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Advantage Butte urges pursuit of Japanese track interest

High-altitude training for a group of foreign athletes may again be part of the Butte athletic scene. Interest in such an endeavor was talked about Tuesday as one of the items discussed at the June meeting of Advantage Butte, held at the Butte Plaza Inn.
The United States High Altitude Sports Center speedskating oval played host to international athletes much through the late 1980s and the ensuing decade as they prepared for World Cup and Winter Olympics competition. Butte resident Mike Crowe, a former Team USA speedskating coach who now heads the Canadian Team, became an expert in high-altitude training while serving as director of the sports center.
This time, though, the foreign eyes seem to be searching for other venues. Maria Pochervina, representing the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce, told Advantage Butte she was forwarded a message from a Japanese interest looking for a track facility located in a high-altitude setting. Butte would seem to fit.
“A major bank in Kumamoto, Japan, is seeking a destination to train their track and field teams,” the message read.
The sponsor was identified as Higo Bank later in the letter. Pochervina relayed that the group has trained in Boulder, Colo., in years past but seems to be looking elsewhere. A quality 400-meter running track — such as the fast track at Bulldog Memorial Stadium — and a lengthy paved road uninterrupted by traffic lights were among the qualifications sought for such a program, along with ample lodging accessible to swimming pools, Pochervina relayed. All would seem to be available in Butte, group members agreed.
A short discussion among the group resulted in suggesting the idea be pursued further and Pochervina said she would respond to the query then report back on developments.
Past president Ron Davis, of Butte Broadcasting, Inc., presided over the meeting in the absences of Advantage Butte president Desiree Shogren, of the Butte Comfort Inn, and vice president Rody Holman, of Paine-Webber Insurance.
Treasurer Brad Spear, of Anderson Zurmuehlen and Co., reported $29,354.96 is in the Advantage Butte checking account. Commitments are all paid.
The situation is expected to change this fall, though, when business for the group picks up, Davis noted.
“We’re looking for written requests for funding any of the events we know we have,” he said. “We need those request in writing by August.”
Davis mentioned the Northern Rodeo Association Finals, Western C Divisional volleyball tournament, Western A SuperDivisional basketball tournament, the state Class B boys’ and girls’ basketball combined tournament and hospitality room expenses for state events as among the events headed for Butte, for which underwriting from Advantage Butte will be expected.
He also presented a request to the body to help with expenses for the Big Sky Volleyball Challenge, of which Montana Tech will serve as co-host Aug. 20-21. The college tourney will field some of the top NAIA volleyball programs in the country.
Davis said the request was for $2,500 to pay for officials for the tournament and was submitted by Oredigger head volleyball coach Brian Solomon. Davis said the request went first to the Advantage Butte executive committee, where it was cleared to present before the group with a recommendation for approval.
Ray Ueland, of The Metals Sports Bar & Grill and Perkins Restaurant, moved for approval and Jeff Gorman, of McDonald’s, seconded the motion. The group approved on a voice vote.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marko Lucich reminded that the Butte Sports Hall of Fame activities will be held this weekend. The corresponding golf tournament will be held Friday at the Highland View Golf Course and Ron Kautzman can be contacted at 490-8704 for tournament details. The Green Jacket social will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by the Green Jacket Ceremony at 8 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center. On Saturday, again at the Civic Center, a social will start at 6 p.m. and the induction banquet will begin at 7. Tickets are available at the Civic Center for $40.
Davis said that he was told by Butte 100 coordinator Gina Evans that the field as almost reached its entry capacity of 350 contestants. Evans said in previous e-mails that new sponsors have committed to the event, a 25-mile mountain bike race that continues to gain international prestige. She said Rod Alne of Peak Inc. has agreed to provide a four-wheeler flagging on the north loop of the race.
The May meeting included information from Matt Stepan, representing the Butte Wrestling Club, that 20 team members would be in Pocatello, Idaho, this week competing in the USAW (United States Amateur Wrestling) Western Regional tournament.
A fund-raising run going on the Butte fall sports docket will be the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, scheduled for Sept. 13 at Father Sheehan Park, said Dorea Wilmoth of the Butte Comfort Inn.
An information sheet said more than 350 such walks/runs are held nationally to raise funds for suicide prevention. The Butte goal is to raise $15,000 for the fund, the flier said. Sponsorships are available. More information can be gained from Wilmoth at doreaw@outlook.com or 333-1367.
Advantage Butte will not meet in July. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18 at the Butte Plaza Inn.



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