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Communities unite on basketball court to support Les Rice

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CHARLO – Families had a blast watching the basketball game fundraiser for Les Rice held at Charlo High School on Sunday. Mountain West Co-op took on local farmers and ranchers in what can be considered an “epic game of goofy” with an explosive ending. 

After falling behind, the Mountain West team scored the winning three point shot in the last five seconds ending the game with a 36-33 score. The fans rose to their feet in an emotional burst of excitement, both Mountain West fans and Farmers/Rancher fans alike. It didn’t matter who won; everyone showed up for one person – Les Rice.

Mountain West’s Marcy Gerdts was pleased with the turnout. Gerdts organized the event with the help of Mountain West friends and surrounding communities. 

“The community support was amazing,” she said. “After posting that we needed to raise funds on our Facebook for insurance, it only took two hours to raise the entire amount.” Not one person asked to participate said no, from the players to the refs to the various businesses that donated. “Les has touched everyone in this valley,” Gerdts said.

With the announcer poking playful fun at just about everyone there, including Rice, it was all smiles from Rice on the sideline as the Mountain West’s coach. Rice has coached one sport or another for 34 years for Mission schools with 22 of those years dedicated to Lady Bulldog basketball. “This was a fun evening,” Rice said. “It has been an unbelievable and humbling experience to see so much community support. Thank you. Thank you to Marcy and everyone that helped. Thank you to the communities. It’s been awesome.”

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