By Bruce Sayler
Butte Central Catholic High School entered preliminary requests for help in funding championship sporting events in one of the business items tended to at the November meeting of Advantage Butte held Tuesday at the Butte Plaza Inn.
The Maroons have been as the hosts for the February 1-2 Western A Divisional wrestling tournament, February 14-16 Southwestern A District basketball tournament and the May 17-18 Western A Divisional track meet. The wrestling and basketball tournaments are to be held at the Maroon Activities Center (MAC) and the track meet at Bulldog Memorial Stadium. Advantage Butte past president Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting Inc., suggested Butte Central re-submit the requests to designate the basketball tournament and track meet as four separate events instead of two combined ones because they will be separate boys’ and girls’ competitions at each. So, no dollar amount for requests were yet told.
“Historically, Advantage Butte has looked upon these requests favorably.” Advantage Butte president Rody Holman, of PayneWest Insurance, said.
Chad Petersen, Butte Central activities director, indicated the school administration will consider the suggestion.
Advantage Butte financials, awards, and activities in regard to the coming Montana High School Association (MHSA) meetings, Special Olympics, crossfit contest, basketball streaming, Class C football, Stodden Park project and other sports-related items were discussed at the meeting.
No treasurer’s report was available Tuesday, but Holman announced Advantage Butte was chosen to receive a $10,000 grant from the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners for economic development. The group received $17,000 last year.
“The good news is we received a significant amount of money,” Holman said. “It’s down from prior years due to the number of requests for the limited funds.”
The grants come from a mill levy for county economic development and are awarded annually.
The Butte Local Development Corporation (BLDC) honored Advantage Butte by naming it the Butte “Non-Profit Organization of the Year” recently and Holman brought the plaque to the meeting where it was passed among those in attendance. Also, Advantage Butte secretary Dorea Wilmoth, of Town Pump Stores/Comfort Inn, was named by the BLDC “Young Professional of the Year,” Amanda Leese of the Butte Clarion Inn Copper King Convention Center (Copper King Inn) revealed.
Butte Civic Center manager Bill Melvin said all high school basketball games played in the arena this year will be available through internet streaming on the MHSA site. An enrollment fee will be charged to watch the games, which will also cause subvarsity games previously scheduled to be played in the Civic Center annex to, instead, be held on the main floor.
“It has been used for state tournaments in the past,” he said, adding that Class AA teams all have it in their gyms and it has proven beneficial for scouting as it eliminates the need for travel to do so.
Melvin said he is working, too, in conjunction with Butte High head volleyball coach Jeni Hope to hold a large club volleyball tournament in late March at the Civic Center. The facility’s three portable sports courts bought a little more than a year ago would be put to use for the meet.
Davis and Wilmoth reminded hospitality room costs need to be invoiced so that Advantage Butte can forward agreed funding. The rooms are set up at Advantage Butte-associated events.
The MHSA annual meeting, being held in Butte for the first time since 2005, are to go on at the Copper King Inn January 19-21. Advantage Butte is planning to be host of a football viewing social on January 20 for those attending the meetings. The NFL playoffs will be going on at the time. Leese said 5:30-9:30 p.m. was suggested to her by contacts as the best time for the social, set to be held in the ballroom.
Both Davis and Holman said the party will be “money well-spent” in cultivating relationships with the state’s high school sports administrators. Advantage Butte representatives have attended the meetings in recent years in other cities to keep the attendees informed on Butte’s hospitality and offerings for putting on championship events.
Holman named Melvin chairman of a subcommittee to make arrangements for the social.
Melvin said the Civic Center will house, at no charge, the opening ceremonies, parade and dance for the Montana State Special Olympics to be held in Butte next November. He said Special Olympics official Jamie Wood wants to attend a future Advantage Butte meeting and address the group about the event. Melvin added that several gyms in Butte will be needed to hold the tournament games and that Special Olympics may be requesting financial help from Advantage Butte for facility rental.
More immediately, Melvin said, the Civic Center will be put to use for high school basketball games beginning in early December, and that the Hypoxia Crossfit Challenge competition is slated for December 8 in the arena. He said 84 four-man teams are to compete.
Maria Pochervina of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce said registration for the Butte 100 mountain bike spectacular will begin on January 7. A report from the Butte Family YMCA said entries for The Mining City Classic swim meet last weekend were down from last year, but possibly because it was in conflict with the Cat-Griz football game on the sports schedule. It will try to find more favorable dates for future scheduling, according to the message sent.
J.P. Gallagher, BSB Parks & Recreation director, reported on several subjects. He said the venture with the Expedition League for baseball is on hold for awhile. The league began this year in the Dakotas and is for college players using wood bats for the summer. Gallagher said he extended a lease for 3 Legends Stadium in Butte for another year to league officials, who are seeking another Montana team to partner with Butte as future members and for more feasible travel purposes.
“I went and saw them in Dickinson (N.D.),” Gallagher said. “It looks like a viable league.”
Gallagher said the Stodden Park project continues toward completion with the skating ribbon having been finished and the playground waiting only for ground cover expected to be placed next spring. He said the pool work should be completely finished by Christmas. He said pathways in the park are still being installed and that the Rowe Road entrance is nearing completion.
Winter projects, Gallagher said, include SnoFlinga winter festival scheduled for January 18-20 and the Uptown Christmas Stroll set for November 30.
Gallagher, Davis and Advantage Butte past president Ray Ueland, of The Metals Sports Bar & Grill, said positives have been rolling in pertaining to the state Class C high school eight-man football championship game played Saturday at Naranche Stadium. It was part of an experiment to hold the game at a predetermined neutral site instead of the homefield of one of the participants, as has been tradition. Flint Creek, a co-op program of Drummond and Philipsburg members, defeated Great Falls Central 50-14 in front of more than 1,500 fans. Next year’s game is to be played in Billings and then Class C will revisit the idea and decide whether to continue it.
“It was well-attended by fans from both sides,” Gallagher said, adding that it, too, might have had more in attendance if not for the Cat-Griz game being played at the same time in Missoula and on TV.
Talk has surfaced about maybe moving the Class C game to Friday night next year, since the site has already been confirmed.
Gallagher pronounced the new tennis courts at Stodden Park done except for installation of a rubberized surface. Warmer temperatures are needed to put on the surface, Gallagher said, meaning it will likely be spring before the courts are playable. Class B schools located nearby had expressed a desire to use the new courts for their divisional tournament next spring, but Gallagher said he was unable to promise they would be ready in time. He noted courts at West and Whittier elementary schools and at Father Sheehan Park are options for them to consider ath this time and if the Stodden Park facility is able to be ready, could be put to use.
The next Advantage Butte meeting is scheduled for December 18 at the Butte Plaza Inn.