Advantage Butte moneys up for 2017-18 slate

Advantage Butte moneys up for 2017-18 slate

By Bruce Sayler

Advantage Butte will go into the 2017-18 school sports schedule with $31,971 in its checking account for underwriting designated events in Butte.

Group treasurer Brad Spear, of Anderson ZurMuehlen and Co., reminded the Advantage Butte membership at its August meeting Tuesday that it spent $41,295 in putting on events to benefit Butte economics in 2016-17.

The figures were reported and discussed at the meeting held in the Butte Plaza Inn. Requests are beginning to filter in, with some having already gained approval, for monetary help with championship competitions headed to Butte. Membership renewals going on should add to the recruitment and expense-defraying coffers.

The Tuesday meeting covered mostly the summertime activities held, about to take place and other coming events.

Rody Holman, of PayneWest Insurance presided over the meeting as the Advantage Butte president and told the group that a request is being expected from Whitehall to help with playing host to a divisional tennis tournament next spring in Butte. Holman said more details will be learned before action is taken.

Butte Civic Center Manager Bill Melvin said Butte-Silver Bow government has bought three sports courts to place in the arena for volleyball tournament. He said the cost was about $40,000 and will be christened Aug. 25-26 when Montana Tech is the host school for the 17-team Big Sky Challenge college volleyball tournament.

He said the portable mats will be installed next week along with complementary equipment for holding the tournament.

“We’re hoping to break into the market for tip-off and club tournaments with these new floors,” Melvin said. “Maybe, we can get some high school tournaments.

“We can now bid volleyball tournaments that typically go to the MAC (Maroon Activities Center), if need be.”

The reference was to district and Class C tournaments that MAC often holds, but can’t when a scheduling conflict arises, such as will happen this year, that sends the tourney out of town. The Western A tourney will be held in the MAC this year the same dates the Western C is scheduled. The C tourney will now go to Manhattan Christian in Churchill. Melvin’s point was that volleyball court availability in the Civic Center might keep the tournament and the accompanying tourney-goer business in town those weekends.

There has also been talk of incorporating a high school tip-off tournament division into the Big Sky Challenge schedule, giving exposure to prep athletes as well as some college programs.

Melvin said the next big sporting event on the Civic Center docket is the Northern Rodeo Association Finals set for Oct. 6-7.

Chad Petersen, Butte Central activities director, noted the prep sports season already started for golf teams. Butte Central held an 11-school tournament at Highland View Golf Course on Monday. Maroon junior Tricia Joyce was the girls’ medalist. Petersen reminded that the BC Maroon-and-White Scrimmages are to be held Saturday — volleyball at 9:30 a.m. in the MAC and football at 10:30 on the Torger Oaas Maroon Field — with a barbecue, open to the public, to follow.

He said the alluded-to Western A volleyball tourney will be an eight-team divisional Nov. 2-4 the week after the Northwestern A and Southwestern A district tournaments. Petersen clarified the districts in the realignment for Class A. Butte Central will be in the Southwestern with Corvallis, Dillon, Frenchtown, Hamilton and Stevensville. The Northwest district will be made up of Browning, Columbia Falls, Libby, Polson, Ronan and Whitefish. Only four school — Belgrade, Havre, Lewistown and Livingston — now comprise the Central A while the Eastern A remains intact with Billings Central, Glendive, Hardin, Laurel, Miles City and Sidney.

A report full of high numbers regarding the Butte Family YMCA was forwarded to the group through Dorea Wilmoth, Advantage Butte secretary and Town Pump/Comfort Inn representative. It told that 538 Butte youngsters were enrolled in the YMCA summer camp, 495 in the Y’s swim lessons program, 235 in the soccer program, as well as 29 currently signed up for the Riptides Swim Team sponsored by the Y, 17 kids who competed in the Y’s 3-on-3 summer basketball program and 19 who participated in its first lacrosse camp. The message also noted the Y will be the host pool for swim meets on Oct. 1, Nov. 4-5, Dec. 1, Dec. 2-3, Jan. 13-14 and two more toward the spring.

Also, this Saturday, the YMCA will hold Family Community Day with a triathlon, color run and barbecue.

Matt Stepan, representing the Silver Bow Amateur Wrestling Association, reported 30 wrestlers from Butte competed in the Western Zone Regional Tournament for USAW (United States Amateur Wrestling) in Pocatello, Idaho, in June. He said it was impressive entry list. He also said the club held a camp directed by Mark Manning, head wrestling coach at Nebraska, “that was successful.” He said the Hoot Gibson Century Club dinner proved to be a successful fundraiser, too, in June and “raised a lot of money for our camp and for our scholarships program.”

Stepan said wrestling club signups will begin in January as a club takes a breather this fall.

Stepan then switched hats and, as a Montana Tech assistant athletic director, talked about Oredigger sports. He reminded that the Big Sky Challenge volleyball tourney is up three teams from the 14 who competed in it at the Civic Center last year, and again includes all seven of the Frontier Conference members.

“Advantage Butte has always been a partner with us in this and we thank them for sponsoring it and help growing it,” Stepan said. “Bringing the nationally ranked competition to Butte is critical to our program’s competitive growth and has helped greatly in costs.”

Montana Tech will open its football season on Aug. 31 at home against Carroll. Stepan said shuttle buses will be made available to transport fans for the evening contest. Bus stops will include the Civic Center, MAC, Sparky’s Garage, The Metals Sports Bar & Grill, Knights of Columbus Hall and the Vu Villa.

“With our new building construction going on (at Bob Green Field), some parking issues are being caused” he said. “But, if (the shuttle) is well-received by the public, we might continue it for other games.”

Stephanie Sorini, executive director of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce and representing the Butte 100 mountain biking spectacular, said 323 riders competed in this year’s Butte 100 races last month and that 240 of the contestants were from Montana. She said the breakdown was 81 in the 100-mile race, 152 in the 50-miler and 90 in the 25-mile event. They represented communities from all over the United States as well as foreign countries, including several from Canada.

She lauded the Stillwagon family of Butte for its participation and success in the meet.

“It’s getting to be larger and larger every year, and more spectators are coming out every year,” Sorini said. “It couldn’t happen without the 225 volunteers we had.

“(Race Director) Gina Evans is doing a great job growing it.”

The race will be held on July 21 next year, Sorini said.

“We’d like you to pass on our thanks to Gina for her hard work and efforts,” Holman said to Sorini.

The next Advantage Butte meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19 at the Butte Plaza Inn.


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