falcons!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 6th, 2009
3:23 pm

Damn, 9000 acres is a little over 14 square miles, which is roughly 3.75 miles square. Fairly big spread.

The Dogfighter Returns

August 6th, 2009
3:25 pm

Arfur you old geezer. why don’t you give roddy his money? what is the east coat:)? Bernie ain’t around to check your work uh? Now arfur keep your hands to yourself in big sky country.

don’t need anymore lawsuits at your age.

arfur give roddy his money now. call him and stop being penny wise pound foolish.

by the time you pay him it will be too late and he will come in and blow his knee just like Jamal Anderson.

FreeMikeVick

August 6th, 2009
3:33 pm

HAHAHAHA….Vacationing in a state that only allows white people in….OK, they let mexicans in too so they can clean……Not a surprise here.

Paddy

August 6th, 2009
3:39 pm

The American Dream. Oh how I love this country. Congrats Mr Blank. It is people like you that employ low lifes like me and thank you for having the ability to do so. I love capitalism. And I loved this refreshing piece of journalism. Thank God for supply and demand.

FreeMikeVick

August 6th, 2009
3:40 pm

I miss Terence Moore…..A truly great writer.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

August 6th, 2009
3:44 pm

I found a tick

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

August 6th, 2009
3:45 pm

maybe he can get a posse together to find a WR. I SAID POSSE!

Cobra-la-la-la-la-la-la!!

August 6th, 2009
3:57 pm

That settles it: Arthur Blank is officially THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!!

Stay thirsty, Falcons Fans!!

Cowgirl

August 6th, 2009
4:03 pm

I’ve been to this place for a summer vacation and their annual Wild West Women Adventure in May. Incredible experience – great family environment in the summer, top-notch service, riding, hiking, fishing and food. Best guest dude ranch in the country. Check it out at http://www.mtnsky.com.

Paddy

August 6th, 2009
4:04 pm

free michael vick…. you must expand your mind. It is dying on you. Be so very careful.

Bank Walker…. he did form a posse, they got lost.

CORRECT!!

August 6th, 2009
4:06 pm

Soooo………..

Georgia On My Mind

August 6th, 2009
4:17 pm

Seeing a story like this reminds you of the great divide (similar to the space between the Montana mountains) between the rich and the poor in the country…and the great divide is widening even more. I sure hope, Mr. Blank, that you can keep your money and your land while so many people in this country are having to give up their land, their money, and their jobs (many of which were formerly employed by Home Depot). But you aren’t too blame for the world’s problems and you even have a foundation to help others, don’t you. Well, I hope your foundation is helping some of those poor folks who have been laid off by your former company and not just some starving third world person that will soon grow up to hate all Americans because of the greed of the rich Americans (mostly banker types and not homeremodeler types). NOT a good time to be promoting your wealth and personal luxuries, Mr. Blank (must be nice to get away to Montana when so many are just trying to get away from their debts because they can’t find a job). I makes many of the rest of us not want to like you so much, even if our favorite team is the Falcons. Bad story. Bad timing. Bad period. Stick to sports. It makes most of us forget that so many of us have so much less than we had at the beginning of the summer when Mr. Blank went on his little get-a-way to Montana.

Georgia On My Mind

August 6th, 2009
4:21 pm

Speaking of non-sports stories, why does Sotomayer (that is the newly confirmed supreme court justice) always seem to be fast asleep in photos taken of her. Anyone else noticed that?

CORRECT!!

August 6th, 2009
5:00 pm

Obama sux!!!!!!

gabeaux

August 6th, 2009
5:11 pm

Why must people be upset at someone who made a lot of money? Hell, Arthur Blank got fired once, too but picked himself up and made it elsewhere. These guys supporting Vick in these blogs can’t be real. In the first place, Vick’s last two years with the Falcons were sorry. I know he rushed for 1000 yards but how did the TEAM do? 15-17. Vick isn’t coming back to the Falcons and have you noticed that the world is not beating a path to Mike’s door now that he is free to work after his suspension?

Panties in a wad

August 6th, 2009
5:39 pm

Matt Jones still available?

Paul H

August 6th, 2009
5:43 pm

FALCONS SORRY – what a sorry peice of work.

