Why Montana?November 10, 2023
I can’t stop thinking about an article in the November 1st Dillon Tribune written by editor, J.P.
Plutt… This article is the essence of why 18 Land Company came to be.
Reason #2 of why we live in Montana is, “The Smaller the Town, the Bigger the Game”, and says,
“(w)hile we’re on the topic, living in small town Montana means everyone turns out at the
high school when there’s a game. In the fall, it’s football. During the winter, it’s basketball.
We bundle up in the bleachers or grab a seat in the gym and cheer for the home team. In a
lot of our smaller communities, these games are where everyone gathers on a Friday or
Saturday night. A documentary was even made about our love of small-town sports.
Check out “Class C: The Only Game in Town,” which follows Class C girls basketball teams as
they compete for the state title. We take great pride in college sports too. Just ask anyone
who they’re cheering for at the Griz-Cat game when Montana State University takes on the
University of Montana, our big state rivalry.”
See our website https://18landco.com/18- reasons-we-love-montana/
Back to the Dillon Tribune article. The story tells of the Lima Bears six man football team and their compassion towards a northwest Montana team who just lost one of their players. It is a compelling reason to live in small town Montana and might just move you to tears.
From the Dillon-Tribune – The Lima Bears, the football team representing the small southwestern Montana town you pass through just before you begin the steep ascent up Monida Pass and cross into southern Idaho, proved on the last weekend of the regular season that compassion can trump winning on the sports fields of rural Montana. The Bears played the football season as a member of the Western C Six-Man Football Division. The Bears finished the year with a 2-6 record counting forfeit wins and had just seven players on the squad. Tragedy in the small communities of Noxon and Hot Springs led to the Bears making the long road trip to Noxon to give that team a Senior Day they would not have had otherwise.
“We had an opportunity to help out Noxon,” said Lima Superintendent Brian Rayburn, who also helps Lima coach Jared Wheeler as an assistant with the football team. “They had a couple games canceled on them and their Senior Day game was canceled due to the tragic incident in Hot Springs with the loss of one of their students, and Noxon had recently suffered the loss of a recent graduate, so we wanted to help them out and help their community recover from that.”
Lima had the date open after Gardiner had canceled their season and forfeited their schedule. Lima (2-6) had played and lost by a lopsided score to Noxon (6-2) early in the season so in most cases, teams would not volunteer to make the 744-mile round trip to play a game versus a superior team.
“Our boys had just played Hot Springs (7-1 and league champs) the week before, so we knew they were having some troubles. They lost an actual member of their football team,” explained Rayburn. “I got the request from Noxon and that’s a long trip. We only have seven boys on the football team and so I put it to them at lunch time and I said you guys just tell me what you want to do. About five minutes later they came back and said absolutely, we’re going.”
Lima made the trip, the Noxon seniors enjoyed the celebration to honor their final game as Red Devils and then the players had fun. They prayed and played and at the end both teams joined together for a group photo.
“We went up and had a great day playing six-man football,” said Rayburn. “It was more of a scrimmage, a really fun day. Noxon offered three of their players for the first half and one of their seniors joined us for the second half and one of our players joined them. The kids were laughing and joking the whole day. It was a positive experience. At the end of the day it was just a great opportunity to get together and have fun playing the game that they love and giving those seniors at Noxon their Senior Day.” Rayburn pointed out that one of the refs working the game was so moved he posted a message on Facebook. Both Lima and Noxon reposted the message on their own Facebook accounts.
Lima-Noxon football game referee: Today I was fortunate to be part of a ref crew that covered a game that was so much more than a game. I saw two teams that saw the bigger picture, they saw that there are far more important things in life than who scored the most points! Or even which jersey they wore!! Today I saw a community start to heal and return to life as they know it! Today made me proud to be on the same field as these giants.
The mother of a Noxon senior was similarly moved and posted on the Lima Facebook page: I want to say as a Senior mom this was the best Senior night ever…Bears you guys are a blessing and should be so proud. I want to Thank you so much. This wasn’t a game it was a bonding time and a team coming so far to help out their brothers in a hard time. Coaches, players, and community I want to thank you for a day I will never forget and a memory that all these players will have. I am so proud of the Bears….Thank you.
In the end, there are many reasons we live in and love Montana. This story captures that sense of community. Call us at 18 Land Company to help with your real estate needs! 406-988-0055
18 Land Company is a Montana land brokerage company specializing in connecting sellers and buyers. We now are offering our services in assisting you with home sales and purchase.
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