Earlier this month, the Butte High Bulldogs and the Butte Central Maroons basketball teams did something that hasn't happened in many, many years.  The boys teams were both in action Saturday night at their respective state tournaments.  And these days, just qualifying for State is an achievement all to its own.  But the Bulldogs and Maroons are becoming regulars.  If memory serves, this is the 5th year in a row that the Bulldogs have qualified and something like 18 out of 20 for Butte Central.  This is not by accident.  The Bulldogs and Maroons are more than just teams.  They're programs.  Successful programs.  And as both schools are finding out, the key to success is not just hard work and talent.  You have to get involved early, and the only way you're going to keep a young kid involved in a program is to make sure they're having fun.  And that's where Mike Bauer comes in.

Ages 1 day to 6 (or just a bit older) are welcome to play. Photo courtesy of Stacy Lee Bauer/Lil Dribblers
Ages 1 day to 6 (or just a bit older) are welcome to play.
Photo courtesy of Stacy Lee Bauer/Lil Dribblers

Mike has been either coaching or playing basketball his entire life and his love for the game is infectious.  For years, Bauer along with several other outstanding coaches and mentors, like Kelci Thatcher, Matt Paul and Bryan Arntson have been behind the Lil' Dribblers program, the only one of it's kind in Montana, which indeed starts them out young.  Tomorrow is their final open gym of the season and Mike tells us it's open to "one day olds to 6-year-olds" but tells us that a little older is fine too.  Boys and girls are equally welcome, so feel invited to bring your little one.  The open gym is absolutely free thanks to generous local sponsors and will run from 9am to 11am Friday morning at East Middle School.  Lil' Dribblers is all about fun and friendships, with a few fundamentals thrown in for good measure.

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