Board and Meeting Information

Upcoming Meetings

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 10:00 am
 - Board Review of Proposed Memorandum of Understanding with Montana Lottery Commission

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link directly below:

Meeting ID: 850 9512 1152
Passcode: 298784

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[Agenda] [MOU Document]


Map created by the Montana Census & Economic Information Center

PDF version of map

Board Members and Officers

Board Members
District Name Term
Horse racing Industry Dale Mahlum (Bio)
Missoula, MT 59808
Term Ending:
January 1, 2022 
Horse racing Industry Ralph Young (Bio)
Columbus MT 59019
Term Ending:
January 1, 2023 
District 1 Jody Smith
Miles City MT  59301
Term Ending:
January 1, 2024 
District 2 Shawn Real Bird
Hardin, MT 59034
Term Ending:
January 1, 2022 
District 3 John Hayes  (Bio)
Great Falls, MT 59406
Term Ending:
January 1, 2024
District 4 Barry 'Spook' Stang (Bio)
Helena, MT 59601
Term Ending:
January 1, 2023 
District 5

Gary Koepplin (Bio)
Florence, MT 59833

Term Ending:
January 1, 2022 
Executive Secretary Gary Koepplin (Bio)
Florence, MT 59833
MT Board of Horse Racing

Board Members and Officers Biographies

All our board members are dedicated to the success of horse racing in Montana.  Each board member has unique experience and qualifications.  For more information on our members check out their biographies below.

 Dale Mahlum, Vice-Chairman - Horse Racing Industry Representative

Dale Mahlam, ChairmanDale Mahlum was born in Bowman, North Dakota.  He was raised on a farm throughout his youth in the Bitterroot Valley which is approximately an hour drive from his current residence northwest of Missoula, Montana.  Dale graduated from Corvallis High School and went on to serve in the United State Navy for four years.  Dale served in the Navy during the Korean War, 2 years aboard a ship and 2 years in Norfolk, Virginia.

Mr. Mahlum returned to the Missoula area to attend the University of Montana.  He graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in business administration.  After graduation, Dale spent the next 35 years as an owner and manager of an Ace Hardware store in Missoula.  Dale also served 8 years as Montana State Senator.  During all of this, Mr. Mahlum operated a thoroughbred farm outside of the Missoula.

Mr. Mahlum’s wife’s name is Sue and they have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.

Dale stated that the main point of emphasis while serving on the Montana Board of Horse Racing is to try and move all aspects of the horse industry in Montana to a successful plateau.

Mr. Mahlum is known around the state of Montana for his 8 years of service to the legislature and many years of service as a fair board member for the Western Montana Fair.  Dale has also served as a member of the State Fund – Worker’s Compensation Board, as well as director of 1st Security Bank in Missoula.  Dale has lent his time and expertise while serving on the University of Montana School of Business advisory board and on the national level, Board of Directors for Coast to Coast Hardware Stores.

Ralph Young - Horse Racing Industry Representative

Ralph Young was born in Culbertson, Montana.  His family moved to Absarokee when he was 8 years old.  In Absarokee, Ralph grew up on a ranch where his family raised commercial calves and registered Quarter Horses.

Ralph worked on the family ranch as well as at the family owned Feed, Seed, and Fertilizer business until he purchased his own hardware store.  Eventually, he went to work as a Sales Manager for a Caterpillar dealership for 20 years.  Mr. Young currently owns and operates Keyser Creek Arena located at 390 Rapelje Road in Columbus, MT.  Keyser Creek Arena is a full service equestrian center which includes a breeding program, training programs, event facility and equine rehabilitation center.

The Young family includes two daughters, Lindy Gairrett and Megan Young.  Mr. Young also has two grandchildren: Natalie Gairrett and Kole Gairrett.

Some of the organizations that Ralph Young has been involved with include the Montana Quarter Horse Association, NILE – Northern International Livestock Exhibition, Special ‘K’ Ranch as well as the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

Ralph’s major emphasis while serving on the Montana Board of Horse Racing is an all out effort to ‘bringing back the Sport of Kings’ in Montana.  With the effort to make the industry profitable again, he hopes to see the Montana horse industry revitalized.

John Hayes - District 3

John was born in Nampa Idaho.  He lived in Nampa and attended grade school at St. Paul's Catholic School until the 8th grade.  Mr. Hayes graduated from Nampa High School in 1961.  He grew up on a small acreage just outside of Nampa.  While living in Nampa, Idaho, the Hayes family owned and operated a livestock auction company.  The auction company sold dairy cattle on Thursday, beef, hogs, sheep and horses on Saturday.  During this time, Nampa was a little town of about 16,000 people.  There was a strong sports rivalry at that time between Nampa, Boise and Caldwell.  Also, during this time, the Hayes family were avid fans of the horse race track in Boise.  Rodeo was also a big part of the community with many rodeo stars coming from that area and participating at the Snake River Stampede.

John received his secondary education at the University of Idaho, Boise Junior College and Northwest Nazarene College.

John loved working in the family business, operating the livestock auction company.  Eventually, he moved his family (wife: Colene, children: John, Jill, Julie and Jeannine) in 1970 to Montana.  He started working in the life and health insurance business at that time.  In the late 1980's, Mr. Hayes became involved with the property and casualty insurance business.  He assisted the Montana Tavern Association with developing some insurance programs and continues to do that today.

John's family includes 9 grandchildren and has stated several times how pleased and proud he is of his family and the blessings he and his wife Colene share.

John's interest in serving on the board of horse racing combines 'being an avid fan' of the industry with seeing the benefits to communities that offer the sport.  He would like to see the board continue to work on the financial aspect of the industry and hopefully open new markets to more horse racing.

