University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings alumnus to read from his recently released novel

October 30, 2014



Brent Roberts, Library, 657-1655
Sarah Brockel, Alumni Relations, 657-2980
University Relations and Communications, 247-5780


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings alumnus and Libby-based writer Cyrus Lee recently released a new novel, “Me & the ’53," and will be giving a public reading on Nov. 12. The self-published book is available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon as well a revised paperback.


Lee book cover, Me & the  '53

Sponsored by the MSUB Library and Alumni Relations, the reading will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the university campus, 1500 University Dr., in the Library building, room 302. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the reading.


A coming-of-age motorcycle story, “Me & the ’53” tells the story of “Kid,” a 12-year-old boy whose world is changed when 27-year-old Scorchy Black rides into his small south central Montana town on a chopped ’53 Harley-Davidson.


Loosely based on the author’s own young life, “Me & the ’53” takes place in the summer of 1965. Scorchy arrives to reopen the town’s blacksmith shop, left to him in a will, while putting a lot of miles between him and his troubled Southern California past.


Also a new arrival to town, Kid lacked “many of the prerequisites of rural life, the biggest being ‘you aren’t from here.’”


While his folks had money, they really had no status, Lee writes. “Status in that town was built primarily on what kind of spread your dad had or how good of a jock you were, or double blessed with both.”


On his way to mow a lawn for summer cash, Kid decides to see if he can catch a glimpse of the biker that had rolled into town the night before. Word about the stranger in town spread fast. People were quick to assume Scorchy was a “Hells Angel on the run from the law.”


While every curious kid in town waited for his or her chance to get a good look at Scorchy and his motorcycle, it was the Kid who made an impression. He soon began working in Scorchy’s shop, learning a few important life lessons as the summer flies by, taking readers through perspective changes through past and present time.


Written for a young adult audience, the story is sure to also entertain those who came of age in the 60s.


Lee is a 1972 Billings West High School graduate. He received is bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Montana College in 1978. During his time at EMC, he worked as a photographer for the school newspaper as well as a disk jockey for Yellowstone Public Radio-KEMC.


Lee served in the United States Army in Germany from 1979-1983 when he took a European separation remaining in Germany working for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. In 1987 Lee earned his master’s degree in education administration from the University of Montana.


He and his wife, Kim, returned to Germany in 1988 where he worked with the Department of Defense Schools as an elementary and middle school teacher. They returned to Montana in 1994 where they settled with their two children.


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