Libby High School Wrestling Greenchain 2021 season begins

By Stacy Bender

Libby Logger Greenchain Athletes worked at the practice room this past week on sharpening their mental and physical gameplan for the 2021 competitive season.  “It’s going to be a challenging year,” shared head coach, Dean Thompson.  “But we are just excited that we are going to be wrestling!” Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian

“We are just excited to be wrestling,” shared Head Coach, Dean Thompson, as wrestling practice ensued on New Year’s Day at Libby High School this past week.  For the past two years the wrestling program at LHS has continued to expand and this year will be welcoming three freshman athletes from Troy who will suit up to join the Greenchain in competition.

“It’s exciting to have this many guys on our team this year,” shared Cody Crace, LHS Senior.  “We’ve been working with a lot of them as Little Guys coaches for the past few years and now we get to pass down to them what we’ve learned by being part of this team.”  Tucker Masters, also an LHS Senior, echoed Crace’s sentiment as they both glanced across the practice room with pride at a notable number of first-time Greenchain athletes grappling on the mats.

With a solid roster of 18 athletes going into this first week of competition, the Logger Wrestling Club has been mentally and physically preparing themselves for the past four weeks.  Four senior competitors, three juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen will suit up for the Logger Greenchain and take to the mats on Friday, January 8 in Polson and Saturday, January 9 in Frenchtown.
Following their first week on the road, and barring all special MHSA Covid-guidelines prove a sound path for the season ahead, the Logger athletes are then scheduled to hit their home turf on Friday, January 15.

Wrestling has reportedly proven one of the most challenging sports for the MHSA (Montana High School Association) to outline amidst current pandemic guidelines and restrictions at play.  Being a close-contact sport, however, several measures within the sport were already defined and practiced regularly regarding the prevention of infectious disease before the pandemic began.

Coach Thompson explained that above and beyond all previous rules and precautionary regulations laid out for the sport, wrestlers will now shower and change singlets before and after every single duel.  Extra sanitation protocol for the competitive venues and mats will also take place between every duel and after every exchange of teams on deck. “It will be a lot of extra work for everyone’s safety.  But our guys are ready.  It’s just another piece of necessary discipline we are ready to implement to make this season happen.”

A full list of the 2021 MHSA Wrestling guidelines can be found by visiting mhsa.org/coronovirus.

Fat Tire Bikes gain popularity with Winter enthusiasts

By Brian Baxter


Gaining traction in more ways than one is mountain winter recreational fat tire biking. Technically, fat tire bikes are mountain bikes. Market traction has been gaining, since outdoor recreation enthusiasts have discovered their diversity and versatility. Riders can utilize them in any terrain, and season, and they are available in many styles with specialized accessories. Also, there are a variety of price ranges as far as budget is concerned, as well as quality and dependability.

Of course, when purchasing a fat tire bike a smart person will reasonably consider experience level, extent of use, and durability needed or desired. Experts point out that they are indeed mountain bikes, and therefore operate similar to any mountain bike you may have ridden. Although these bikes, often referred to as snow bikes (not to be confused with engine mounted bikes with a snowmobile tread and front ski) have actually been around since the early 1900 hundreds, manufacturers are now building them with high tech systems, quality modern materials, and specifically geared to what your going to be utilizing them for. Companies even make snow bikes with attached hand warmers for those seriously challenging extreme elements of some Montana winters. These bikes can go from 500 dollars to way above 3,000 bucks, and the Maddslacker’s three part fat-bike buyers guide is a good source to reference.

So, loving our winters like most Montanan’s, it is perfectly understandable when folks bust out the fat bikes and take to the snowy terrain. When you have extra-wide tires, magna treads, and low tire pressure, a rider can basically float on top of snow, usually without sinking in too far. Recreating while drifting over a snow packed back road or trail where biking is permitted, taking in the mountain air and scenery definitely could be a rush. Please check in with your local U.S. Forest Service office, and your local cross-country ski clubs to make sure your welcome to use certain roads and areas. After contacting the local Nordic Ski Club, they related that they do not allow fat tire bikes on their groomed trails. The bikes simply tear up the trails,  leaving deep ruts, especially with a bit warmer temperatures and softer snow. This can ruin things for the cross country skiers and biathlon participants so please be considerate.

There is plenty of room in Kootenai Country, and not that many of us, thankfully, so we all can be considerate of each other. Give the local Forest Supervisor’s office a call at 293-6211, to find out good areas to fat tire bike. Our area snowmobile clubs can be helpful also. The Troy Snowmobile Club has a website, troysnowmobileclub.org, their email is wanzy@frontiernet.net, and phone is 295-4322. Libby’s Lincoln County SnoKats, have a website at lcsnokatclub.com, and their email is info@LCSnokatclub.com. These clubs and the Kootenai Nordic Ski Club, at website Kootenainordic.com, and email Susierice@frontiernet.net have personnel that know the area well, and can guide you to and recommend great areas for fat tire biking this winter.

If your looking for more information or to purchase a fat tire bike, try contacting Bad Medicine Bike Shop  in Libby. Their phone number is 291-4075, and the owner Bryce Hucks, has an email at cycloxbryce@yahoo.com. Libby Sports Center at 204 West Ninth Street, also has a selection of bikes and their phone number is 293-4641. When contacted, Bryce Hucks summed things up by saying, “I love fat bikes. I did ride a lot of fat bikes back in my early twenties. They are a great way to get out during the winter months. The bikes themselves are great to ride year round, very capable of going anywhere, anytime, and under any conditions.”