Montanans have chosen the bison skull for the state quarter, said Gov. Brian Schweitzer as he and members of Montana's Quarter Commission announced the design selection.
More than 30,000 votes and 300 comments on the topic were submitted to Schweitzer?s office through a Web site, mail, phone and e-mail.
The bison skull design received about 34 percent of the vote, with an elk design receiving a little more than 30 percent. Two other designs received about 18 percent each.
Unveiling of the selection took place June 29.
"Today's announcement means that my Mom might not let me come to Christmas dinner," said Schweitzer. "And, I didn't even get my favorite quarter, the mountain and river scene. But after reviewing the votes and the numerous thoughts and comments that came to my office, Montana's quarter, by popular choice, will be the bison skull."
When Schweitzer forwarded his selection of the bison skull design to the U.S. Mint, he wrote:
"The bison represents the wild, rugged and independent nature of our state and our people. Its skull represents our colorful and unique history. Montana is home to the last genetically pure, wild herd of bison, an animal that is sacred to the First Montanans, our Native American residents. Today, the bison skull is a powerful reminder of our open land and the pioneering way of life in Montana, a life lived in harmony with the land. It represents the sense of pride we feel in Big Sky Country ? where we undoubtedly are the best place to raise a family and build a community. The bison skull is a symbol Montanans use often, and with pride ? it has been a fixture on our license plates and used by our schools, businesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies for years."
The Montana quarter is scheduled to be the first state quarter of 2007. It achieved statehood Nov. 8, 1889.