Montana and Anderson truly are ‘Butte heroes’

Montana and Anderson truly are ‘Butte heroes’

Tim Montana has become my favorite singer.

The 2003 Butte High graduate has so many good songs, and it is impossible to pick a favorite.

He sings with truth, and he sings with heart. Whether it is a miner, truck driver, police offer, teacher or single mom, he truly has become the voice of the working class.

He writes and sings songs with an authenticity that can only come from growing up in a trailer with an outhouse. He can sing about a house on wheels and cars on blocks because that is what he lived.

Clearly, Tim is a product of his hard-working, harder-playing, blue-collar hometown, and he is a great ambassador of the Mining City.

You will not find a more hard-working entertainer anywhere. For my money, there is not a singer/songwriter alive I would rather watch perform.

It helps that he is a Butte boy who stayed so true to his roots. While not every song is about his hometown, Butte is definitely an inspiration for a lot of his music.

Last Thursday night, we got to see Montana perform for free on Park Street as part of the Dream Big Montana Event, which was put on by the Colt Anderson Dream Big Foundation.

As always, Montana performed like he was playing in front of hundreds of thousands of fans at Central Park.

The songs that Tim writes and plays seem to get better all the time. He also busts out some concert cover songs that are better than the original.

While hundreds of kids with autographs from the likes of Troy Andersen, Tim Hauck, Tommy Mellott, Chase Reynolds, Lorenzo Alexander, Ryan Jensen, Robert Lester and Anderson would probably disagree, the Tim Montana concert was the highlight of the event.

Tim, who learned how to play guitar by candlelight, came from very humble beginnings, but he always dreamed big.

Now that he finally got that big-time record deal and he no longer has to dream about being “Hillbilly Rich,” Tim is still the same old Butte boy with the big dreams.

Those dreams are the reason Tim was back in his hometown for the Dream Big Montana Event. He never let anyone or anything deter him from those dreams.

That is one quality Montana has in common with all of the special guests at the Dream Big Event. While all of the athletes — whether they be Super Bowl winners or Olympic medalists — are highly successful, they all got to where they are today because they were not afraid to dream big when they were younger.

In 2003, Colt Anderson was the best player on, according to the win-loss record, Butte High’s worst team. While that Butte High team had a lot of fight and a whole lot of heart, the Bulldogs went 0-9.

In 1902, Butte High went 0-0-1. Every other year, the Bulldogs won at least one game. More often than not, they have won a lot.

While he did not achieve team success on the high school gridiron, Anderson could not be deterred from dreaming big. He wanted to play football at the University of Montana, and nothing was going to stop him.

He walked on with the Grizzlies and earned a scholarship. By the time he was a sophomore, he was starting at safety. He ended up becoming an All-American and one of the greatest Grizzlies of all time.

With his long, flowing hair, Anderson was also one of the most recognizable Grizzlies this side of Dave Dickenson.

When he went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Anderson did not give up on his dreams. He was going to play in the NFL, and nothing was going to stop him.

He spent the first year and a half on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. Then he joined the Philadelphia Eagles midseason and ended up serving as a captain in the playoffs.

Anderson played for the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills before closing his nine-year NFL career. Now he is an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Bengals, and he is a little more than four months removed from coaching in the Super Bowl.

The most impressive thing he has done, though, is start the Dream Big Foundation with his wife Keeley.

The Andersons held the first Dream Big Montana Event in 2018. They brought it back for 2019, but had to cancel it in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the event came back bigger than ever.

About 450 boys and girls participated in the skills camp that kicked the two-day event off at Naranche Stadium.

Four two hours, a collection of big-time athletes and coaches ran the boys and girls through station after station. They signed autographs, dispersed drinks of water, gave high fives and had a good time.

Anderson told the campers that Troy Andersen grew up in Dillon before being drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this year. He told of how Chase Reynolds played eight-man football in Drummond.

Reynolds had to fight for a scholarship at the University of Montana. Then he had to fight to play the position he loved — running back.

Eventually, Reynolds ran the ball for the St. Louis and then Los Angeles Rams.

The athletes and coaches all marveled at how many kids showed up.

The boys and girls, meanwhile, got to see that these highly-accomplished athletes are just ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

That right there just might be the most important thing. The boys and girls get to rub elbows with great athletes and know that could one day be them.

Ryan Jensen is not just some super man on the television. Now they know him as a guy who dreamed big while growing up in Colorado.

In previous years, the boys and girls got to see that Maggie Voisin was just a girl who dreamed of skiing in the Olympics. They got to meet Rob O’Neill, the Butte Navy SEAL who killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.

They got autographs from some long-haired singer whose beard was there to party. Those old enough to stay up late on a week night got to see him perform.

Like always, Tim Montana and his band blew the crowd away. Then they left it begging for more.

As she took in the concert, one Butte woman looked around to take in the scene — NFL players joining Anderson on stage as the band started to play for its final act on a picture-perfect summer night in Uptown Butte.

“Colt Anderson,” she said, “is a Butte hero.”

Anderson, like Tim Montana, credits his hometown for much of his success, but the truth is that Colt has given so much more to the Mining City than he has taken out of it.

Montana, too, has given back. He has shot music videos here, and he tours the world singing a song called “Butte America.” One of his latest songs, “American Dream,” mentions the Bonanza Freeze.

He comes home to play in bars, and he comes to town to put on free shows because his high school friend Colt asked him too.

Like Colt, Tim is leaving a Dream Big legacy. He, too, is a Butte hero.

I cannot wait to hear his next song, and I really hope he comes back for the next Dream Big Montana Event.

— Bill Foley, whose beard is not party material, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.

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  • John Lovell
    June 28, 2022, 9:39 pm

    I really enjoyed this article, but I honestly think a mention of great athletes should also go out to Keith Sayers and his crew he brought in. Try doing what they do, and you will soon realize just how special they are. And his son for his age is amazing. Yes Montana was the main event, and Colt was heavily involved, but Keith Sayers put on one great show.

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