By Bruce Sayler
The Mining City Duals tournament is expanding in size and Butte will play host to next year’s Western AA wrestling seeding tournament, a sparse Advantage Butte meeting turnout learned Tuesday at the group’s April meeting held in the Butte Plaza Inn.
Chuck Merrifield, Butte High School activities director, confirmed that the Jim Street Mining City Duals high school wrestling tournament is planning for a 32-team field and booked the Butte Civic Center for the third straight year for its holding. The tourney has grown from 24 teams and housed 26 last December. The 2022 holding is set for December 9-10 and Merrifield said two out-of-state teams have committed to competing in it and that one or two others might.
The Civic Center will also be the site of the Western AA seeding tournament, which qualifies wrestlers for the state AA high school tourney. Butte High will be the host school for the tournament and Merrifield said the dates February 3-4, a week before the state tourney, which again is to be held at The Metra in Billings.
He said he expects to be submitting a funding aid request to Advantage Butte in advance of The Jim Street Mining City Duals meet.
Advantage Butte discussed and acted upon an array of topics during the monthly gathering.
Bill Melvin, Butte Civic Center director, said the arena will be the host of two state high school basketball tournaments in the next two Marches. He said the Montana High School Association awarded the building the state Class AA tournament for March 9-11, 2023, and the state Class A tourney for March 6-9 in 2024. Both are combined boys’ and girls’ tournaments. No state tournaments were held in Butte this past basketball season.
Rody Holman, Advantage Butte president and PayneWest Insurance delegate, said 20 spots remain open for the Butte 100 mountain bike spectacular, which is scheduled for July 23. He said race owner and Butte-Silver Bow Executive Director Stephanie Sorini reported 18 states along with Canada and Australia are represented, so far.
Holman said the USA Softball district fastpitch softball tournament for girls’ teams, scheduled for July 15-17 at Stodden Park, will receive help from Advantage Butte. He said the amount of money to be given has not been decided yet, but that lodging of umpires is being sought and “Advantage Butte will work with (USA Softball).” Holman said the decision to do so was reached during an Advantage Butte executive board meeting and the help will be finalized in future talks with softball rep Ron “Sarge” Rowling. He added that the softball organization had donated $400 to Advantage Butte toward the common goal.
Two high school divisional tennis tournaments are bound for Stodden Park next month, said Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation representative Ed Heard Jr. He said some rescheduling allowed for the department to grant a request from Jefferson High School in Boulder to use the park courts May 12-13 (14th, too, if needed due to possibly inclement weather) for the Southeastern B-C Divisional tourney. The Western A Divisional meet is to be held the weekend prior, he said. He added Butte High moved a home dual meet with Missoula Big Sky scheduled for then to Missoula, which agreed to the relocation. Heard said repairs are needed on a number of other tennis courts around the city. The B-C meet will involve tennis teams from Townsend, Boulder, Lone Peak, Three Forks and Red Lodge.
No financial report for Advantage Butte was available Tuesday, but is expected to be updated by next month’s meeting, officers said. Next month’s meeting is scheduled for May 17 at the Butte Plaza Inn.
Melvin said the Advantage Butte Southwest Montana All-Star Basketball Classic held March 14 was the most successful in the event’s history. The night annually features a boys’ and girls’ basketball doubleheader with teams made up of top high school hoops stars from the Southwest Montana area. He said a total of $7,341 was raised to help fund hospitality rooms for coming Advantage Butte-committed events. The first of which, Melvin noted, will likely be for the state Class AA-A high school track meet to be held May 27-28 at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, on the Charlie Merrifield Track in the Gene Fogarty Sports Complex on the East Middle School campus.
Holman said Advantage Butte gave $2,000 for Civic Center rent for a club volleyball tournament, which was hosted by the Velocity Volleyball Academy of Butte and for which Advantage Butte served as sponsor. The club volleyball tournament was held earlier in April.
Basketball traveling club rep Paul McCarthy talked about his organization and its plans, but made no requests in what was an information presentation and discussion. Later discussions are likely about how or if Advantage Butte can help with the club’s ambitions and offerings to the community, Holman and McCarthy agreed.
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