Tom Adrignola began skipping rocks when he was much younger. The only time he didn’t have an opportunity to skip rocks, he claims, was in the service.
Adrignola, who was a member of the Air Force from 1981-1986, said he also skipped rocks in foreign countries. On Saturday, he captured his second consecutive rock skipping championship at Flathead River.
The rock-skipping contest, which concluded its fourth year, is part of a fundraising effort to help raise the necessary funding for the Mission Valley Ice Skating Arena to come to fruition.
The Mission Valley Ice Arena, a nonprofit organization that began its initative in 2013, has already purchased a Zamboni. So far, the group has raised a grand total of $2.5 million in donations with the goal of making it $4 million, according to Hilary Lozar.
Lozar, who is in the process of applying for a new market tax credit grant, hopes to be just under $1 million of raising the necessary funding to make the Mission Valley Ice Skating Arena a reality in the valley.
“If we get qualified, we need under a million dollars to raise the necessary funds,” Lozar said. “That will be very close (to achieving our goal) in the grand scheme of things.”
With the number of hockey tournaments and leagues that the Mission Valley Ice Arena will attract to the Polson area, Lozar said she anticipates it will also help bolster Polson’s local economy.
“Basically, we’ve been telling people we will be bringing a lot of business for Main Street and other areas during a very slow time of year,” Lozar said. “The hockey rink will make Polson more lively for businesses that would be otherwise closed for the winter.”
The rink will offer a lot of opportunities for youth in the winter, a demographic that typically doesn’t have a lot of options available to them in the Mission Valley.
“There aren’t a lot of options for kids who don’t know what they want to do in the winter,” Lozar said. “This will give kids solid and healthy options, and something to do other than playing video games and watching television or whatever they did in the winter time. The hockey program will also offer more opportunities to kids post-high school.”
The goal for the beginning of the construction of the Mission Valley Ice Arena is tentatively in the year 2019. Organizers hope to do a ground-breaking ceremony, but the construction timelines can be “fluid,” according to Lozar. That date could be subject to change given a number of different logistical variables involved related to the project.
Lozar said projects like the rock skipping contest energizes her and her staff to further along the initiatives and said it was one of the most successful ways to spread the word of her company’s initiative.