John has served on a number of organizations over the years.  To name just a few:  Montana Masons, Algeria Shrine, Montana Tavern Association, Montana Expo Park, Great Falls Rotary and many more.

Barry 'Spook' Stang - District 4

Spook was born in Missoula and raised in St. Regis where his family owned and operated a grocery store and motel.

Spook worked at the family owned stores in Hamilton and St. Regis. He graduated from Carroll College in 1973 with a degree in accounting and worked for a local CPA firm until returning to the family business.
In 1986 Spook was appointed to the Montana State Legislature to represent western Montana in the House of Representatives and later moved to the Montana State Senate. After spending 15 years in the legislature  he unsuccessfully ran for State Auditor and went to work as the Executive Director of the Motor Carriers of Montana, where he still is today.

He lives in Helena with his dog Bob. He has two children and 2 grandchildren. 

He became interested in horse racing and its future while working for the CPA firm as he was the track auditor in Helena.  He believes in the horse racing industry and would like to see it return to prominence in Montana.

Gary Koepplin - District 5

Gary KoepplinGary Koepplin was born in Missoula, Montana and raised on a ranch west of Missoula. His parents raised and raced thoroughbred horses and raised other breeds that were used for work on the ranch.

Gary graduated from Hellgate Elementary School and Sentinel High School, both of which are in Missoula. He also attended the University of Montana in Missoula.

Mr. Koepplin was actively involved in horse racing in Montana and throughout the northwest until the mid-2000s. Gary brings a unique perspective to his board position because he has worked all official positions at racing facilities from custodian in the jock's room to Executive Secretary for the Montana Board of Horse Racing.

Gary has also been actively involved in the real estate industry since the early 1990s and is a licensed REALTOR with an office in Hamilton. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Bitterroot Valley Board of Realtors® and is incoming Treasurer for the Montana Association of Realtors®. He has held multiple positions in both associations.

He and his wife, Colleen, reside in the Bitterroot Valley. They have 2 children and 3 grandchildren.

Mr. Koepplin strongly believes in Montana's horse racing industry and is a promoter of all its aspects from raising to racing. He is firmly committed to the sport and the enjoyment that it brings to the people of Montana.

Tom P. Tucker - Executive Secretary

Tom Tucker - Executive SecretaryBorn in Butte, Montana and raised on the family ranch in Stevensville, Tom Tucker has been involved in the horse racing industry since 1964.  His family raised, owned and raced quarter horses and thoroughbreds, following the fair circuit in Montana before expanding into Washington, Idaho and Arizona.

Tom graduated from Stevensville and attended Western Montana College on a basketball scholarship, graduating in 1975 with a BS in Education, double majors of Mathematics and English.  During the summers he worked on the race track performing jobs from hot walking to exercise boy, valet & assistant starter, racing secretary and state steward.  During the winter months he taught advance mathematics and coached at Hamilton High School.  From 1981 to 1984, he was the Associate Coordinator at the Race Track Industry Program, University of Arizona in Tucson.  He received his Master’s Degree in Administration from the University of Arizona before returning to Montana as the Executive Secretary of the Montana Board of Horse Racing in 1985.

From 1986 thru 1989, Mr. Tucker served as Director of Racing at MetraPark in Billings, Montana before starting IMS Consulting Group, Inc.  The company primarily develops software for the horse and greyhound racing industries.  In 2007, IMS’s major software products were sold to InCompass Solutions, a division of The Jockey Club.  IMS Consulting Group, Inc. continues to work with InCompass Solutions and The Jockey Club to service the technology needs of the horse racing industry.  Also, during the time of 1991 thru March 2009, IMS Consulting Group, Inc. managed Montana Simulcast Partners.  MSP was a non-profit organization formed to raise money for the racing industry in Montana.  During this 18 year period, MSP raised just over $9,700,000 for the Montana Board of Horse Racing, horsemen purses and track operations.


March 9, 2022 - Virtual Meeting [Agenda]


November 3, 2021 - Virtual Meeting [Agenda [Financials]
July 13, 2021- Virtual Meeting [Agenda] [Financials] [July Draft Meeting Minutes]
April 1, 2021 - Virtual Meeting [Agenda] [Minutes]
March 9, 2021 - Virtual Meeting [Agenda] [Minutes]
February 15, 2021 - Virtual Meeting [Agenda] [Minutes]


November 10, 2020 - [Agenda] [Minutes]
September 24, 2020 - [Agenda] [Minutes]
August 31, 2020 - [Agenda] [Minutes]
April 28, 2020 - Conference Call  [Agenda] [Minutes]
February 11, 2020 - Conference Call [Agenda] [Minutes]


November 13, 2019 - Board Meeting-Helena [Agenda] [Minutes]
July 27, 2019 - Board Meeting-GFalls [Agenda] [Minutes]
May 28, 2019 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]
February 18, 2019 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]
February 12, 2019 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]


November 7, 2018 - Board meeting-Helena [Agenda][Minutes]
July 28, 2018 - Board meeting-GFalls [Agenda][Minutes]
February 21, 2018 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]


November 8, 2017 - Board meeting-Helena [Agenda][Minutes]
July 29, 2017 - Board meeting-GFalls [Agenda][Minutes]
February 15, 2017 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]


November 9, 2016 - Board meeting-Helena [Agenda][Minutes]
July 30, 2016 - Board meeting-GFalls [Agenda][Minutes]
February 17, 2016 - Conference Call [Agenda][Minutes]


Visit the Montana State Library Archives for previous years.