Advantage Butte OKs tourney funding help

Advantage Butte OKs tourney funding help

By Bruce Sayler 

 Two tournaments were OK’d for some financial help and Advantage Butte members learned of more coming events when they gathered on Tuesday in the Butte Plaza Inn for their November meeting. 

Past president Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting and, presided over the meeting in the absence of Rody Holman, who was unable to attend. Holman, of PayneWest Insurance, serves as current Advantage Butte president. 

A request by the Butte Wrestling Club for help with a tournament hospitality room was told by Davis. He said the club requested money to fund the room during the December 10-11 Mining City Duals high school wrestling tournament to be held in the Civic Center. No specific dollar amount had been mentioned by the wrestling club, but Davis said the Advantage Butte executive board had recommended the request be granted. Members discussed the request and agreed to provide funding up to $2,500 for the room. Maria Pochervina of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce made the motion with the second coming from Butte Central Catholic Schools representative Don Peoples Jr. The motion carried unanimously on a voice vote. 

Advantage Butte also agreed to pick up the tab on leftover costs for officials used in Butte Central’s Blocktober Classic volleyball tournament held two months ago in the Civic Center and in the Maroon Activities Center. Chad Petersen, Butte Central activities director, explained that estimations for the cost ran low due to a change from last year in the way officials are compensated, as agreed to by the Montana High School Association and the Montana Officials Association. The change was to being paid according to number of sets worked instead of a flat rate for the tournament. It left a deficit of about $1,200, which Davis said the executive board went ahead and paid on an emergency basis with Advantage Butte having been unable to meet as a whole at the time. 

“We’re very appreciative,” Petersen said. “And, the volleyball tournament went very well.” 

Treasurer Brad Spear, of the Anderson ZurMuehlen accounting firm, reported $27,088 rests in the Advantage Butte checking account and the group has $27,100 in commitments. He said a request is being submitted for a county economic development grant to help Advantage Butte underwrite sports activities in its mission to bring business dollars to The Mining City through athletics. 

Peoples asked that the Southwest Montana Hoops Classic basketball games be put back on the Advantage Butte sports docket next spring. The two-game event is an all-star showcase for boys’ and girls’ basketball players from the Southwestern Montana area. It has been canceled the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The games are usually held at Montana Tech’s HPER Complex. It is also the main fund-raiser for financing hospitality rooms Advantage Butte sponsors at designated sporting events. 

Peoples also reminded that the state Class AA-A high school track meet is slated for Butte’s Bulldog Memorial Stadium oval May 27-28. It is the only state high school championship event set for Butte this school year. The District 11/12-C high school basketball tournament is to be held February 16-19 at the MAC. The four-day tourney will have boys’ and girls’ team brackets and advance qualifiers to the Western C Divisional the following weekend. He said an alternative gym site for Saturday morning loser-out rounds will be needed for two games on February 19 because of the need to play two games at the same time slots in each bracket. The Civic Center will be in use, and the HPER Complex does not have a high school 3-point arc on its floor. 

Peoples introduced Brendan McDonough as the new manager of the MAC and added that Butte Central is submitting bids for District 11/12-C and Western C Divisional basketball and volleyball tournaments next school year. If successful, the events would be held at the MAC. The facility has been without a manager since Lee LaBreche died in the winter of 2019. McDonough is to perform other duties for the school and the MAC in addition to being in charge of the building’s use. 

Bill Melvin, Butte Civic Center director, said The Mining City Duals tourney coming up next month has booked 28 teams, four more than what has been in the field the last many years. He said other top sporting events slated for the Civic Center include Copper City Crossfit’s Hypoxia championships on December 4, the Butte High-Butte Central basketball doubleheader on December 23, the Western B-C Divisonal high school wrestling tournament February 4-5, and the Advantage Butte Volleyball Classic April 2-3. The volleyball tourney is for club teams and Melvin said Jeni Hope, of the host Velocity Volleyball Academy in Butte, has enrolled 50 teams so far to compete. 

Butte High Activities Director Chuck Merrifield said in a new move this year, Class AA schools voted not to start winter sports activities until after Thanksgiving. Class A, B and C schools began their practices Thursday, November 17. He said the AAs will begin practices on November 29. The Mining City Duals will be Butte High’s first winter sports event this year. 

Pochervina noted that the competitive heat is being turned up by other Montana cities for these tournaments and other sports events that bring visitor dollars to the host communities. Organizations similar to Advantage Butte have been formed in at least three other cities, and at least two have offices and fulltime staff financed by local taxes. Advantage Butte puts all money collected into its event efforts with no salaries or office space being paid. Members do the work. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 21 at the Butte Plaza Inn. 


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