A Christian Piñata By The Name Of Michael Burks And His Connection To The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office

by Travis Mateer

It appears Michael Burks’ figurative airplane has crashed and burned so severely that he has fled the state amidst claims of death threats and drug dealing, but before getting into all that, let’s examine the connections Burks has to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

Despite our Sheriff’s Office being led by an elected Democrat, law and order agencies generally lean conservative when it comes to politics, so it’s not surprising that the guy who made a short documentary about Michael Burks spent 25 years working at the Sheriff’s Office in Missoula. From the link (emphasis mine):

An award-winning, short documentary film called “Angels Do Fly West” was released nationwide on Friday, and it was made by a Missoulian.

The film brings awareness to a volunteer-driven organization that arranges flights for people with serious medical conditions who might otherwise not be able to get the treatment they need.

The film’s director, producer and creator Joe McNeal worked at the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department for 25 years before he retired.

The film features a pilot, who McNeal discovered on social media.

The pilot is, of course, Michael Burks, and the documentary is pretty short and DEFINITELY worth watching. Here, let me make it easy for you:

Michael Burks is a very active person, and some of his passions, which have spilled over into contentious community conversations, have included junior hockey, Christian books and, most recently, fitness.

I didn’t know much of this community history about Burks until recently, especially how much fun some liberal luminaries have had over the years talking shit on this guy. Here’s one of ’em, an accomplished author by the name of Richard Fifield:

This insightful perspective from Richard Fifield tells me two things: one, he probably votes for Democrats (like Missoula Sheriff, T.J. McDermott) and, two, he probably has NO CLUE that Michael Burks has ANOTHER connection to the Sheriff’s Office, and that’s with Chaplain and LifeGuard Group head honcho, Lowell Hochhalter.

If you peruse the comments on social media about the story of Michael Burks stepping down as president of Fuel Fitness after the press release (read it in full at the first link above) you will find quite the pile-on, including a discussion about Burks’ personal life.

Instead of focusing on the salacious crap that social media banter is interested in, I’m curious why a guy who has connections to a Missoula law enforcement agency isn’t tapping that connection for some kind of support in this dire situation.

And when I say dire, here is the text from Michael Burks himself describing the extreme actions he is taking to protect himself.

I was quite interested to know more about this situation, so I tried to set up a phone interview. I was not successful, but here is part of my interaction:

There is a lot more after this exchange, but it’s not really pertinent to Burks’ plans, which was apparently to flee the state to an undisclosed location because drug dealers took over two of his fitness stores. And those drug dealers weren’t good at balancing the books, or something like that.

After thinking about this exchange for a bit, I figured it might be something the Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff’s Office might want to know about, so I tried to make a phone report, but no one has gotten back to me yet.

Maybe it’s pointless to try and make this report. I mean, what is there really to be suspicious about? Michael Burks likes to fly planes, he likes to open businesses, and he made his money brokering freight deals, which the Missoulian described in a 2007 article like this (emphasis mine):

It’s hard to believe that, just six months ago, Burks was working out of his basement.

His rise has been both literal and figurative; his new office-with-a-view is symbolic of a soaring business that recently won him a place on Entrepreneur magazine’s Hot 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing small businesses.

The business is Big Sky Specialized Carriers Inc., a freight logistics company that connects people who need things hauled to the truckers who can haul them. Burks launched the company in October 1999 with an initial investment of $50,000 in personal savings. He turned a profit – and in fact, made his first $1 million – by the end of the same year.

If I was just going for clicks there is a lot more I could be putting out in this post, but I’m not going to do that because other Fuel Fitness locations are still open for business and a new handler is trying to keep things from going totally off the rails.

What interests me, as I’ve said before, is more about the things NOT happening. Maybe I’ll need to add a call back from the Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff’s Office to the list.

Thanks for reading, and please consider supporting my independent journalism anyway you can.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to A Christian Piñata By The Name Of Michael Burks And His Connection To The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office

  1. Deedee Lynn says:

    Rather unhinged and self righteous, sounds perfect for the Life Group

  2. webdoodle says:

    Not condoning Burk, but that Fifield comment literally admitted to 15 years of constant harassment. That level of harassment indicates a common scheme, elevating it from a misdemeanor to a felony. If local law enforcement doesn’t intervene, I hope Burk sues him. No matter how much you dislike someone, that is not appropriate behavior.

    Also, encouraging people to haze someone you don’t agree with is malicious at the least, and is not the stuff a good neighbor does. In fact, he’s instigating a confrontation, that he clearly desires quite a bit. Perhaps he needs therapy.

    I suggest we send the Crisis Team to talk him off this cliff before he, or one of his flying monkeys does something dangerous.

    • Yeah, Fifield doesn’t seem to realize he’s admitting to some pretty malicious behavior. And because Burks is such a colorful character, I think everyone is missing the big picture story here.

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