By Bruce Sayler
Advantage Butte fulfilled two funding requests and considered several other sports topics during its November meeting held Tuesday at the Butte Plaza Inn.
Approvals of $500 for a memorial and $1,500 to help in holding a tournament were executed in the meeting.
Brad Spear, of the Anderson ZurMuehlen and Co. firm, reported as Advantage Butte’s treasurer that $18, 069.20 rests in the checking account and the amount of $16,100.00 is committed. He said invoices have been mailed out for membership renewals.
Past president Ron Davis, representing Butte Broadcasting Co., presided over the meeting in the absences of president Rody Holman (PayneWest Insurance) and vice president Kami Johnson. (Butte Plaza Inn and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit).
Davis said an Advantage Butte executive committee meeting recently met and voted 5-0 with one abstention to recommend the $500 request. It was by the committee itself to gift to the Silver Bow Amateur Wrestling Association (Butte Wrestling Club) $500 in the memory John “Hoot” Gibson, who died recently. Gibson was an important figure in the club as a volunteer since its inception and well-known in the state wrestling community for his contributions. He was also the only “at-large” delegate to Advantage Butte, introducing himself as “flunkie” during the pre-meeting introductions at the start of every monthly gathering.
The motion to approve was made by Butte Civic Center manager Bill Melvin, seconded by Ray Ueland of The Metals Sports Bar & Grill. It carried on a voice vote with no dissent.
Similarly, the group OK’d the $1,500 asked by the wrestling association toward Civic Center rent for the holding of The Jim Street Classic/Mining City Duals high school wrestling tournament set for December 13-14.
The executive committee unanimously recommended approval of the request, Davis said.
“The wrestling club has been a member of Advantage Butte since day one and has brought a lot of people into town with its tournaments over the years,” Ueland said. “This is the first time they have ever asked us for anything back. I think it would be right and proper to approve their request.”
Ueland motioned for approval and Hampton Inn rep Lisa Bracco seconded. It passed on a voice vote with no dissent.
“This year we have made the decision to move the 24-team high school tournament to the Butte Civic Center,” Jeremy Whitlock wrote in the request as a club representative. “Our hope is to expand this tournament by five out-of-state teams year.
“With the move to the Butte Civic Center, there are going to be some added costs that are going to have to be absorbed by the club. Our hope with the move is to make the tournament more fan-friendly and with that have more fans want to come to Butte and watch the tournament.”
The tourney began in 1988 in the Civic Center then moved to the Butte High gyms in the early 90s after construction of the newer gym was completed.
Davis said the executive committee also OK’d the providing of hospitality rooms again this school year for tournaments to be held in Butte. A request for one is has been submitted by the Civic Center for wrestling tournament, and Chad Petersen, Butte Central Schools activities director, said he will be submitting hospitality room requests for the state Class A high school softball tournament to be held at Stodden Park in May. Other requests are expected, Davis said.
Advantage Butte has received Silver Bow County economic grants from the commissioners in recent years. Usually doled out about this time of the year, the process has been delayed, Davis said. Action on the process is expected later.
Melvin reported that Butte received rave reviews as the host of this year’s Montana Special Olympics state basketball tournament held in early November. It was held at several Butte venues with Advantage Butte paying facility rental costs.
“It was a huge success and really good community event,” Melvin said. “We have it here for two more years and the Special Olympics (state officers) are really pleased with Butte.”
Melvin said coming sporting events to be held in the Civic Center include a roller derby show on November 30, the Hypoxia 2019 crossfit competition on December 7, the Jim Street Classic/Mining City Duals, and then the Butte High-Butte Central basketball doubleheader on December 23. He also said admission will be charged for the preceding Butte High-Butte Central freshman basketball games on December 17.
Melvin also talked about the fundraising going on so that Butte schoolkids can attend Friday’s state Class AA championship football game matching Butte High against Bozeman at Naranche Stadium. Tickets are being sold at the Civic Center (9 a.m to 5 p.m. through Thursday, then 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday). He said the Butte Athletic Council and a gofundme page run by Mike and Stacey (Lee) Bauer, and Kelly and Kryston (Mengon) Lee are raising money to buy the kids’ tickets. They can be picked up at the Civic Center and grade school children must be attended by an adult, Melvin said. He added that the Montana Tech Foundation has stepped up to pay for the remainder of the kids’ tickets not covered by the fundraising. Butte Central students are included in the ticket giveaway, he said.
“All the Butte Central kids cheering for the Butte High kids at last week’s game was great to see,” Davis commented.
Melvin added that portable bleachers from Butte-Silver Bow Parks & Recreation locations, and a 550-seat set from the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena, are being set up at Naranche Stadium to help with seating the anticipated large crowd for the football game.
Davis announced that the 2020 Butte 100 mountain bike race has been scheduled for July 25 and that registration will be held this December 8. The race website should have details.
Petersen said the scheduling of the Butte High-Butte Central basketball games for December 23 instead of late January or in February was made to “capture the fans and relatives” in town for the holidays.
Don Peoples Jr. said the Maroon Activities Center (MAC) will hold several events from now into May. He said the busy season starts this weekend with the city Elks Hoop Shoot. One of the bigger events on the MAC docket is the District 12-C high school basketball tournament February 20-22.
Melvin reminded that the Dream Big Montana family Christmas event is to be held in the Civic Center on December 10, 4-6 p.m. Colt and Keelie Anderson are the hosts of the event.
Ueland offered congratulations to Montana Tech for achieving a men’s basketball upset of the Montana Grizzlies of Missoula on Monday night, the Orediggers’ volleyball team receiving an at-large bid in the NAIA National Tournament next month after sharing the regular-season championship of the Frontier Conference, and to Brian Solomon of Montana Tech for earning conference “Coach of the Year” honors for volleyball.
Melvin noted the annual Montana High School Association meetings are nearing (January 19-20 in Billings) and Advantage Butte should start planning for its representation and presentations.
The next Advantage Butte meeting is slated for December 17.