By Bruce Sayler
Coups in conventioneering, volleyball and wrestling were among the topics of reports heard Tuesday at the Advantage Butte January meeting held in the Butte Plaza Inn.
Advantage Butte money was also approved for holding golf, roller derby and softball tournaments this spring in Butte during a busy session with a rather low turnout of members.
The Advantage Butte treasurer and Anderson ZurMuehlen and Co. firm representative, Brad Spear, told the group $19,977.20 remained in the checking account in the first report of the meeting.
The return of the Montana High School Association meetings to Butte, and the landing of a large high school volleyball tournament and a wrestling tournament were among the successes mentioned.
Rody Holman, Advantage Butte president and rep for PayneWest Insurance, attended this year’s MHSA annual meetings held in Billings last weekend. Past president Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting Inc. (KBOW, KOPR & Magic radio), and Bill Melvin, Butte Civic Center manager, also represented Advantage Butte at the conference.
They brought back the meetings for next January at the Copper King Inn, where the state convention was held last year and drew rave reviews from the administrators in attendance.
“A number of people said they were glad the meetings are coming back to Butte,” Davis said. “Billings was a distant second to what we did here last year. But, now that we’ve set a high bar, we have to maintain it.”
A Class A-B midseason volleyball tournament and a cemented spot into the Class A Duals wrestling tournament rotation were among the prizes the Butte delegation netted, as well.
The Advantage Butte officers said a favorable circumstance was that it was the only faction lobbying for events that attended the meetings. No other community sent procurement delegates.
Davis said a 32-team tournament involving Class A and B teams is to be placed in the Civic Center and at the Maroon Activities Center in October in a new endeavor. It is to be scheduled for sometime in October.
He credited Chad Petersen, Butte Central activities director, for pulling in the tourney.
“And, Advantage Butte has been invited to be involved,” Davis said.
Melvin said the 2022 Class A Duals wrestling tournament will be held at the Civic Center. He said Class A decided to rotate the tourney through three sites instead of the current setup of each Class A member getting a chance to play host. Lewistown and, tentatively, Livingston are to be the other locations.
Melvin added that Class B schools are in talks about moving their wrestling divisionals to a system of two superdivisionals, one in the Eastern part of the state and one in the Western, being used to advance contestants to the state tournament. If such does happen, then the Civic Center would seem to have a strong chance at being the venue for the Western SuperDivisional, Melvin said.
J.P. Gallagher, Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation director, said Butte will be the host of the Western AA Divisional softball tournament May 14-15. He said Chuck Merrifield, Butte High activities director, notified him of the decision. It will be played at Stodden Park, a week before the state Class A softball tournament on the same diamonds.
The Advantage Butte reps referred to an earlier report that the MHSA has approved boys’ powerlifting and girls’ wrestling as new sanctioned sports added to its activities docket.
Decided, too, Davis and Melvin said, was the 2021 state Class A high school boys’ and girls’ basketball tournament going to a four-day format from its current three-day stay. Davis said such will rid the necessity of an alternate gym for use in the Saturday loser-out rounds, as is effect, currently. The Civic Center will be location for the first four-day state Class A tourney. The Civic Center has the state Class B tournament this year, but under the traditional three-day schedule.
Davis said, also, that Class A is considering moving to a neutral site location for its state football championship game. Nothing has been decided, though. Melvin said Class B is against such a move for its game.
Davis said it was reported at the meeting that the 2018 state Class C championship eight-man football game, which was held at Naranche Stadium as a first experiment at holding it in a neutral site, turned out to be the most viewed game in the country on the National High School Association event video streaming site. Flint Valley won the game, 50-14 over Great Falls Central.
Advantage Butte acted on three funding requests at the meeting, all were recommended by the executive board and all were approved on a voice vote without dissension.
One was of $2,000 to Butte Central for help in costs of putting on the state Class A softball tourney in May. Melvin motioned for approval and Melissa Bolton of the Butte Plaza Inn seconded. Another, also requested by Butte Central, was also for $2,000 and was for financial help in holding the state Class A golf tournament next fall at the Butte Country Club. The motion for approval was by Melvin with Gallagher providing the second. The third was a $2,500 request by The Copper City Queens roller derby team for $2,500 to help in holding a roller derby tournament in the Civic Center, June 13-14. Organizers said 100 to 210 team members are expected to be competing and will bring family, fans and support personnel with them. Davis moved for approval and Maria Pochervina of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce gave the second.
Gallagher said SNoFLINGA, Butte’s annual winter sports festival, was another success last weekend “despite a lack of snow.” He said it is “believed to be our biggest, yet.” He said the move of the polar plunge to The Original mineyard area proved to be a successful and popular decision and that skating at Stodden Park was also well-received. However, the ski-joring competition had to be canceled because of the shortage of snow.
He said his department’s coming chores include hanging more protective netting at the Stodden Park softball fields.
Melvin said the annual Butte Bull-A-Rama has been rescheduled for May 15-16. It is usually held in January, but excavation work in the Civic Center north parking lot necessitated a date change this year. He said the Civic Center will be busy with high school and youth basketball and youth wrestling the rest of the winter.
Holman announced that Advantage Butte secretary Dorea Wilmoth is vacating the position due to receiving a promotion into the Town Pump Corp. executive office. Wilmoth has served several times and said she will still be available to help Advantage Butte at times. Holman said he hopes a capable volunteer replacement for the secretary position will emerge.
Pochervina reported that Butte 100 owner Stephanie Sorini, also the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce executive director is seeking national and local sponsors for this year’s mountain bike spectacular, scheduled for July 25. Pochervina said 200 volunteers have committed to work the race.
The next Advantage Butte meeting is to be held on February 19.