Choquette, Hunt win Veterans Day race

Matt Choquette of Butte and Nicole Hunt from Deer Lodge were the overall winners in the 75th running of Montana’s oldest road race, the American Legion Veterans Day race.

The diamond anniversary race saw Choquette breeze to an easy win with a time 29:59 on a slippery, icy 5.2-mile course with temperatures in the lower teens at race time. Choquette easily beat a four-time champion of this event Thomas Jodoin of Helena by almost two minutes. David Lawson was third, followed by former winner Dan Sullivan and Ozzie Rosenleaf of Butte who placed fifth.

Choquette became the first male runner from Butte to win Montana’s oldest race in seven years. The event has been dominated by Helena runners the last six years. The last Butte winner prior to Choquette was Ryan Kearney in 2005.

Nicole Hunt’s performance was the ninth time she has won the race. Hunt’s winning effort of 27:23 was over three minutes better than Susan Kaluza of Butte. Charissa Bish was third, followed by Jennifer Buszka and Pam Hanson-Deich.

Hunt’s ninth overall win ties her with Susan Kaluza who has also won the American Legion Veterans’ Day race nine times.

In the shorter 2.5-mile race for kids fourteen and younger Joby Rosenleaf of Butte was the overall winner with a time of 20:56. She beat second place Abby McGee. The winner of the boys event was Jerek Rosenleaf who came in with a clocking of 42:24.

The frigid conditions with temperatures in the lower teens with icy streets kept this year’s turnout down to only 46 competitors. It’s the lowest turnout for this event since 1996.

The event was started back in 1934 by two World War I veterans, C. Owen Smithers and Charlie McAuliffe. The race has taken place every year since then except during the World War II years of 1942-45.


5.2 mile           top five male runners

Matt Choquette           29:59

Tom Jodoin                 31:44

David Lawson                        33:43

Dan Sullivan               34:10

Ozzie Rosenleaf          34:40

5.2 mile           top five female runners

Nicole Hunt                37:23

Susan Kaluza              40:28

Charissa Bish              42:05

Jennifer Buszka           47:34

Pam Hanson-Deich     50:40


Race results by age group

5.2 mile          

boys 15-18

Connor McGee           35:40

Clayton Stillwagon     45:19

Sean Cooney               51:22

male 19-29

Matt Choquette           29:59

David Lawson                        33:43

male 30-39

Tom Jodoin                 31:44

Ozzie Rosenleaf          34:40

female 30-39

Charissa Bish              42:05

Jennifer Buszka           47:34

male 40-49

Dan Sullivan               34:10

Don Foley                   36:11

Ray Hunt                    38:12

Joe Stimatz                  38:37

Greg Campbell            39:58

Mark Peterson             40:09

Dan McGee                 40:12

Mike Real                    42:24

Mike Sulzbach            54:26

female 40-49

Nicole Hunt                37:23

Pam Hanson-Deich     50:40

male 50-59

Bill Kearney                47:33

Jim Ryan                     48:32

Scott Frisch                 48:49

Leonard Baluski          52:10

Pat Kearney                54:12

Dan Harrington           62:26

female 50-59

Susan Kaluza              40:28

Karla Pomrenke          50:55

Eddi Walker                52:23

Ann Wayrynen            53:28

Alice Davis                 75:53

male 60-69

Fred Jozovich              43:04

Tim Johnston               45:35

Joe Griffin                   47:39

Dave Mueller              52:24

Mike Patterson            54:05

Don Wood                  54:16

Leon Shearman           58:58

Female 60-69

Sheila Franey              84:00

Claudia Micone           84:00

5.2 mile           male 70 +

Dean Hershey             46:05

Bruce Robinson          51:42

Jim Lester                    76:32


2.5 mile          

boys 14 and under

Jerek Rosenleaf           42:29

Girls 14 and under

Joby Rosenleaf            20:56

Abby McGee              24:04