Montana Public Radio

How Sarah Calhoun Is Working To Revive Rural America

Mar 23, 2020

A trailblazer is a pioneer, an innovator–someone who blazes new tracks through wild country. If you’re looking for a modern day trailblazer, look no further than Sarah Calhoun.

Born in Connecticut, Sarah was inspired to relocate small-town Montana by author Ivan Doig’s memoir, This House of Sky. After falling in love with the writer and his work, Sarah found herself living in his rural hometown of White Sulphur Springs.

Her time in the small community has been dedicated to supporting rural small business and nonprofit organizations. In 2006, Sarah launched Red Ants Pants, an apparel company focused on manufacturing womens’ work pants that fit, function and flatter.

Sarah Calhoun is the founder of a Red Ants Pants apparel company, a foundation and a music festival.
Credit Gil Stober, Peak Recording

Sarah went on to found the Red Ants Pants Foundation in 2011–an organization that “fosters strength and self-reliance in women and in rural agricultural communities.” That same year, Sarah also launched the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, a country music festival in White Sulphur Springs which attracted 18,000 attendees in 2019.

Today on Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs, Sarah and I will talk about her apparel business, her foundation, and her music festival. We’ll discuss her dedication to reviving rural America, and why she’s made women’s empowerment a focal point of her career.

Thanks to Peak Recording Studios in Bozeman, Montana for hosting Sarah Calhoun.

Update: The 2020 Red Ants Pants Music Festival has been cancelled. The 2021 festival is scheduled for July 22-25.