Montana Distance Festival launches at Logger Stadium

As the persistent rains subsided and gave way to an outstanding evening perfectly fit for every long-distance running fan,
the 2021 Montana Distance Festival took to its mark at the Logger Stadium track on Saturday, August 21.
Pictured right, Isaac Updike—son of Libby Logger Alumna Karen (McKean) Updike—was joined by both elite and aspiring long-distance runners in the men’s mile. Updike was ecstatic to be back in Northwest Montana with family following his recent
Olympic Trial experience earlier this summer. Both he and event coordinator, Duncan Hamilton of Montana State University, could be heard periodically shouting, “Go Loggers!” as the high spirit of the timed events compounded with every race completed…  an appreciation for the LHS hospitality and its outstanding venue clearly conveyed with each cheer. (Photo by Stacy Bender)

 

by Stacy Bender

 

Duncan Hamilton, now a Senior at
Montana State University in Bozeman, had first stumbled upon the Libby High School track back in 2018. At the time, he was on a statewide winter mission with his dad to ski every small resort that Montana had to offer.

As a result, the father-son duo landed here in Libby to ski Turner Mountain.
Both fell in love with the landscapes which
surrounded them and on that trip Duncan’s dad had dropped him off where he then ran a lap around the middle-school track, set stride through town, and finished up with a lap on the snow-covered track of LHS.

“The two biggest pros of your track
in Libby are its lower altitude and the surrounding trees,” shared Duncan in an email exchange on Sunday evening. “Lower elevations help to generate fast times and the trees help to disperse any wind that might pick up. Though I also found out  there is rarely any wind to compete with here in
Libby—which is huge for this type of event!”

This past winter, Duncan had decided that he wanted to organize a Distance Festival for Montana, and what better locale than
Libby to set the stage for amateur and professional athletes alike to come together
and strive for personal bests—or perhaps even set a few state records? It was at that point that he reached out to the Loggers Cross Country Coach, Rodd Zeiler, to begin discussing logistics of the event.

On Saturday, August 21,
Duncan’s vision came to fruition.
Professional and collegiate
athletes, aspiring Logger athletes,
and even those with a pure and
simple passion to harness any
long-distance running opportunity
presented gathered at center field to acquire their race numbers and await their turn at the starting line.

“The environment that we
experienced last night was everything I was dreaming of for this meet,” shared Hamilton. “It was clear of smoke, the air was cool, the sunset was beautiful, the community was there, the
music was loud, and the times were fast!
I am in love with the Libby track.”

“I started running in fourth grade, and have loved it ever since. There has never been a moment when I have doubted why I am running or if I want to continue running,” said Hamilton.

 

Continued on Page 10…

A helping hand waves farewell from

local Red Cross donation center

By Laurie Boehler Walsh

For the past 20 years, Anna Guthrie has been

instrumental in organizing the Red Cross Blood Drives for Libby area donors. This past Thursday, Anna said goodbye to those she has both worked with and assisted as she readies to move on

from those duties. (Courtesy Photo)

 

If you were ever a blood donor for the Red Cross in Libby during the last 20 years, chances are Anna Guthrie was there. She or a volunteer she had assigned was there to offer you some coffee, a cookie, or perhaps an egg salad sandwich once you were finished.  She was sure to thank you because she wanted to make certain you felt special – because to her, you are. Anna realized just how special after the need for blood hit close to home when her husband needed 6 units that saved his life some years ago.

During her last shift at the Libby donation center this past Thursday, August 19, she shared that, “Needing blood hits home to most of us at one time or another.”  She then showed me the books she had kept for her volunteers’ sign-in sheets, revealing her own signatures penned back to June of 2001.

Anna, whose husband Garman passed away on Feb 15 of this year, said she had no family here in Libby now and so it was time to go back to Souix Falls, South Dakota.  “I am so grateful for my friends and neighbors who have been here with love and support, most especially Mel and Judy Burnette.”  Anna has a large extended family in Souix Falls who is eager to have her come home.  Though she wants people to know that she thoroughly enjoyed her time in Libby and the friends she has made from the ladies’ golf league, quilting, through working at the food bank and serving on various committees over the years.

Anna is a shining example of a robust volunteer spirit of a generation that is aging out. We are grateful for their good and open service that sees a need and fills it; the spirit of “yes!” For Anna, it was always in giving that she received.

Today, there are those in younger generations who are taking up the baton to fill in where needed.  They stand out and very much appreciated!  Those retiring now and moving on leave big shoes for our young generation to fill.  Anna is one such example and when she’s gone, people will feel the loss.  Some already do.

 

Kootenai Country Montana presents the

“2021 Clash of the Carvers”
International Chainsaw Carving Event

Submitted by
Troy Douthit, Director of Event

Picture: Abby Peterson of Kentucky and his family alongside his winning carving during the 2020 International Chainsaw Carving Event in Libby. (Photo by Stacy Bender)

 

Libby, Montana- 20 chainsaw artists from around the world are preparing
for travel and will soon arrive in Libby, Montana for the Fifth Annual Kootenai
Country International Chainsaw Carving Championship.

Carvers will compete for four days from Thursday, September 9 through
Sunday, September 12. All vying for a slice of the $15,000 in prize money and recognition as one of the finest carvers in the world.

Libby is honored to have these exceptional artists come to town. Each year they foster and provide local support of our community and followers of their work to do the same.

Those wishing to follow
the event online may do so by visiting the Kootenai Country Montana International Chainsaw Carving Championship on
Facebook. New information
and pictures of the competitors’ progress will be posted daily.

A portion of Mineral Avenue in downtown Libby will be closed for the carvers to work with ample space and where everyone can see their talents in action. A beer garden and
an array of different food vendors will also be adding to the festival atmosphere this year.

This event is hosted by
Kootenai Country Montana a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting tourism and recreational development in Lincoln County. Libby,
Montana has a rich history in the timber industry, and this championship reflects that
heritage.

Those seeking further
information may email
the 2021 event director here: