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Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently called on Montanans to submit ideas for the state’s commemorative quarter, which will debut in 2007. Schweitzer’s deadline for submissions is Aug. 31.

As a result, the governor’s office has already received a short pile of suggestions (T-Rex, Lewis and Clark), and many more are doubtless winging their ways off the drawing boards and toward the governor’s in-box as we speak. You know the sort of thing: flyfishermen plying mountain streams, bears, etc. Interestingly enough, many of us here at the Indy have fallen into the habit of wasting valuable editorial meeting time doodling commemorative quarter designs in our reporters notebooks (with actual counterfeiting the furthest thing from our wildly well-renumerated minds\), and over the weeks, we’ve come up with a few designs of our own: Butte’s Berkeley Pit, for instance (they could just cut a big hole in the center of the coin and send the extra metal back east); a dead bison strapped across a pickup hood; a horse (get it? A quarter horse?); maybe even an ultra-retro wooden quarter, with the motto “In Bush We Trust,” the backcountry minting of which could, you know, protect homes and stuff.

We admit our contrarian ideas probably don’t fit the governor’s criteria, which squelch creativity by dictating that “designs shall maintain a dignity befitting the Nation’s coinage” and “shall have broad appeal to the citizens of the state and avoid controversial subjects or symbols that are likely to offend.” Hell, they want us to submit designs “that promote the diffusion of knowledge among the youth of the United States about the state, its history and geography, and the rich diversity of our national heritage.”

Damn kids…if that’s the way it’s going to be, we’ll just bow out now. But we still want to play, so it struck us that perhaps we should turn the task over to our readers, who are generally cleverer than us anyway.

So with that in mind, we hereby launch the Indy’s own Monday Morning Quarter-master contest. Send us your designs—front, back or both—and we’ll look at them and giggle. We’ll also print a select few (non-libelous) entries in this space, and we may even forward one top winner to the governor’s office with the super-influential Indy seal of approval. And one lucky grand-prize winner will receive a mint Montana quarter, just as soon as they’re released.

But we don’t have all the time in the world, so our deadline is Monday, Aug. 1. Happy scribbling.

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