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Butte receives economic boost with basketball tournament

Published On: Mar 07 2013 05:40:04 PM MST   Updated On: Mar 07 2013 05:52:12 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

Montana High School Association’s state basketball tournament kicked off Thursday morning across the state.

Tournaments have been known to bring in big money to the Montana cities that host them.

This is the first time the tournament has been hosted in Butte and hundreds of people are in town to cheer on the Class B boys and girls basketball teams.

Ann Wiggs traveled from Columbus to watch her son play.

"Oh it's wonderful to see them play.  They're having such a great time and they made it to state, that's the important thing," said Wiggs.

In addition to the the eight girls teams and eight boys teams, the coaching staff, band members and cheerleaders are in town as well.

Thomas Watling and his wife came from Florence, which is close to 140 miles away, and they’re here to watch more than just the basketball action.

"I have a son in the band so we also came to see the band," said Watling.

It's not just the basketball fans who are cheering.  NBC Montana called four of Butte's biggest hotels and each one of them is booked solid. Local restaurants nearby are just as busy.

"It always helps; everything helps this time of year," said Tom Laity.

Laity owns Joe's Pasty Shop, which is just around the corner from the heart of the high school basketball action.

Laity tells NBC Montana that he's been in the kitchen cooking for crowds that have been strolling through the front doors of his business.

"It's still early in the day, but so far we've been a lot busier then we normally are," said Laity.

The final game of the tournament is scheduled to be played Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m.