Kelvin Walker at the Conoco – one of his places of employment in Big Sky. He also works as a valet at the Yellowstone Club. PHOTO COURTESY OF KELVIN WALKER

When the community that seemed like “Twin Peaks” became home

Kelvin Walker on life in Big Sky

Kelvin Walker landed in Big Sky two years ago. It was the 5th of July when he turned in his notice in his dad’s shop in Mobile, Alabama. His friend Clay Bates had gotten him a job at the Yellowstone Club. So, he took a loan out from a friend, flew to Bozeman, worked his first summer, flew back, picked up his truck then returned and got a job at the gas station.

“When I first got here it felt kinda like Twin Peaks. I was living in Spruce Cone and I was trying to find a restaurant and this lady was in her car and she said, ‘Get in, I’ll drive you.’ I was like this is weird. She doesn’t know who I am, but she drove me to the restaurant,” he said.

There is this odd, friendly mountain city type of vibe to Big Sky – and now he is used to it. Big Sky is his home.

The fact that he followed a friend across the country shows how important his friends are to him. They are family – the family he chooses. In fact, when he and his friend both worked at the club he used to ask members to go and tell “his brother” happy birthday. They would come back and say, “Your brother is white?”

And always one to snag the opportunity for a joke he would quip, “He is? I never noticed!”

He was removed from his family home when he was 10 years old. One of eight children, the oldest siblings were removed and scattered across the nation. They touch base every once in a while. As for him, he landed in a group home in Orlando.

“The group home was good but at 18 they’re like, ‘Get out,” he said.

It was that year that he reconnected with his mother and a year later that she died.

It was not long before he started working staggering hours. In Mobile he would work 7 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.

He did not have time for hobbies.

“It’s fun to work so much. It puts you above everybody else who can’t do it. It’s exciting in its own kind of way. It’s almost an adrenaline rush. You can see what your body is capable of doing,” he said.

After a couple of years in Big Sky, he works 85-90 hours per week and does manage to carve out a little time for hobbies. Being from the south, he loves the snow, the cooler temperatures and mountain activities. Snowmobiling, snowboarding, golfing, and hiking.

While he enjoys his newfound hobbies, he still maintains that working so many hours is the best path for him.

“Working long hours keeps me busy, the more free time you have the more trouble you’re gonna get into,” he said. “You can’t get into trouble while you’re busy.” He said he pretty much makes it a life goal to stay out of trouble.

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Lone Peak Lookout

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