CollegeFrontier Conference


Dillon native Pete Gibson to wear legacy No. 18 at Montana Western

Pete Gibson
Posted at 4:13 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 18:18:30-04

(Editor's note: Montana Western news release)

DILLON — Montana Western Bulldog and Dillon Beaver football player M.J. Simkins, whose life was tragically cut short prior to the start of his senior year, wore the No. 18 with pride. The number had tremendous significance because it showed his love for Dillon and Beaverhead County, which is Montana county No. 18.

Simkins wore the No. 18 from 2014 to 2016. His brother Nathan carried forward the tradition and values of the No. 18 throughout his Bulldog career (2017-21). The No. 18 has since become a legacy number for the Bulldog football team.

The number was and will be given to a senior student-athlete who represents the spirit and values of M.J. Simkins and what Bulldog football is all about. For the 2024 season, it has been awarded to Dillon native and senior running back Pete Gibson.

"Wearing the No. 18 to me means you embody M.J.'s quote of, 'Leave it better than you found it.' You are a guy that does right on and off the field. You are not only there for your teammates but the community," Gibson said.

Gibson, an upcoming senior on the 2024 football team, started his career at Montana Western in 2020 and has played for the Bulldogs as a running back and on special teams. He was a 2020 graduate of Beaverhead County High School.

Throughout his time as a Bulldog, Gibson has rushed for a total of 515 yards, with 456 yards accumulated last season. He has scored three touchdowns with an average of 7.4 yards per rush and 57 yards per game last season. He will continue to be a tremendous field presence for the Bulldog offense throughout his senior season.

"Gibson embodies what it means to be a Bulldog. He has worked himself into a valued team member on and off the field. Pete has earned everything he has gotten in the program," head coach Ryan Nourse said. "His positive and make-it-happen attitude, his willingness to sacrifice his personal wants and needs to be the best for the team, his leadership on offense and in our special teams units and his winning mindset has earned him the respect of his coaches, peers and community. Pete has definitely left the program better than he found it.

"The legacy of the No. 18 is more than a number in our program. It is something the whole community gets behind and brings them together. What M.J. stood for is why it is a legacy number, and his legacy helps breed a great culture in our program and community. I do not want to let down what the No. 18 means to the program, the community and the previous players that wore it."

The Bulldogs will play 10 games this season, with a balanced slate of five home and five away games. The defending Frontier Conference champions will kick off the historic season on the new Bulldog Sports and Activities Complex, the first year Montana Western will not be playing on Vigilante Field.

"I am most excited about seeing what we can do. We have a huge target on our backs with being defending conference champions. I know we can do it again and bring another playoff game to Dillon, we just have to earn every opportunity we get," Gibson added.

The Bulldogs will take the Vigilante Field for the last time with their spring game slated for Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m.

Learn more about M.J. Simkins' legacy and the Engine 18 organization.