Sunday, June 26, 2011

Columbus, MT to Billings, MT -- 46 miles

Today we traveled  from Columbus, MT to Billings, MT. The ACA Maps have us riding the Frontage Road through Youngs Point, Park City [population 870] and Laurel population 6,255] before we enter the big city of Billings, MT [population 89,847]. There has been a lot of discussion on how best to enter and ride through Billings, but I think the guidance of Billings residents Paul G and Hewes A has solved a lot of the concerns of the riders. Once again the terrain is flat to gradual downhill and  coupled with such few miles, riders were be in Billings early to enjoy the town, stop at the bike store and be ready at 3:30 pm in the lobby of the Riverstone Inn for the shuttle ride to Brian and Shelly Cornell's home for a BBQ and then a Symphony in the Park later in the evening.

Once again, the scenery is striking...I have run out of words to say about it, other than to take some pictures and post them, because we all know a picture says a 1,000 words.


That was really it for the ride into Billings, but once in town there was a lot to see and do even though it was a Sunday. The streets were pretty much empty but I had a great time tooling around town.
 These painted bronze/metal animals are scattered all around town...
Pretty Horsey!
 Proud Ram shows off his multicolored coat!
 A stop at the Yellowstone Art Museum...
This is quite the ? I suspect it would steal all the leftovers, if it had the chance!
 After the Museum, it was off to the Dehler Park ballfield. This bronze is a tribute to Local Legend of American Legion Baseball Ed Bayne.

 This statue is of Dave McNally, another Billings Legend in American Legion Baseball.
 While there I was able to watch an American Legion Tournament between Cheyenne Post 6 and Helena Post 4. It was a very good game and the ball park is outstanding. I even got a foul ball!

If you didn't know, Billings is home to the Mustangs, who played the first game of organized professional baseball in Billings against the Salt Lake City Bees on Tuesday, May 4, 1948.  3,280 fans braved near freezing temperatures and Gene Brocker's long double in the ninth inning which scored Kenny Jensen from first base, giving Salt Lake City a narrow, 3-2, victory and spoiling the Mustangs home opener.

If you are not a baseball fan, you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs!

The Mustangs finished that inaugural season in last place. But the next season they finished second and made the playoffs. In 1964, the league was downgraded to short-season rookie league status and Billings dropped out of the Pioneer League. The Mustangs returned to the league in 1969 and won back-to-back championships in 1972 and '73. In all, the Mustangs have won 14 Pioneer League titles, more than any other team in the Pioneer League. The last championship came in 2003, with field manager Rick Burleson leading the club.
The year 2011 will mark the 38th consecutive year the Mustangs have been affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, one of the longest running player development relationships in professional baseball. As Cincinnati started the 2011 season, 10 former Mustangs were on the Reds' active roster: Jay Bruce, Juan Francisco, Paul Janish, Logan Ondrusek, Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto, Sam LeCure, Jordan Smith, Travis Wood and Chris Heisey. Additionally, four other Mustangs were on the Reds' 40-Man Roster: Carlos Fisher, Philippe Valiquette, Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier.
Other current Major League players who wore a Mustangs uniform include Edwin Encarnacion, Craig Tatum, Austin Kearns, Adam Rosales, Adam Dunn, Todd Coffey, Chris Dickerson, Enerio Del Rosario, Marcus Mateo and Dewayne Wise.
Other notable alumni include: George Brett, Paul O'Neill, Trevor Hoffman, Tom Browning, Ron Oester, Gary Redus, Dick Stuart, Kurt Stillwell, Gorman Thomas, Reggie Sanders, Skeeter Barnes, Scott Williamson, Al Cowens, Kal Daniels, Rob Dibble, Lenny Harris, Ruppert Jones, Larry Rothschild, Larry Shepard, Scott Sullivan, Nick Esasky, Eddie Milner, Jamie Quirk, Eddie Taubensee, Jeff Montgomery, Joe Oliver, Jack Armstrong, Tom Foley, Butch Henry, Jim Hickman, Reggie Jefferson, Don Wakamatsu, Keith Lockhart, B.J. Ryan, Ben Broussard, Aaron Boone, Paul Bako, Ray King, Danny Tartabull and Jason LaRue.

Tomorrow is a rest day but we are scheduled to go to Hewes A's house for a BBQ at 5 p.m.

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