The following is a post from our regional supporters group, the Montana Volunteers.
Thank you to all Montana Volunteers for your work in building support for the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers in Montana. Whether you live in Montana, Oregon, or another part of the world, you made our fifth season as a Regional Supporters Group of the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters a very productive one. As we enter a new year, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the work you did in 2019.
Supporting Our Communities
2019 marked the second year that Regional Supporters Groups were invited to participate in Stand Together week. Stand Together Week is an initiative of the Thorns and Timbers to support community service efforts. Jayme Fraser and Darrell Brown led year’s Montana Volunteers project: the Empowering Girls Through Sports Carnival. On July 27, Jayme. Brandon, Darrell, Dan, Brandon, and Kris gathered at Imagine Nation Brewing in Missoula to work at the carnival. With Jayme and Darrell’s leadership the carnival had booths from 10 community groups, athletic teams, and service providers to demonstrate sports and provide information to girls and their families about the benefits of participating in sports. Over 100 young people and their families visited the carnival, earned prizes and had a fun afternoon. The Montana Volunteers are grateful for the opportunity to participate in Stand Together Week and look forward to joining again in 2020.
2019 was the Montana Volunteers’ fifth season as a Regional Supporters Group for the Thorns and Timbers. To commemorate this anniversary, we launched a series of fifth season merchandise with all proceeds donated to causes assisting our neighbors around Montana.
In January we sold out of another run of our Montana Volunteers caps raising $504 for the Montana Talking Books Library. The Talking Books Library is a division of the Montana State Library providing audio books and magazines readers in need. The caps display the “M Lazy T Bar” cattle brand our group uses as a primary badge. Supporters in Montana donated the costs of creating the caps.
In March we sold our “EST. 2015” Montana Volunteers patch raising $664 for the McKenzie County, North Dakota Flood Relief Fund. The fund was established to assist homeowners and agricultural producers affected by springtime flooding of the lower Yellowstone River in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. The patch was inspired by the Montana Centennial Seal adopted in in 1989. It completed a set of Centennial patches launched in 2017. Supporters in Montana donated the costs of creating the patches.
In April we launched our first Montana Volunteers shirt raising $680 for the Montana Special Olympics. The shirts were made to order in Helena with all proceeds above cost being donated to support the Special Olympics athletes in Montana. The black shirt showed the “M Lazy T Bar” brand on the front with the word “Volunteer” on the back so that supporters of both Clubs could wear the shirt to any match or service event. The shirts were delivered in time for the Clubs’ home openers on June 1 and 2.
The final merch items marking the fifth season of the Montana Volunteers weren’t sold but were given to the supporters who have helped build and strengthen our RSG. Our fifth season “Merritt Badge” and pin set were first distributed at the third annual Montana Volunteers Rendezvous in Philipsburg on August 3 and 4. The sets were then mailed to supporters around the country the following week without notice. The patch shows the Charles M. Russell-inspired bison skull and the number 5. The pin is a Montana State Highway 5 sign. Highway 5 runs from Scobey to the North Dakota line in northeastern Montana. 107 patches and pins were produced and distributed. Supporters in Montana covered the cost of the patch and pin.
During the annual Rendezvous at Phillipsburg Brewing, supporters also participated in a Timbers and Thorns memorabilia raffle raising $520 for the Granite County Museum. Fellow RSG the Upper Valley Skirmishers contributed scarves and stickers. Katherine Leppek, Kip Branch, Dan Brunell, and Julie Dafn Wicher donated Thorns and Timbers patches. Jason Cohen donated two tickets to the Minnesota at Timbers match. Brandon Hatfield donated a collection of Timbers and Thorns patches and scarves. Thanks to all who donated and participated in the raffle.
Supporting the Timbers and Thorns
The Montana Volunteers will never feel the excitement of hosting a Timbers or Thorns away day. To address this geographic reality, the group launched its annual Rendezvous in 2017. The Rendezvous is a chance for Timbers and Thorns supporters from around Montana to gather, watch matches, collect and swap memorabilia, raise money for good causes and have fun with fellow supporters. Each year the Rendezvous has been held in Philipsburg with the help of Philipsburg Brewing Company.
This year, the third annual Rendezvous brought our first visitors from outside Montana and a highlight of the entire season. Susan and Todd Diskin and their daughters drove from Portland to join the Montana supporters for the weekend. They contributed books to our raffle, brought custom Rendezvous buttons for everyone, traded patches, and helped all of us in attendance feel connected to the supporter culture in Portland. Their willingness to drive to Philipsburg, explore Montana, and help us celebrate will not be soon forgotten. Thank you, Diskin Family!
