Aaron Tippin Plays Sunday to Benefit Ice Plex

Jul 7 | Posted by: AT Team

When Lexi Stober, secretary of Great Falls Community Ice Foundation, and the board of directors that run the Great Falls Ice Plex facility began talking about their latest event, they knew they needed more than the usual fundraiser.

“We just knew that we had to do something big,” Stober said. “We couldn’t just bring in a couple thousand dollars. We needed a large venue that could make a large sum of money.”

That’s where well-known country star Aaron Tippin came in. Tippin has local ties – his wife is a Great Falls native – and was planning several other stops in Montana this summer, so the board decided to see if he was available.

“We just kind of jumped in headfirst,” Stober said.

The Ice Foundation’s Aaron Tippin concert fundraiser is set for Sunday, July 10.

According to Stober, the board was able to secure Tippin’s performance at a discounted price, but that was only the beginning. As it explored local concert venues, the costs looked overwhelming. Finally, the board talked to Scott Reasoner, general manager of the Great Falls Voyagers, about using Centene Stadium.

“When we got in touch with Centene, Scott was just wonderful,” said Stober, who added that Reasoner agreed to a per-ticket percentage rather than an up-front charge to use the stadium. “It was the best deal we could find. He also seemed very interested in trying to help us, which I have really found that a lot in the community as we have been moving forward with this.”

Although Stober said, “We have a laundry list of improvements that need to be done,” the Ice Foundation’s top priority is a new chiller. The Ice Plex’s current chiller was purchased used more than eight years ago, and repairs and run costs are prohibitive on such an old machine. The new chiller Stober hopes to purchase this summer comes with at least a $20,000 installation cost.

Several user groups currently rent the Ice Plex, including the Great Falls Amateur Hockey Association (all-ages youth hockey), the Great Falls Americans, the Great Falls Figure Skating Club and men’s and women’s league adult hockey.

“Hockey runs really deep in this town and has been a he part of the community for so many years, and we cannot do it without the community support,” Stober said. “We don’t get any funding from anywhere unless we create it.”

An Eagle Mount program doing sled hockey was also added recently.

“That’s for anyone that’s disabled and can’t stand on skates,” Stober said. “They have sleds that they sit in that allow them to play hockey. That’s been a really nice addition.”

Tickets sales for the concert are going well, there’s still a chance to get a seat.

“I think we’re at 60 tables and 200 general admission (tickets sold),” she said. “For us, realistically, that breaks us even.”

Centene Stadium opens its doors 4 p.m., and the Betty Jane Trio opens the show from 4:30 to 5:30 before Tippin takes the stage at 6. In addition to the concert, there will be auctions and raffles of items such as an Americans jersey signed by Pat Dwyer, the first New York Riveters Jersey signed by Great Falls native Celeste Brown, a Colorado Avalanche jersey signed by the entire team and two 1995 Great Falls Americans Jerseys.

Concertgoers can also take part in a 50/50 drawing, smile for the camera in the Funtana photo booth and try their luck in the McDonald’s Shootout to win a Kaufmans Menswear gift card.

Kids ages 5 and younger get in free, and the Voyager bounce houses will be set up to keep them entertained during the show.

General admission tickets are $25. Visit the Voyagers box office or call 452-5311 to buy tickets, or purchase online at gfvoyagers.com. All proceeds go toward improvements at the ice rink.

“We’ve been received with open arms and everyone seems to want to keep this rink alive,” Stober said. “To even think that we couldn’t have ice in Great Falls would be more than I could bear. It would just break my heart.”

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Traci Rosenbaum at 791-1490. Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_TRosenba.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Aaron Tippin Concert Fundraiser

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, July 10

Where: Centene Stadium

Cost: $25 general admission

Syndicate contentSubscribe to the news RSS feed