Justin Murnion loving Winnett life but excited for road ahead


One of Justin’s favorite pastimes is hunting. Here he is with a mountain lion he killed two years ago. He’s particularly proud of this one.

Photo courtesy of Justin Murnion

Winnett senior Justin Murnion has a big change ahead. Next fall he plans to live in Havre, where he’ll study diesel technology at Montana State University-Northern.

Excited about the change, Justin said he’s not in a hurry to get there, as he’s enjoyed growing up in Winnett.

“It’s a small town with a lot of friendly people,” he said.

Friends, family, classmates, business owners and neighbors have all been kind, he said. Through the years, the teachers have been particularly excellent.

“The teachers have really been great,” he said. “They all help you when you need it.”

Justin, who lives on a ranch with his family, said he thoroughly enjoys ranch life and pictures himself living on the ranch when he is done with school, unless a career opportunity comes along to change those plans.

Ranching, he said, is a lot of fun and feels like home. Nevertheless, he wants to learn diesel mechanics, thanks in large part to his involvement in Skills USA at school.

“Skills USA has been great,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot. We’ve gone to MSU-Northern, too, and it’s been cool getting a feel for the town and what the school offers.”

Justin said it’s hard to believe in less than a year he’ll be living elsewhere, but he knows it’s time.

“I’m ready for it,” he said. “It’ll be different. I’ll miss the ranch. I do everything there that needs to be done: chasing cows, feeding cows, irrigating and haying.”

Part of him will miss it, at least, Justin said, but part of him won’t, especially when it comes to cutting grain. He’ll miss feeding cows and calving more.

But having a break from those activities won’t be bad, either.

And, of course, he’ll be back. On breaks from school, Justin said he looks forward to being back in Winnett to ride horses, hunt and fish.

He especially looks forward to coming back next winter to hunt mountain lions – which is one of his favorite hobbies.

Recently, he picked up a new hobby, as well: hunting coyotes. And he has some unfinished business now.

“We just took third in the Winnett Coyote Derby this year, killing five coyotes,” he said. “It was our first time. We were pretty excited about it. I hope to do it next year and maybe do even better.”

The first place winners got 12 coyotes last year, Justin said, so he plans for his team to get at least that many.

And, if they don’t, that’s OK, too, but he wants to give it a try, at least.

While in Havre, Justin knows he’ll be busy and he’s psyched for the challenges ahead.

“It will be nice to see and experience different places and things,” he said, “but I’m going to miss being on the ranch and seeing my friends.”

But moving to Havre is still a little ways away. Justin has until August to enjoy being at home. Despite having “senioritis,” he doesn’t need anybody to remind him to live in the moment, as he plans on taking each day as it comes.

“I like it here,” he said.


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