Each supporter who attended the Rendezvous to watch the Thorns vs. Sky Blue and Timbers vs. Minnesota received a new Montana Volunteers sticker, fifth season “Merritt Badge” and pin, and Diskin-made button. Supporters also participated in the raffle in support of the Granite County Museum. Between the Timbers and Thorns matches, supporters had a meal of beef or vegetable pasties and gravy in the authentic Butte style made by Dan Brunell. Thanks to Philipsburg Brewing Company head brewer and Portland supporter Mike Elliott for arranging to host us at the brewery tap room. We are looking forward to next year’s Rendezvous.
Montana Volunteers held regular watch parties for the Timbers in Missoula, Bozeman and Helena. Montana Volunteers held watch parties Helena for the Thorns. Thanks to Matt in Bozeman for organizing the gatherings in Bozeman at Spectator’s. Thanks to Brandon Hatfield in Missoula for organizing gatherings at Meagher Bar. Thanks to all who have attended a watch party in Montana this season.
Bert & Ernie’s has been the place where Timbers & Thorns supporters in Helena have gathered for matches the last three seasons. First, they put on Timbers matches. Then they put Thorns matches on for supporters. Next, they let supporters stream matches and take any other steps needed to ensure supporters could watch and hear any Thorns or Timbers match. They even hung Rose City Riveters and Timbers Army scarves.
This season Bert & Ernie's in Helena became an official 107 Independent Supporters Trust Partner. The 107ist is the organization behind the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters. 107ist Members will now receive 10% off their purchase at Bert & Ernie’s with their membership card. When in Helena visit the first 107ist Partner outside of Oregon or Washington. The Montana Volunteers in Helena are grateful to have such an excellent place for soccer fans to call home.
The Montana Volunteers promoted membership in the 107 Independent Supporters Trust throughout the season by explaining that membership in the 107ist enhances the sense of belonging in the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters. Supporters from Montana can feel connected to the work in the stadium and community by joining the 107ist. In May, the Montana Volunteers gave away six memberships in 107ist to any supporters who were interested. Thanks to Lee, Nicole, Jerry, Korene, Isaac, Zach, and Spencer for joining through this membership effort. Supporters in Montana donated the costs of the gift memberships.
The Montana Volunteers were proud to contribute an article to the first issue of North End Noise. To be the first installment of “Dispatches from the Diaspora” was a great honor. It was fun reflect our mission and describe how it drives our support for the Clubs in Montana. Thank you to the Booked! Committee for asking to join that fun and important project.
Brandon, Lee, Darrell, Kris, Chris and their children put together a Montana Volunteers float for the Missoula Parade of Lights in December to help raise awareness about the Timbers and Thorns Montana Regional Supporters Group. Many supporters along the parade route were excited to see the float. The Montana Volunteers will look for additional events around Montana to help welcome new supporters in our effort to paint Montana solidly RED and GREEN.
All supporters gathered at a Timbers or Thorns watch party in Montana were always happy to see a Montana Volunteers banner displayed in the north end of Providence Park. Every supporter in Montana owes a debt of gratitude to Tina Ettlin for creating and hanging a Montana Volunteers banner during Thorns matches and to Garrett Browne and Jake Simonich for hanging a Montana Volunteers banner during Timbers matches. Those banners make all the supporters in Montana feel connected to the action on the pitch and atmosphere in the terraces. Thank you isn't enough.
The Montana Volunteers distributed Timbers and Thorns “Merritt Badges” to supporters who visited Montana or attended a Timbers or Thorns watch party in Montana. Supporters in Montana donated the costs of creating and shipping the patches. Many vacationing supporters or those just passing through earned their badges this season. Thanks for visiting. We hope to see you again soon.
Montana Volunteers gathered at Providence Park and other stadiums around the league throughout the season to meet their fellow Montana supporters. Thanks to all those who organized and sent pictures of Montanans supporting the Timbers and Thorns in the terraces.
Thanks to all Montana Volunteers who spent their time and resources in support of the Montana RSG. Additional thanks to the 107ist Board Members, Rose City Riveters Committee, No Pity Van, and the many Timbers and Thorns supporters in Oregon who have supported and encouraged our work.
We look forward to a fun and helpful sixth season as a Regional Supporters Group.