By Bruce Sayler
A lot of teamwork in Butte allowed for the annual Montana Tech Big Sky Challenge college volleyball tournament to return this weekend in its annual commitment.
The tournament field was expanded last year with planned continued usage of the Butte Civic Center for a venue, Matt Stepan, Montana Tech athletic director, and Bill Melvin, Civic Center manager, related to Tuesday’s August meeting of Advantage Butte held in the Butte Plaza Inn.
The Civic Center has been repurposed by the city for work on the filming of the television series “1923,” causing all other scheduled tenants for the time being to be relocated. Melvin and his staff have been key in helping with the rearrangements, Stepan noted during the meeting.
One of the tasks was for Civic Center workers to move the SportsCourts owned by the Civic Center for volleyball matches temporarily to the Maroon Activcities Center, which is one of two sites being used this weekend for the tournament. Montana Tech’s HPER Complex is the other.
To help with the holding of the tourney, Advantage Butte has agreed to recommend to the group executive board allocating money to offset costs, including inflation-related and new costs associated with the reconfiguration of the tourney staffing and site schedule.
Melvin moved the board be given decision-making power to allocate up to $7,500 toward the tourney costs. Stepan has not yet submitted a specific amount request, due to some unknowns still associated with this year’s event in regard to new costs.
Ed Heard Jr. of the Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation Department seconded the motion, which carried easily.
Vice president Kami Johnson of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit conducted the Advantage Butte meeting in the absence of president Rody Holman.
Johnson that treasurer Brad Spear of the Anderson ZurMuehlen Co. Firm reports $28,072.60 in the checking account of which $6,600.00 has been committed for coming events. Spear was unable to attend the meeting.
Johnson said membership renewal invoices for the coming school year are to be mailed in September.
Stepan spoke about the importance of continuing the volleyball tournament, even while having to solve some of the unique problems associated with working around a new venue and the opportunities afforded the community by the television production.
“It is huge for us,” Stepan said, “playing top 10 talent (teams) and staying relative to national rankings. It is a lot better for our team than having to play these teams out on the road. The cost of playing these teams out on the road would be a lot more than the increase in expenses here. This tournament, too, has been a linchpin in our team’s recent success.”
The tournament runs Thursday through Saturday and all of Montana Tech’s matches are scheduled for the HPER Complex.
Melvin reminded some other events first slated for the Civic Center have been sent to other local venues due to the facility’s unavailability likely through at least the end of the calendar year. Butte Central’s Blocktober Classic volleyball tournament, expanded this year to 26 teams, has been rescheduled for the MAC, HPER Complex and East Middle School. A pow wow was moved to the Butte Plaza Mall Events Center (September 9-10), the Jim Street Mining City Duals wrestling tournament will take place at Butte High’s two gyms, also with an expanded field of teams, and the Justin Moore country music concert has been re=-set for 3 Legends Stadium at Copper Mountain Youth Sports Park as an outdoor event, Melvin said.
A request for $5,000 was submitted by Montana Special Olympics for Advantage Butte help handle costs for the Special Olympics state basketball tournament to be held in November. No action was taken on the request, but the tourney will be held this year in Butte high school and middle school gyms, in Butte elementary school gyms and at the Butte LDS Church. Opening Ceremonies are planned for November 10 in the MAC.
Just as Special Olympics representation voiced appreciation for the tournament returning to Butte, new Montana Tech head women’s basketball coach Jeff Graham attended the meeting and told the group he was glad to get to Butte.
“We will be involved in all different sports and I am grateful to get the job,” Graham said, noting he and his wife Megan’s children are entering grades 8, 6 and 2 this fall with a preschooler still at home.
Heard reported Butte’s festival summer season has gone well and been well-attended and well-received. He said the Montana Interscholastic Cycling League will be putting on an event August 26-27 at the Big Butte Open Space with about 400 high school and middle school cyclists expected to compete. Heard said a Grand Opening for all the Stodden Park amenities has been slated for August 31 at the new Jack Crowley Clubhouse on the Highland View Municipal Golf Course grounds.
He also said Shakespear In the Park is to put on a performance September 1 at 7 p.m. at Stodden Park, and that the Rotary Club Duck Races are to be held on September 8 at Ridge Waters. Ducks can be bouht from members.
Maria Pochervina of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce relayed from Stephanie Sorini, Chamber executive director and Butte 100 owner, that the Butte !00 race was aother success this year with no major injuries incurred. The entry list number 500, but not all registrants rode, Pochervina said.
The next Advantage Butte meeting was scheduled for noon on September 20 in the Butte Plaza Inn.