Montana is called “Big Sky Country” because of its sprawling natural beauty and unobstructed views of its many mountain ranges. Most visitors head to the western portion of the state to visit Glacier National Park, Little Bighorn Battlefield and Yellowstone National Park, but Montana has a lot more to offer than just its epic landscapes. Its terrain draws intense athletes from all over the country, especially to its 16 ski areas, there’s an endless passion for outdoor recreation. Planning a sports event in Montana is not only convenient and simple; it is also an exciting experience for any sports team.
Billings Sports Venues
The largest city in Montana, Billings is surrounded by incredible scenery just like the rest of the state. It has grown into the economic and social center of the state, meaning everything you could need for a sports tournament is at your fingertips. You won’t have to look hard to find elite sports facilities, helpful locals and reasonable accommodations, especially with over 4,000 hotel rooms readily available.
MetraPark is a popular rodeo arena and is home to the biggest event in the state, the Montana Fair. It boasts 10,000 seats and has hosted hundreds of Billings sports events, including hockey, football, basketball and wrestling. The whole park is made up of the Expo Center, the Montana Pavilion and the Grandstand, where motorsports are held.
Billings is home to Montana State University and its Yellow Jacket athletic program. The campus features many great sports facilities that can be rented out for your next tournament. For a baseball game, head over to Dehler Park, where the university plays its baseball matches. It is also home to the Billings Mustangs, a short-season affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. It features 2,751 individual seats and 500 bleacher seats as well as an open pavilion where groups can gather for food and socializing.
Alterowitz Gymnasium is a 3,500-seat sports facility on the MSU campus. It’s home to the Yellow Jacket men’s and women’s basketball team, plus the women’s volleyball team. It can be configured to hold other sports events, like boxing, wrestling or gymnastics.
If you are looking to put on a hockey event, consider Centennial Ice Arena, where the Billings Bulls Hockey team plays. The arena holds 550 spectators.
Missoula Sports Facilities
Known as the “Garden City” due to its lush forestry and surroundings, Missoula is a wonderful place to explore the outdoors. However, it is also a cultural mecca, considered one of the most happening cities in Montana. Home to the University of Montana, Missoula is a bustling college town, so sports are everywhere. And even if collegiate games are not going on, people still enjoy watching other sports, especially winter activities.
Glacier Ice Rink is a non-profit, full-service ice skating arena, home to the Missoula Maulers junior hockey league. It also hosts the Missoula figure skating club and the Women’s Hockey Association. The arena features two ice rinks, one inside and one out. The indoor complex can seat up to 2,500 people for hockey matches.
Ogren Park at Allegiance Field is primarily used for baseball and is home to the Missoula Osprey minor league baseball team, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The stadium was built in 2004 and seats 3,500 people.
The University of Montana has an impressive sports lineage in its Grizzlies. Its sports teams have taken home many national championships and continue to be a strong presence in collegiate competition. The campus features many top-of-the-line sports venues, including Washington-Grizzly Stadium, where home football games are held. The stadium seats 25, 217 people and will usually fill to capacity for games. Other Missoula sports facilities found on the campus are Robert O. Lindsay Tennis Center, with nine hard-surface tennis courts; South Campus Stadium, a natural grass field for soccer games that seats 1,000; and the 7,500-seat Dahlberg Arena, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play.
Missoula is also a great place for outdoor winter activities. It is surrounded by numerous mountain ranges that offer amazing skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Discovery Ski Area, located in Anaconda, features three mountain faces that provide a range of runs to suit every competitive level. Close to the city is the Montana Snowbowl, open year-round for summer and winter activities. Ski teams will have a blast skirting down the slopes of these resorts.
Butte Sports Events
Nestled in Silver Bow County, Butte is a city with deep mining roots and proud local traditions. Its prime location close to Helena (the state capital) and mountain ranges make it a great place to host any number of sports events from baseball and soccer to hockey and skiing. While it may be a relatively small city, it is still one of the largest in the state and provides ample accommodations, including 19 hotels.
Butte Civic Center features a main arena that can be configured to cater to various events. It offers a range of seating capacities depending on the sport, but it can hold up to 2,000 people.
The Butte Community Ice Center is home to the Butte Roughriders, a Tier III junior A ice hockey team. It features a regulation ice surface and is available from mid-October to early April. The center can seat 350 people but can expand to fit up to 700. It is used to host state hockey tournaments and figure skating competitions.
The United States High Altitude Sports Center is one of three sports facilities of its kind in the country. It is an outdoor speed-skating rink used for training by world, national and local Olympic athletes.
Winter sports teams can enjoy competing on the slopes of Discovery Ski Basin or Maverick Mountain, both located in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Both provide downhill ski trails for all levels and hundreds of groomed trails for cross-country skiing events. There are also 250 miles of snowmobile trails in Elk Park, just north of Butte, and at Georgetown Lake, west of the city.
Montana’s beautiful landscapes make it a great place to visit and an even better place to enjoy dozens of outdoor recreational activities. Athletes, coaches and planners will find a wide array of sports facilities in Montana, and it will be difficult to choose one. But with the help of Montana’s friendly residents and expert sports commissions, it is easy to plan a sports tournament in Montana.