By Bruce Sayler
Advantage Butte is passing the word that a few rooms to lodge umpires for a July youth district softball tournament are needed. Members of the group said they would be grateful to any local or area hoteliers with vacancies July 15-17 and willing to help.
The tournament is a USA girls’ district softball tournament with play divided into age groups and games to be played at Stodden Park, Father Sheehan Park, the Longfellow complex and in Anaconda. The umpire lodging requires 18 double rooms. Rody Holman, Advantage Butte president and organization representative for PayneWest Insurance said four Butte motels have responded so far.
Ron “Sarge” Rowling is a tournament director. Alternate plans for lodging the umps will also be considered, Advantage Butte members said.
The needs were among the items discussed in the May meeting of Advantage Butte held Tuesday in the Butte Plaza Inn.
Brendan McDonough, manager of the Maroon Activities Center, said feedback and receipts reflected a successful holding of the District 11/12-C high school basketball tournament in February in the Butte Central facility.
He said gate and attendance were both higher from previous recent years and Butte Central was awarded with a return of the tournament and encoring with the Western C Divisional tournament next year. The district tourney is set for February 15-18, followed by the divisional February 23-25. The Butte Civic Center will serve as the auxiliary facility for two Saturday morning loser-out games for at least one of the tournaments. One for the other is still in discussion.
Similar success with Butte’s rare, if not first, role in playing host to the Southern B Divisional high school tennis tournament last weekend, Ed Heard Jr., representing Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation, said. The tourney was played at Stodden Park.
Butte High Activities Director Chuck Merrifield said a large crew of volunteers will be working the state Class AA-A high school track meet to be held at Bulldog Memorial Stadium May 27-28. The workers and coaches will be fed in a hospitality room set up in East Middle School’s new gym recently completed. He said a floor covering provided by the Butte Civic Center will protect the new court surface.
Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Sorini said its major golf tournament will return to the schedule this summer, but dates and plans are yet to be confirmed. It had been an annual event until being canceled because of precautions related to the Covid-19 outbreak the past two years.
With the Montana High School Association having approved the implementation of a shot clock for basketball games next season, operators will be needed. Advantage Butte members discussed the need for the help and decided a training session will be scheduled this summer or fall open to anyone interested in working the courtside officials’ tables at Butte basketball games. Details will be revealed later.
Sorini, also owner of the Butte 100 mountain bike race, said entries for this year’s race have been closed at 500 entrants, the largest field ever. She said major sponsors are taking part and that 200 volunteers will be needed to work the race. Sorini said the entry list includes cyclists from 18 states, as well as from Australia and Canada. The race is scheduled for July 23.
McDonough reminded that the Western A Divisional tennis tournament was being played at Stodden Park and the West Elementary School courts this week. He also said the MAC will be the site of the retirement party for outgoing MHSA Executive Director Mark Beckman, a Butte native and former Butte Central coach. It is slated for June 11 between 4 and 9 p.m.
Bill Melvin, manager of the Butte Civic Center, said the arena will have activities this summer with bookings including the Butte High All-Sports Banquet on June 1, Colt Anderson’s Dream Big Foundation celebration June 23-24, the Butte Sports Hall of Fame social and banquet July 15-16, the Butte High volleyball camp July 25-28 and the Montana Tech Big Sky Challenge college women’s volleyball tournament August 19-20.
Advantage Butte Treasurer Brad Spear of the Anderson ZurMuehlen firm said the $19,600 in Advantage Butte commitments to Butte events for the soon-to-end current school year will be covered from a recent infusion of money to the Advantage Butte account. He said the organization now has $47,465.60 after receiving grants from the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) in Butte for encouraging business development through sports. The money is raised through a bed tax in lodging establishments. Spear said two grants totaling $25,500, including one from a prior year which was previously not procured, replenished Advantage Butte’s checking account.
Heard listed a variety of activities city rec has planned for the summer months. The Hit The Pit traveling team softball tournament is planned for June 10-12 at Stodden Park, the Wolf Tones hurling tournament June 10-12 at Copper Mountain Youth Sports Park, the Divide Scramble bike race June 18 on Big Butte and the Skyhawks Youth Sports Camps June 20-26 at Stodden Park.
Heard said the Uptown Hoops Classic outdoor basketball tournament entry list will close May 31 and that more than 200 players have registered so far for the inaugural year of the event.
The Skyhawks Yogh is for those aged 6-12 and includes camps in flag football, soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis and volleyball.
Costs are $109 for half-day (9 a.m. to noon) and $154 for full-day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
Phone 1-800-804-3509 or access online skyhawks.com for more information or for registration.
The next Advantage Butte meeting is scheduled for June 21 in the Butte Plaza Inn.