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Youth Football – Putting Together a Team, the Incredible “Bear” Hunt Saga

Wild Tales of Youth Football in Montana

Many of us take for granted that we have enough kids to play on our youth football teams, that we have a league to play in and fields to play on. That isn’t necessarily the case in all parts of the country.

Last week after the private coaches clinic I did in Laurel Montana (Billings), I took the family to do some horseback riding outside a neat little place called Absarokee. It is a remote Montana town about an hour north of Yellowstone Park and absolutely beautiful with gorgeous unspoiled mountains, trees, clean fast moving rocky streams and rivers and plenty of wildlife. Wanda the owner was a very accommodating lady, taking our small group on short notice. As she saddled up the horses for our little jaunt, she asked me what I do and what I was there for. When she found out I was a “football” guy she shared with me a number of her local youth football experiences.

Her son is quite the rodeo athlete and attended College on a full ride rodeo scholarship, BUT his first love is football. When he was young all he could talk about was playing football, the only problem is the local High School has just over 100 students and there just isn’t the population to support a youth team. Well Wanda didn’t let that stop her, her plan was to recruit enough local kids so they could put together a team and have a place for this son and her two others to play football. While this may seem simple, Montana and much of very rural America has much to offer and quite often youth football or organized team sports of any kind are difficult in finding support. She organized a “group bonding” event for her son and some of his friends as well as some of the kids they thought they could talk into playing youth football. It was the Montana version of a football recruiting event.

Creative Youth Football Recruiting

This group of 10 boys did what many youth in 7m Montana do when out with their buddies, they took their 22 rifles, went across the river and were hunting rabbits together. If you aren’t from a rural area, you don’t understand how common and “normal” this is and

Montana is certainly in a league of its own when it comes to individualism and the outdoors.

The Bear

Well the boys game to a Y in the path so one group went to the left and one group went to the right. The group to the left went about 50 yards and came up upon a bear, a very large bear. They ran to where their other buddies were at and breathlessly told them of their great find. The other group didn’t believe them, so together this band of future youth football players went back to where the bear was last seen. Sure enough they came back up upon this bear to everyones delight. One of the boys told the rest of the group he had a bear ‘tag” at home, which allows him the right to shoot one bear.

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