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Wolves and supermodels: Not the usual Sunday crowd at the Silver Dollar

Wolves and supermodels: Not the usual Sunday crowd at the Silver Dollar

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Let's face it — many women are used to dealing with the occasional wolf in a bar.

Daniela Braga and Kate Bock are supermodels. They've been in a few situations. But on Sunday afternoon at the Silver Dollar in Butte, the Montana guys hanging out with the two women were in a different league entirely.

There was Bubba, with spiky black hair and a piercing gaze. There were the brothers — Rollie and RB (short for Rollie's Brother). There was Moose, big, blond, rangy. And finally, Tundra. His quick moves and confident stroll down the bar left no doubt he was the Alpha male of the group.

But the good news is that they were all perfectly well-mannered fellows — charming, even. Particularly for, well, wolves.

The celebrities and the wildlife were mixing in front of the lens of photographer David Yarrow, world-famous for photographing creatures of both descriptions.

Every year, Yarrow, a Scot, comes to Montana for a shoot.

"I love it here," he said Sunday. "It's cold country, great country. It allows me to operate without being controlled, with some creative courage."

He's been various places in the state — Virginia City several times, including last year, with model Cindy Crawford and some of the same wolves, courtesy of Animals of Montana, a Bozeman company that specializes in providing trained animals for photo shoots, film and the like.

But this was his first time shooting in Butte.

"I researched it a lot," he said. "But when we came and saw the treasure troves here — the mines, the buildings, the heritage of the place — we loved it.

"The best thing about it is the people, and that's not unusual. People make the place, the place doesn't make the people. Everybody's been friendly and welcoming."

David Yarrow has made himself an amazing career, or two or three.

Accomplishment in photography came early, while he was still at the University of Edinburgh and covered soccer's World Cup for the Times of London. But after he graduated he embarked on a career in finance, working eight years as an international stockbroker before starting his own hedge fund in 1995.

But he has always photographed. His work is shown in top galleries and often sells in the six figures. His images have been collected into several books.

Yarrow is an avowed conservationist who has donated well into seven figures to animal-protection organizations. One of his recent books, "Wild Encounters" (2016), has a foreword by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and was picked as the Art Book of the Year by Amazon. Yarrow's royalties from the book are donated to Tusk Trust, a British charity focusing on African animal conservation.

His love of animals was evident Sunday, as he worked with the wolves and Adam, a grizzly bear who leaned his 600-pound girth against the venerable bar and chowed down on treats provided by his Animals of Montana handlers.

Even considering some of the exotic habitues of the Dollar, that might well have been a first.

"We love working with David," said Troy Hyde of Animals of Montana. "This is the eighth year we've worked with him, in Montana and a lot of other places — Chicago, Gary, Indiana, and Los Angeles, right down on Sunset Boulevard.

"He's great to work with because he's given so much back to conservation efforts."

As Yarrow lay flat on the bar, Animals of Montana handlers brought a succession of the wolves, gently lifted them onto the bar and encouraged them to walk between Braga and Bock, where they were rewarded with chunks of chicken, er, wolfed down right in front of Yarrow's lens.

The Silver Dollar was gussied up for the occasion, with antique craps and roulette tables set up for appearances, and costumed bar girls, croupiers, and various denizens in Old West garb.

Bock, 26, from Canada, has appeared in magazines such as Maxim and Elle and has modeled for Victoria's Secret. She lives in Paris, but she's from Vancouver, British Columbia, so she's no stranger to the West.

"All I've seen of Butte is right here, but it looks great," she said. It's the third time she's worked with wild animals, she said, "and it's cool once you get used to it."

Braga, 27, is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has been on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, V, Elle, and others. She has been featured in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show four times and has elite runway and magazine credits.

But this was her first time hanging out with wolves at a Montana bar.

She handled it with complete aplomb.

The resulting images, with the Silver Dollar's trademark red neon 'BUTTE' as a backdrop, will be featured in galleries worldwide.

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