Indoor Turf Coming To County Fairgrounds

25 October 2016

Montana’s icy winters are typically enough to derail most outdoor sports until the spring thaw, but a new recreational option is about to change that.

Montana Sports Indoors, a new company that announced its launch this week, plans to turn soccer into a year-round sport in the Flathead this winter as it gets ready to roll out about 2,600 square feet of new indoor turf inside the Trade Center at the Flathead County Fairgrounds on Monday.

“We’re losing four to six months of training every winter,” said Nate Evans, executive director of Montana Sports Indoors and Flathead High School head soccer coach. “We’re losing that touch on the ball. It’s the same for lacrosse, it’s the same for other sports as well.”

Evans said as time goes on, he hopes to bring additional sports out of the cold and into what will be the largest indoor sports field in the state. For the moment, he’s focused on the long-term benefits of bringing the area soccer community inside and giving players the chance to play for a longer period during the year.

“It’s going to be a really neat project and I’m very anxious to see the long-term implications for the community and soccer players,” he said.

The plan for the upcoming winter includes nine-week soccer leagues for ages 10 to 18, 18-plus and 35-plus, as well as an adult co-ed league.

While Evans declined to reveal the cost of the project, he did say the expenses have been covered by a handful of generous donors.

The other key was partnering with the county to bring the project to reality. Evans said Fairgrounds Manager Mark Campbell was instrumental in connecting Montana Sports Indoors with the Trade Center. Conversations about bringing the turf to the facility started about six months ago and Montana Sports Indoors signed the contract with the county directly after the Northwest Montana Fair.

Campbell said he’s enthusiastic about another activity coming into the facility.

“It allows the fairgrounds to serve an even bigger and broader interest group,” he said.

With all the buzz surrounding the new indoor soccer leagues, Campbell said the turf selected for the trade center can be rolled up and put in storage in about 15 minutes, meaning regular annual events at the trade center will carry on.

“That’s what’s unique about this turf: all those things that the customers and the valley are used to having, like the trade and consumer shows, voting, roller derby, those things can still happen in this space,” he said. “The fairgrounds are continuing to expand and it’s an important place for many people throughout the community.”

Campbell said the first installation is slated for Monday and leagues are set to begin sometime after the general election Nov. 8.


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