Saint Simons

August 6th, 2009
5:44 pm

45-42!!!! Oh wait, wrong blog. Sorry. Oops, I’m late for role playing practice again.

Paddy

August 6th, 2009
6:00 pm

Georgia on my mind….you and your attitude is what is wrong with this great nation.. Get a pair and try and hang on till the govt gives you a check for doing nothing. Idiot.

Sonny Clusters

August 6th, 2009
6:18 pm

Jeff, we was wondering if we was blogging with you or with Arthur Blank. If its you we can talk some baseball but if it is Arthur Blank I want to talk about some bad nails I bought at Home Depot and I found out they was Chinese nails and they was real rusty. When we was playing ball together back in school and we needed nails wed always go to Home Depot and them was pretty good nails. These nails now arent even straight half the time and some of em are even dull pointed. I forgot what I was going to say but it was not dull pointed you can be certain.

TampaGator

August 6th, 2009
6:25 pm

Paddy…obviously, you aren’t one of those out of a job (not because you weren’t doing a good job but because some rich people got very greedy and cost you your job) and reading this article. Plus, I think you did not understand the message of my post. This is a sports page site and a story on where Mr. Blank vacations in the summer (to get away from it all) is not of wide appeal to a nation of people wondering where the rent or mortgage is coming from and can’t get away anywhere…much less if they can afford season tickets to Falcons games. The story was very ill timed and insensitive, I believe, and that’s all. And I am not what is wrong with this country. Nothing wrong with being rich…in fact, it is a good thing. But the ability to get rich on your own is not the same as just a few years ago, my friend, and opportunities to get there are not available to most Americans anymore, even if you are highly educated. That is the truth (I don’t think Mr. Blank would have the same opportunity he had when he started Home Depot….probably couldn’t get a loan to start the company). And some people are poor because they don’t care or know better. But most Americans are “in between” somewhere, and stories on Mr. Blank’s vacation months “in paradise” is not, exactly, hitting sweet home with the economy the way it is right now. Be thankful you aren’t one of families just trying to make ends meet. If you were, then I guess you, too, “would be what is wrong with America.” And no one gives me anything…much less the government. But some people, Paddy, could not feed their kids (not their fault) if they did not get a check from the government….like AIG, Citi Bank, Bank of America, etc.

Sonny Clusters

August 6th, 2009
6:26 pm

Jeff, we could be an investigative reporter too. Arthur Blank is wearing a watch in that picture and he said he dont wear a watch there. If you are going to be gone til Monday can I have the blog while you are gone? We can talk a little baseball and a lot of Dairy Queen and maybe we can get your ratings up. If some of DOBs bloggers come on over here to blog Dairy Queen we may set some records. The spelling wont be much but the hits will be heavy. When we was playing ball together back in school we never cared.

TampaGator

August 6th, 2009
6:26 pm

Georgia on My Mind…good points and hang in there if life is too tough right now. With the help of people like Paddy, America will return to being great for everone again soon.

Georgia On My Mind

August 6th, 2009
6:36 pm

Tampa Gator….Why are you posting as me? I can respond to Paddy myself. I am a big boy and a true American. P.S….Just having some fun with ya’ll, signed, Tampa Gator. I just couldn’t help myself on this one. Don’t take it personally. Nothing better to do, I guess. It has been a very boring day.

Tampa Gator

August 6th, 2009
6:38 pm

Sonny Clusters…your first post was real funny…and true. Thanks for helping bring a smile to my boring day.

Tampa Gator

August 6th, 2009
6:42 pm

Sonny… you got great eyes. I can hardly see that watch. Plus, did you notice how finely pressed his shirt is. He ain’t no real cowboy, is he?

Sonny Clusters

August 6th, 2009
6:49 pm

Bloggers, this here is Sonny Clusters and Jeff seems to be gone for the week and they is no way Arthur Blank is blogging here so we was thinking maybe it is time for us to start a blogging conversation that dont involve Mike Vick or Montana or underpants.

