Butte’s Bob “Rollo” Rowling is a Montana Officials Association 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee.

Rollo will be joined in the 2023 class by Jim Foran from Hilger, Suzette Harkin from Bozeman, and Bryan Larson from Missoula.

Rollo- MHSA induction - photo courtesy of the MHSA

Where would we be without the hard work of Bob Rowling? Rollo is the picture of class, and a guy that I am blessed to call a friend. He also delivered one of the best one-liners that has ever been directed at me.

It was August 31, 2012, Butte High was on the road to take on the Skyview Falcons in Billings. It was an early season game (hot) and an early start time as well (doubleheader on the turf, Dogs game at 4, I think West was playing at 7?) John Thatcher, Bill Foley and I were making the trip over to cover the game. Everything was great until the moment I pulled into the Senior parking lot. The second I pulled into the lot, it dawned on me that I didn’t have radio gear. I just drove 130 miles to do play-by-play of a Butte High football game, and I didn’t bring the required gear. I am the single dumbest person on the planet at times. I park KNOWING I didn’t bring it, but I look anyway. Foley is trying to help, and more importantly, trying to stay out of my way knowing that I am beyond pissed. JT just jumped out of the car, and off he went.

I get out of the car swearing at myself, I look in the back seat. Nothing. I pop the trunk, and of course, it was empty. I slam the trunk home and who should walk up? Rollo. He didn’t walk up either, it was kind of a swagger, he had that patented Rollo grin on his face. ( I wasn’t in the mood).

“Hi Rollo”

“Hey Paul, How are ya?” (he doesn’t pause for me to answer) “It’s going to be a hot day, you have everything you need? Sunscreen? Water? … Radio gear?”

JT had RUN out of the car to tell anyone and everyone that I had driven 130 miles to call a game and didn’t bring gear, and of course, Karma landed him right in front of Rollo.

I went from beyond angry to laughing my behind off in a blink of an eye. I will never forget that day. That is the power of Rollo, and that is why he was an excellent official, he can take a highly stressful situation, and turn it on its head, and defuse it in a matter of seconds.

His accomplishments as an official are incredible. He's officiated both State and National Championship games. He even officiated the Cat/Griz game three times, with his address in the phone book. Who does that?

Rolo accomplishments- photo courtesy of the MHSA

Rollo was previously inducted into the Big Sky Officials Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Butte Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Bill Foley interviewed Rollo on the Buttecast not long ago, you can find a link to that episode HERE. And John Thatcher just recently talked with Foles as well, you can listen to that episode HERE.

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