Flying High at Riverside Railyard

Great Falls BMX/Skatepark Draws Riders from All Over the U.S.

Text and photography by Shane Klippenes

Nick Hart is the dad everyone on your block wishes they had growing up. A kid at heart, he’s always looking for ways to connect with his four children (replacing their backyard with a BMX track and covering the driveway with a half-pipe ramp), include the neighbors in his craziness, and engage those who don’t have the same opportunities. Skating, surfing, freestyle and BMX bike riding, and ministering to the homeless energize Nick and his family, and are staples of their daily lives in Santa Cruz, CA.

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Confidence on the Ice

How a Sled, Two Sticks, and a Puck Change Lives in Montana

Text by Shane Klippenes and Photography by Jim Wells

While you can tell how much fun sled hockey is by the smiles on their faces, it’s also a workout as evidenced by flushed faces and sweat soaked gear when the athletes come off the ice after drilling with EM volunteer Coach Dave Van Son.

Naseem Zaidi is a 10-year old boy from an Air Force family, who moved to Great Falls, Montana last year. The youngest of five children in a loving family with an energetic, engaged Mom (Shelly) who would move mountains for him, Naseem looks “normal” but struggles with severe autism that has left him functionally non-verbal. As a result, many things that the rest of us take for granted can be a challenge for him, including group engagement or team sports.

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Athlete Warriors

Finding Balance Between Skill and Mental Toughness In Gymnastics

Text by Shane Klippenes and Photography by Darrin Schreder

Is gymnastics, a sport originated by the ancient Greeks and an original Olympic event, requiring long hours of practice and risk of injury, still relevant today? Recent time spent with gymnasts in North Central Montana indicate that it’s not just relevant, but teaches life lessons, hard work, a myriad of athletic skills and is fun!

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Hoo Hah & Snivel

How a Boat Shop Born in a Basement, Crafted a Family and Shaped a Community

Text by Shane Klippenes and Photography by Darrin Schreder

Prior to my recent trip to Canyon Ferry Reservoir, when I thought of sculling, I pictured Ivy League types, rocketing diminutive custom crafts past ancient architecture on smooth mirrored-glass waters. Other than for muscle building, what practical purpose could sculling serve?

Lisa Kallio, daughter of Helena custom boat builder Alan Kallio, provided an answer I could grasp. “When I was 10-years old,” she said, “my brother and I routinely used our scull to row five miles across Canyon Ferry to Kim’s Marina to play Pac-Man while our parents were at work.”

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Gatlin Gets It!

Lessons Learned from an 11-Year-Old National Champ

Text by Shane Klippenes and Photography by Jim Wells

Gatlin demonstrates the proper form for a solid basic shot, one of the many “little things” that he practices daily.

Gatlin demonstrates the proper form for a solid basic shot, one of the many “little things” that he practices daily.

At first glance, Gatlin Sutherland looks like an ordinary 5th grader; and in many ways he is. He plays competitive basketball and football, likes some aspects of school, and eats “normal food”. Oh, and he is one of the top ranked racquetball players in the nation.

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Racquetball Essentials

Text by Shane Klippenes and Photography by Jim Wells

Unlike some athletic endeavors, racquetball is an inexpensive sport to tryout, with many court facilities offering equipment rentals to newbies for a fair price. (Access Fitness provides a ball, racquet and eye protection for $5 per visit).

After you’ve rented a few times, or if you’re just ready to buy your own equipment right away, here’s a short list of essential gear you’ll need and price ranges to go with them.

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