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Rainmaker Taking Credit For Increase In Moisture PDF Print E-mail
Written by Associated Press   

Great Falls Tribune
June 11, 2001

Billings (Associated Press) 

ImageThe drought in eastern Montana is ending, says the rainmaker who has been touring the area for farmers and ranchers the last several weeks.

A new moisture pattern has developed that should carry Montana through the summer, and Matt Ryan said he and his wife, Gigi, will return to their home in California .

“It’s starting to be visible,” he said Saturday. “I’m optimistic. The atmosphere is more normal now and there are a lot of indications the drought in Montana is letting up.”

In fact, it has been raining all over Montana lately, and Ryan is willing to take the credit.

Arid Towns Turning to ‘Rainmaker’ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Carol Bradley, Tribune staff writer   

Great Falls Tribune
March 20, 2001

ImageOrdinarily when he gazes up at the sky, Matt Ryan says, he can see five or six different sections pulsing with energy in a cornucopia of colors and shades.

But Eastern Montana is so bone-dry that when Ryan arrived in Roundup a week and a half ago, the sky held no color at all, he said. It looked to him like one big muslin sheet.

Of course, that’s the reason Ryan was summoned to Roundup in the first place – he’s called “the rainmaker,” which is the equivalent of a miracle worker in this parched region of the state.

Farmers and ranchers worried sick about the drought hired him, hoping against hope he could quench some of the thirst.

Lo and behold, nearly a week after Ryan went to work, snow and rain did fall on her ranch and the surrounding county, Viola Hill reported.

“It was pretty wet snow,” Hill added in a telephone interview the following day, “because it’s real muddy out here right now.”

They used to hang rainmakers back in homesteading days, Ryan is fond of saying, and now and again the locals still treat him as if he were Elmer Gantry, the fictional charlatan who smooth-talked innocent folks out of their money.

Hope in the Clouds PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lorna Thackeray of the Gazette staff   

Billings Gazette
March 18, 2001

ImageDesperate farmers, ranchers seek help from rainmaker

As far as Viola Hill is concerned, it comes down to this: Keep praying for rain that doesn’t come, or hire a rainmaker and try to save the family ranch.

“They said, well, we should pray,” she said in an interview from her home in Roundup. “Well, we have prayed and our prayers aren’t being answered”

She and her neighbors in Musselshell and Petroleum counties have been waiting for decent moisture since 1993, the last time she can remember the family ranch halfway between Musselshell and Winnett covered with thick, green grass.

It’s been downhill since.

“Drought, drought, grasshoppers, drought,” she lamented. “If we go through another summer like last summer, we’re going to be out of business.”

Viola Hill remembers the misery of the 1930s and believes the last eight years have been worse. If it continues much longer, there will be no one left in the heart of Montana ’s farm and ranch country still in business, Hill said.

Return of the Rainmaker PDF Print E-mail
Written by David S. Lewis   

Montana Pioneer
May 2001

ImageCall It Coincidence, or Attunement with the Forces of Nature, Rain Seems to Follow Matt Ryan Wherever He Goes

Say what you want about Matt Ryan, but when he shows up in Montana , drought conditions seem to improve. Called by drought stricken farmers and ranchers, Ryan has made five trips to Montana over a period of ten years. He has been called here before, and he was called again in February, by ranchers willing to pay him good money to “make rain.”

His last “rainmaking trip” began February 13 and ended March 20. The first and primary area he addressed with his mysterious technique stretched about 150 miles north to south, from Cascade through Great Falls , Brady, Conrad, and Shelby . Of the 37 days Ryan spent in Montana , he spent 27 days in this area.


In The Wake of the Rainmaker PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lorna Thackery   

Billings Gazette
September 24, 2000

ImagePhyllis Fuhrman knows that some of her neighbors in northeastern Montana think she’s nuts.

But if she needs assurance of her sanity, all she has to do is look at the numbers rolling off the account books. Whatever anyone else may think, hiring the rainmaker made more sense to her than anything she’s done all year.

Fuhrman, 70, who has worked the land north of Glasgow with her husband for the last 50 years, goes so far as to say the rest of the state is clearly demented for enduring an unnecessary drought.

“It’s awesome what this man can do,” she said. “We’ve got wheat coming out our ears up here.

”“This man” is Matt Ryan, a 48-year-old rainmaker from Mt. Shasta , California . The Fuhrman’s and several other farmers and ranchers in the northeast section of Montana put together $10,000 to bring him here in early June along with steady rain that has soaked their corner of the state and nowhere else in Montana in this year of withering drought. The Fuhrman’s paid $4,500 of the fee themselves.