By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
Few Montana public officials have ever been more closely tied to a sport than the late Conrad Burns. Burns refereed in Montana high School football as well as the Frontier Conference. Burns would regale listeners with his trivails as a ref but he loved every minute of it. Sometimes game that Burns worked lasted a bit longer as he would stop play after a penalty to let the offending player know what he did wrong and how he might avoid a penalty in the future. One of Burns’ favorite stories in his later years was letting a young offensive lineman from Big Sandy get away with some holding because the boy had just part of his hand. He would quickly add that maybe if he would have shown less compassion he might have been in the senate longer as the young lineman was Jon Tester who would defeat Burns in a 2006 Senate race.
The San Deigo Padres are hoping that”Missoula Magic” will strike again. Back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s former Missoula Timberjacks player and manger was the GM and for a time the field manager earning the Nickname “Trader Jack.” Now the Padres’ new manager is former Osprey Andy Green. Green gained a little notoriety because he had to report later to the O’s because his wedding and subsequent honeymoon were planned and paid for. It was a delight recently to hear legendary broadcaster Vin Scully recounting Green’s entrance into pro ball adding “and of course the good people of Missoula didn’t want to stand in the way of love.” Scully than added a note on the beauties of Western Montana.
For the first time in its 53 year history the Big Sky Conference has looked beyond the region. New Commissioner, Andrea Williams, grew up in Texas played college volleyball and basketball at Texas A&M. This was only the second time in the last 35 years the League has had to hire a new Commisioner.
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.