Advantage Butte receives surprise gift

Advantage Butte learned Tuesday it will receive an unplanned financial boost through the dispersal of a former festival organization’s assets.
Chad Harrington, executive director of Evel Knievel Days Inc., said the organization’s dissolution requires dispersal of the assets to non-profit entities and so Advantage Butte stands to receive around “$17,000 or $18,000.”
The announcement was made at Advantage Butte’s April meeting, which was held at the Metals Sports Bar & Grill.
“We always carried $25,000 to $30,000 to the next year as seed-pod money,” Harrington explained, “so that we never had to start the next year with nothing. Part of the dissolution process is to disperse the assets and our group voted to give 75 percent (of the money) to Advantage Butte.”
Harrington said Advantage Butte was chosen because of a shared philosophy of “bringing people to Butte to spend money.”
Evel Knievel Days Inc. ended its connection with the festival prior to last year’s holding due to a squabble with members of the Knievel family. Since then, the committee Harrington headed decided upon dissolution.
Harrington said that while Advantage Butte will receive 75 percent of the assets, United Way was designated to receive the other 25 percent because it is involved with so many charities in Butte. Therefore, he said, Butte charities covered by United Way .will receive money from the dispersal.
The exact amounts will not be known until the process is completed, Harrington said. Accountants and lawyers are still reviewing the paperwork, he noted.
In the meantime, Advantage Butte treasurer Brad Spear, of the Anderson Zurmuehlen accounting firm, reported that $11,354.96 sat in the organization’s checking account Tuesday. Spear added, however, that a $2,500 commitment. After payment of the bill, Advantage Butte will be current on its commitments, Spear said.
The group uses its money to underwrite endeavors to bring athletic competitions to Butte for the purposes of economic development.
So, Harrington’s surprise announcement was much appreciated by the group.
“We welcome your gift,” Rody Holman, Advantage Butte vice president, said.
Holman, of Paine West Insurance, officiated the meeting in place of Desiree Shogren, the Advantage Butte president who was unable to attend. Shogren is also the Butte Comfort Inn delegate to the organization.
Holman added that Advantage Butte was recently awarded $19,000 in county economic development funds for its purpose.
Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting, reminded the group that Advantage Butte works two years ahead in planning for bidding on state high school tournaments. The infusion of funds will allow for more competitive bidding from Butte interests for the tourneys and meets because of the money now available to Advantage Butte to underwrite the costs.
“It was tough for us to bid if we didn’t have money,” Davis said.
Advantage Butte recently landed the 2017 state Class A high school boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments, to be held on consecutive weekends, and the 2017 state Class AA-B high school track meets. Next school year’s docket includes the Western A SuperDivisional high school basketball tournament, combining Northwestern A and Southwestern A member schools, to be held in February, and the state Class B boys’ and girls’ combined basketball tournament set for March.
Don Peoples Jr., representing the Maroon Activities Center, said the Western C Divisional volleyball tournament will again be held at the facility in November. He added that the Western C Divisional basketball, tourney held in February produced the largest gate, about $32,000, during its run at the MAC, but that the gate receipts and attendance figures pale compared to those from similar divisionals held in the eastern and northern parts of the state. The Western C voters may move the tourney to Hamilton next year, Peoples had said at an earlier meeting.
Peoples said a youth girls’ basketball tournament will be held May 18 and is expected to involve more than 60 teams. The MAC will be used as a site along with several other gyms in Butte, he said.
Matt Stepan reported for both the Butte Wrestling Club and Montana Tech.
“We just finished holding the Smith/McCarthy and we combined it all into one day,” Stepan said of the traditional Butte invitational wrestling tournament for freestyle and Greco-Roman competitors. “The numbers were not real strong. It was the first freestyle tournament of the season. We start in December (with other styles) and so by April the numbers drop off considerably as expected.”
The topic will be discussed at the nearing state USA Wrestling meetings, Stepan said. Among the competitions left on the schedule are the state Greco-Roman tourney next weekend in Livingston and the Western Zone National in Pocatello, Idaho, in June.
Holman, who is also involved in Butte amateur wrestling, said the recent switch of the freestyle schedule to the end of the wrestling season has coincided with what looks to be flagging interest for the spring events.
“The state is experiencing the impact of the season switch,” he said.
Gina Evans of the Butte 100 mountain biking race, an event gaining more prestige each year, was unable to attend the meeting, but forwarded a message that Eagle Med will volunteer medical support for the 2015 race and will have a helicopter at the ready at the course.
Dorea Wilmoth, Butte Comfort Inn rep, said the Out of the Darkness walk is scheduled for Sept. 13 and is a fund-raiser for suicide prevention. She said no fees to participate will be assessed, but that participants are to solicit contributions to the fund. She said 50 percent of the money raised will stay in Butte for suicide prevention, while the other 50 percent will go to cover event overhead to national suicide prevention projects.
Holman then closed the meeting by reading a letter of appreciation written to Advantage Butte from the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce for support of tournament hospitality rooms.
The next Advantage Butte meeting is scheduled for May 19 at Perkins Restaurant.

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