So, here goes . . . does Bobby Cox need some more coaches or are these coaches allright with everybody? It seems if they is winning, the coaches are okay and if they is losing the coaches are not. We was thinking that some players dont take coaching (can think of one or two but cant mention names). :-) Those players that dont take coacching dont need coaches and they that do need some good coaches that can teach something. I want to know why more pitchers dont throw a sinker with Roger McDowell as pitching coach . . . seems theyd learn his best pitch.

M. Joseph

August 6th, 2009
6:53 pm

Sonny Clusters, I like what you bring to the table. Show us what you can do. – Mike

Tampa Gator

August 6th, 2009
7:50 pm

Hey Sonny….most of the Braves pitchers do throw a “stinker” pitch, especially that reliever Cox brings in everytime the Braves are one of two runs down and, suddenly, that “stinker” pitches end up being home run pitches…then the Braves are 5 or 6 runs down. Oh, you wrote “sinker” not “stinker.” My bad.

Sonny Clusters

August 6th, 2009
8:25 pm

That may be what Peter Moylan was throwin’ earlier in the season. We was thinking his out pitch was the one they hit out when he throwed it. We was also thinking a good sinker that sinks (Paronto had one that quit sinkin all of a sudden) would be somebodys out pitch. At least a couple pitchers could use another pitch. Whatever happened to that James boy that didnt have any pitches? When we was playing ball together back in school we always had some pitches.

M. Joseph

August 6th, 2009
8:55 pm

Sorry, Sonny. We’re going to have to shut you down. You’re not getting any posts. We may move you to editorials.

Sonny Clusters

August 6th, 2009
9:13 pm

Los Angeles – The Braves will give a $2.42 million bonus to first-round draft pick Mike Minor, the largest signing bonus in franchise history for a drafted player and largest ever for a No. 7 pick in the annual June draft. – AJC

Jeff is not going to like this. We was never very gracious about stuff like this.

Paddy

August 6th, 2009
10:04 pm

Tampa Gator… he may say he is kidding but that kind of attitude fries my butt. I am better now. Think I’ll get some warm milk and start over tomorrow and pull for my Dawgs.

Steve

August 6th, 2009
10:35 pm

Wow, I feel so MUCH better knowing that a millionaire has a guest ranch in Montana but yet I haven’t been able to find a job for almost 9 months……..do you think Authur would let me vacation there for a week or two? i didn’t think so either.

problem solver

August 6th, 2009
11:01 pm

I got it! Have Michael Jackson’s doctor treat Mike Vick.

get off your a$$

August 7th, 2009
12:32 am

S, you have no job and it’s Blank’s fault? Arthur found himself without a job once, along with Bernie Marcus and they didnt’ whine about not having work, they founded a little store called Home Depot that became a huge conglomerate that was turned into a shell of itself AFTER Blank and Marcus retired. So…the lesson here is quit whining and get off your A$$

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

August 7th, 2009
8:28 am

Jeff, I surely hope that the people that respond here aren’t a reflection of you ; >
What a bunch of dolts and low-lifes.

Robert

August 7th, 2009
8:55 am

Arthur Blank is the man! One of the best owners in sports. All the haters are ignorant, terrible people.

Paddy

August 7th, 2009
9:06 am

Chris Murphy…I really believe that most people are not dolts and low-lifes. Most folks in our country admire Mr Blank for his success. They go to work everyday, support family and don’t look for a govt. handout. Wish we had more people like A. Blank, don’t you?

Sonny Clusters

August 7th, 2009
10:05 am

We was thinking of inviting Arthur Blank over for some barbecue. We cook it out front in a pit we dug in the ground. We enjoy roughing it and we dont wear a watch when we do it. Arthur should fit right in.

matt r

August 7th, 2009
11:11 am

AB, buy the Braves!!

City Girl

August 7th, 2009
11:36 am

Now, I see what happened to my 40 acres and a mule!

mike

August 7th, 2009
11:37 am

SO, in the middle of the worst recession of my lifetime, Schultz decides it would be a great time to talk about a Billionaire’s multi-million dollar ranch in Montana and how magnificent it is. Must be nice.

Dazed & Confused

August 7th, 2009
11:46 am

Arthur Blank found “paradise” while inside Joe Montana ?!?!?!?

Yikes!

I thought the rumors about Johnny “Bend Over” Bench were disturbing enough.

Double Yikes!