By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
Twenty-five years ago this week a private plane crash near the west Shore of Flathead Lake took the lives of 10 people including the members of the country Blue-grass band Montana. The Montana Band was an offshoot of the Mission Mountain Wood Band.
What drew members of Mission Mountain Wooed Band together was the fondness for basketball. Both the Mission Mountain Wood Band and the Montana Band both made it a routine part of their schedules to be at Grizzly-Bobcat games to sing the National Anthem, and also perform the song at major League baseball and NFL games over the years. The day after the Montana Band died the Seattle Mariners held a moment of silence for the band and played a recording of the band rendition of the Anthem.
The Major League All-Star game will return to Kansas City this week for the first time in 39 years. In that 1973 season the Kansas City Royals were in the midst of their first winning season in their 5-year history much of the Royals success that season was credited to new manager Jack McKeon who got his managerial start with the Missoula Timberjacks. The MVP of that 1973 All-star game was Bobby Bonds who went on to finish third in the National League MVP balloting that fall.
With their convincing win in the NBA finals the Miami Heat became only the third team in 25 years to lose in the NBA finals and then returning the following year and win the championship. In the 46 year history of the Super Bowl only twice has a team won the Lombardi trophy a season after losing in the big game Dallas in 1972 and Miami in 1973. In Major League baseball no team since the Oakland As in 1989 have lost in the World Series one year and returned to win the series the following year.
Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumed mascot.
Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament
When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.