A legendary Montana photographer will be a special guest at Thursday's State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C. The Billings Gazette's Larry Mayer was already en route when I heard from him Wednesday morning.

Larry tells me that he was invited to be the special guest of Montana Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-MT02) on Thursday night. As I understand it, each Senator and Congressman is allowed to have one guest in the gallery for a big event like the State of the Union (SOTU)- so that's a pretty cool deal.

I never got to attend a SOTU, but in the days before the 9/11 terror attacks I was able to sit in on an address to Congress by then-President of Mexico Vicente Fox. We had one ticket for then-Senator Conrad Burns' (R-MT) office, and I was lucky enough to take the opportunity. Then, just a few days later how our whole world changed.

Larry Mayer has been with the Gazette for decades and got international attention for his photo of the China spy balloon that was spotted over Billings, Montana nearly one year ago. (By the way- our buddy Michael Foth spotted it too! Maybe some bar in Laurel will make him a special guest for the SOTU...ha)

Montana's Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) also recognized Larry Mayer on the one year anniversary of the spy balloon hovering over Montana.

Senator Daines: Despite the Biden administration’s attempts to cover it up and hide it from the American people, Larry Mayer of Billings spotted the balloon, and the public became aware of this brazen violation of our sovereignty by the CCP. For a year now, the Biden administration has refused to answer vital questions and tried to brush this national security debacle under the rug. Montanans still deserve answers, and I’ll keep pushing for accountability so this never happens again.”

Click here for more of the backstory on the China Spy Balloon.

SHOT Show- Montana to Las Vegas

We took the trip from Montana to Las Vegas for the SHOT Show- the world's biggest guns and outdoor gear show. From radio row to the trade show floor.

Gallery Credit: Aaron Flint

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