Sunday, September 29, 2013

Broadus: Smaller Now, But Prouder

Shutting Down Run by mdt1960
Shutting Down Run, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Maybe you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, but there’s a good chance you haven’t been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Likewise, there’s a good chance that any reader out there has been to Montana (maybe even living there now), but they haven’t been to Broadus (pop. 468).

Few would dispute that Broadus is a true off-the-beaten-track town. I once passed through Broadus by way of Biddle, Montana (pop. 61) on a tremendously hot, summer day excursion covering that little corner of Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Because of the oppressive heat, I didn’t explore much that day, yet Broadus has been on my radar since. And when I learned last spring that they would start playing Class C eight-man, a game in Broadus became a priority as I mapped out another season of small town high school football in Wyoming and Montana. My eyes really lit up when I learned that their homecoming game would be played on a Saturday afternoon instead of a Friday night—and as I’ve stated before in other posts here—afternoon games always make for better images when it comes to photography despite the popularity and mystique of “Friday night lights.”

KinzersAddress by mdt1960
KinzersAddress, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Even though sports classes in Montana are based on enrollment numbers rather than a community’s population, Broadus is a classic eight-man town with 468 residents. Despite such population numbers, it has only been this year that they came down to Class C eight-man play. Up until last year, they were playing Class B eleven-man schools/towns like Baker (pop. 1,741), Forsyth (pop. 1,886), and Colstrip (2,248). “We were getting smeared” as Cody Kinzer, the wife of Broadus head coach Russ Kinzer put it so bluntly. Broadus would often line up against these other teams that possessed three times as many players on their rosters.

Further, according to his wife, Coach Kinzer has really put in the extra time this year. She thinks it’s a combination of more information about the other teams and strategies at his finger tips while he has had to adjust his coaching to learn the nuances of eight-man play. Kinzer’s job won’t be getting that much easier either as his Hawks are situated in the same conference as perennial powerhouse Wibaux.

And now, with several wins under their wings and not even half way through the season, the Hawks of Broadus have been lifted by something they haven’t experienced in a long time—pride and confidence.

It’s a good stretch from anywhere to Broadus… that is anywhere with a Walmart such as Miles City (Montana), Gillette (Wyoming), or Belle Fourche (South Dakota). Miles City is slightly the closest of the three “big cities” at 78 miles—Gillette is 88 miles, and Bell Fourche is 95 miles. One Broadus fan commented that she prefers to go to Gillette because it has a Home Depot. And if it’s health care you’re picky about, Belle Fourche/Spearfish seems to be the preference for many Broadus residents.

Homecoming Spirit by mdt1960
Homecoming Spirit, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Fifty years ago when transportation was less developed (both cars and roads), this isolated community was probably even more isolated. But today, people in rural communities are less inhibited to take off from such places. Eighty or one-hundred miles in one direction is simply a way of life in today’s remote towns of America—all the more reason for fans like us to attend an eight-man game in places like Broadus (and if you do, check out Seabeck’s Pizza and Subs).

Before the game with Froid-Medicine Lake, I told Coach Kinzer that I could easily see an eight-man championship game in Broadus someday (based on my years of travel to small town high school football venues). Everything has been in place for years, and now they are finally playing in a class where they can honestly compete.

I’m looking forward to that day when I’m following a string of cars over one of the few roads leading to Broadus—on our way to the state title game.

Postscript: The high school in Broadus is officially named Powder River County High School, but everyone says “BHS”—as in Broadus High School.


Anonymous said...

Love my home town

Anonymous said...

The wavingest town in the West!

Joni Hopkins-Schmitt

Anonymous said...

Yes, pretty good article....but it would have been nice if the writer would have paid enough attention to spell the coach's name correctly the second time. By the way, Broadus used to be more competitive at eleven-man. "We" didn't ALWAYS get smeared.

Morgan Tyree said...

Thank you for pointing out this error on my part... in the fifth instance of his name. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Go Hawks!! Proud to be a graduate of BHS!

Skendo said...

Love reading these blogs....I am a Big Sandy Alum....and it is nice to see the smaller communities get some football love...

Anonymous said...

Great football article. I am a 1963 graduate of Broadus High School. Always loved homecoming and the football games.

Henry McLain

Bob McEvers said...

Hey, Bud! Good to see your post!
I'm also a 1963 grad and I played football then. We were class C back then and were pretty much like Wibaux is now, hammering just about everybody. I definitely can see a football powerhouse developing in Broadus. Go Hawks!!

Bob McEvers

Cora Smith Ofstie, Class of 62 said...

PRCDHS! Broadus, Montana, Powder River County! The School Activities have always been well supported in this little corner of Rural Montana.

Laris Roberts said...

Good article for any town. Check the trophy case. Broadus, PRCHS, is a school of Champions!!!