You are here: home → about us
The Local Rag is a monthly newspaper distributed free to over 4000 residents in and around Red Lodge, Montana. We produce what we like to think of as the "localest" local rag in existence. We're always looking for good articles, feedback, fun pictures, feedback, large sums of unmarked bills, poetry, and free beer.
We are also always looking for snippets of news, gossip, and congratulations to fill the popular "personals" page. If you have something to say, let us know.
Some time in 1991 (the early history is a bit fuzzy), a woman named Lou Ward decided to put her newspaper experience to work and start a monthly paper in Red Lodge. That first issue, like every one after it, was free—funded by advertising. The name of the paper then was the Red Lodge Local News.
Initially, Lou gathered all the news by hanging out in the bars (it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it), and hand-delivered papers to every house in town. As Lou phrased it, "It was my very own soap box, bulletin board, bragger's book and information exchange."
One issue managed to seriously offend the owner/editor of another paper called Northern Lights, who didn't like Lou's Christmas jokes. She contacted every single advertiser in the Local News and asked them to boycot that "local rag" for being paganistic. Lou changed the name of the paper from Local News to Local Rag just to piss her off, and the name stuck.The Rag went on to change hands a couple of times, and go through two more editors (Jean Atherly and Kari Clayton). On September 19, 2007—National Talk Like a Pirate Day—Gary and Kathy Robson (owners of Red Lodge Books) purchased the Local Rag from Kari. The purchase price was not disclosed, but it was somewhere between Kari's asking price of "millions and millions" and Gary's initial offer of four cheese sandwiches and a six-pack of Glacier Ale.
Gary and Kathy Robson
Gary handles all of the editorial and layout work for the Rag. He is a freelance writer, with over 20 books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles to his credit. He has been a contributing editor for two magazines and a newspaper and served on the editorial board of another. He serves on the boards of the Beartooth Nature Center and the Red Lodge Festival of Nations. He has served two terms as President of the Festival of Nations and two terms as Exalted Ruler at the Beartooth Elks Lodge.
Kathy takes care of the Rag finances. She performs television closed captioning for network news and sports. Her work can often be seen on ESPN and other sports channels. She spent four years on the Belfry School Board (chairing it for two), and is currently on the Red Lodge Main Street Events Task Force.