September 27, 2016
By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist
UPDATE: The 11th Annual Co-op Nite at the Ball Park set a record for attendance. According to Great Falls Voyagers’ General Manager, Scott Reasoner, 2,494 baseball fans came to watch the Voyagers take on the Missoula Osprey at Centene Stadium on August 27. Reasoner also reports that Co-op Nite was the best redemption rate on free tickets at a Great Falls Voyagers game this year. Over 1,100 fans showed up with free tickets given out by the event’s participating co-op sponsors: Mountain View Co-op, Montana Farmers Union, 3 Rivers Communications, Montana Cooperative Development Center, Sun River Electric Co-op, Bear Paw Credit Union, Triangle Communications, CHS Big Sky, Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association, Hill County Electric Co-op, Montana Federal Credit Union, and Blackfoot Telecommunications Group.
The Great Falls Voyagers took on the Missoula Osprey in front of a packed Centene Stadium during Co-op Nite at the Ball Park. Just before the baseball game got under way, a familiar face showed up to throw out the first pitch. He wasn’t the usual celebrity with a clean shaven face, but a furry one. Monte, the popular grizzly mascot from the University of Montana, charged out on to the field to pitch the first ball and start the game.
Monte wasn’t the only unusual creature there to meet and greet the crowd. Orbit, the Great Falls Voyagers’ local and well-known alien, also showed up on his home turf to welcome his fans. When he wasn’t searching trash cans for his next meal, Monte joined Orbit in entertaining and motivating nearly 2,500 co-op baseball fans.
As they worked the crowd throughout the game, the two big mascots never seemed to personally hit it off as best buddies. Instead, Monte found it funny to pull some shenanigans on Orbit by attempting to capture him in a net.
Undeterred, Orbit did not zoom-off, but took the prank well and continued to rally his team as they went on to defeat the Osprey 4-1.
Staff from 3 Rivers Communications handed out free “Co-op Nite at the Ball Park” t-shirts to young fans while adults from the first 100 households received bags of co-op goodies. The Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) gave all those attending free tickets for nine door prizes that were given away during the game.
According to MCDC Executive Director Jan Brown, “This annual event continues to be a wonderful way for co-op members and employees to celebrate the end of summer and remind us of the importance of co-ops to our Montana way of life.”