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Readers' Choice: Sports & Entertainment winners and finalists

Readers' Choice: Sports & Entertainment winners and finalists

From the Readers' Choice: 2021 winners & finalists series

Winners and finalists in the Sports & Entertainment categories in The Billings Gazette's 2021 Readers' Choice.

BOWLING ALLEY

Sunset Bowl

60-plus years in business

1625 Central Ave.

(406) 656-6211

sunsetbowlmt.net

Ask a lot of businesses what their customers can expect when they walk in the door, and the list can get quite long.

Not Jeanne Moses at Sunset Bowl. Customers can expect one thing, and for more than 60 years that’s what they’ve been getting at Sunset Bowl.

“They can expect a good time,” she said.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

We have a variety of menus to choose from; we offer regular open play, leagues, disco bowling and bumper bowling for kids. We have a full-service bar on the main floor and a banquet room downstairs. You'll also find Sunset Grill and Bowlers Edge pro shop here.

What brings customers back to your business?

Our business caters to all ages so it makes it fun for young and old. We feel like we are an affordable type of entertainment so it makes it easier on people to get out and enjoy.

What's something your customers may not know about your business?

Family owned, original owners from day one. We are a community business and we like to help others.

What do you enjoy most about having your business in this community?

Community support, we as businesses seem to have each other’s back in the time of need.

What does it mean to be voted Best of the Best?

We are doing something right. We love our customers. The support they have shown through these tough times means the world to us.

What are you most proud of?

The longevity of this business. It takes a community to keep it going.

What are some of the things you do to give back to the community?

You name it, we most likely support it. Our big ones are the Special Olympics and local schools.

How do you build trust with clients?

Family atmosphere. Let them know they are cared about. We care about them, it creates a bond that is even seen outside the business.

What makes your business popular?

The sporting/entertainment aspect of it. Go out and be competitive while having a good time.

FINALISTS

  • Fireside Lanes, 1431 Industrial Ave.
  • Town & Country Lanes, 6126 U.S. Highway 312

CASINO

Just 1 More Bar & Casino

2 years in business

1595 Grand Ave., Suite 280

(787) 508-2111

just1morecasino.com

When you want to relax, the little things matter: a clean place to have a cold drink after a hard day; a server who remembers your name; a little hustle when you ask for something. And, it doesn’t hurt to have a patio. Colby Veltkamp has perfected the art of turning customers into regulars at Just 1 More Bar & Casino.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

Great staff, environment and culture.

What brings customers back to your business?

Probably the Swedish fish. We have the best in town.

What's something your customers may not know about your business?

We have a patio and make food on mornings and weekends.

What makes your business a good place to work?

It’s a fun environment with fun people.

What do you enjoy most about having your business in this community?

Montana is a wonderful place.

What can customers expect when they walk through your doors?

A smile and a cold beverage.

What does it mean to be voted Best of the Best?

Didn’t expect to be.

What are you most proud of?

Staff.

What's your secret to good customer service?

Self-awareness, focus, drink memory, name memory, communication, eye contact, hustle, friendliness, cleanliness, respect.

What are some of the things you do to give back to the community?

Charity events.

How do you build trust with customers?

Provide them with a safe stress free environment.

What makes your business popular?

The vibe.

Fun fact about your business?

We opened a business in 2020. What a year.

FINALISTS

  • Magic City Casino, 2499 Gabel Rd.
  • Sapphire Lounge and Casino, 4010 Montana Sapphire Dr.

GOLF COURSE

Pryor Creek Golf Club

40 years in business

1292 Pryor Creek Rd.

pryorcreekgolf.com

There’s lots to love about golf besides just the game. It’s a good excuse to get outside, and a good way to hang out with friends and family.

And one of the best places to play is Pryor Creek Golf Club with its two 18-hole courses tucked in the rolling hills east of Billings.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

Pryor Creek Golf Club will be celebrating 40 years in business in 2021. With two 18-hole courses, each course has its unique, challenging characteristics that are ideal for outings with family and friends or for a little alone time. Affordable prices and friendly staff add to the many reasons Pryor Creek Golf Club shot a hole-in-one for Best Golf Course in Billings.

What makes your business a good place to work?

Pryor Creek Golf Club is family. We all work toward one goal of treating our guests as part of our family and making the golf course the best of the best.

What can customers expect when they walk through your doors?

A “hello.” We pride ourselves in having the best staff.

What does it mean to be voted Best of the Best?

We are honored to be chosen as the Best of the Best. A big thank you to everyone who voted.

What's your secret to good customer service?

We take care of you. From the moment you enter the clubhouse we want you to feel like this is where you belong today.

What makes your business popular?

Golf gets you outside with your friends enjoying views, fresh air and friendly competition.

FINALISTS

  • Exchange City Par 3 Golf Course, 19 S. 19th St. West
  • Yellowstone Country Club, 3200 Paul Allen Way

KARAOKE

Red Door Lounge

46 years in business

2875 Grand Ave.

(406) 259-6419

thereddoorlounge.com

FINALISTS

  • The Crystal Lounge & Bar, 101 N. 28th St.
  • Play Inn Restaurant and Casino, 1432 Main St.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT

Pub Station

7 years in business

2502 First Ave. North

(406) 894-2020

thepubstation.com

FINALISTS

  • Alberta Bair Theater, 2801 3rd Ave. N
  • St. John’s Summer Concert Series, 3940 Rimrock Rd.

MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL

SK Martial Arts / Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Billings

6 years in business

777 15th St.West

(406) 696-8021

graciejiujitsubillings.com

There are other martial arts training centers in town that focus on sport application in timed, refereed competitions with divisions for size, gender, and skill level.

SK Martial Arts/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Billings is just a bit different in that it emphasizes self-defense rather than competition.

“Real world self-defense requires different strategies, and that's what we focus on,” said Shane Weinreis.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

SK Martial Arts/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Billings has a self-defense focus. Our approach emphasizes recognizing, avoiding, engaging (if needed), and ultimately controlling potential threats to personal safety. Some martial arts now teach techniques with an emphasis on sport application in timed, refereed competitions with divisions for size, gender, and skill level. Real-world self-defense requires different strategies, and that's what we focus on.

The instruction sequence progresses from foundational positions and techniques to reflex development and finally to mastery. Technical progress is paralleled by development of a complete fighting philosophy, so our students are well-rounded, understanding not just what to do in a fight, but how to think.

What brings customers back to your business?

Customers come back for the welcoming, encouraging environment and detailed instruction. Students and instructors treat each other with respect and kindness regardless of age, gender, skill level, or physical ability.

What's something your customers may not know about your business?

Customers may not know that the Gracie family brought Jiu-jitsu to the USA. Our school is a Certified Gracie Training Center. All the instructors in our school are certified through a rigorous training program and are required to update and maintain that certification.

What do you enjoy most about having your business in this community?

We enjoy the diversity of students who join us from across the community (and the state). We are fortunate to train with and teach students from such a wide variety of ages, skill levels, and backgrounds.

What can customers expect when they walk through your doors?

A warm welcome from knowledgeable staff who are always ready to listen. Our students know they can expect detailed instruction, camaraderie with classmates, and lots of fun. Jiu-Jitsu is both serious and fun, and our classes are the same.

What does it mean to be voted Best of the Best?

It is an honor. We are extremely humbled by our student's support, dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm.

What are you most proud of?

The students who take the lessons of Jiu-Jitsu to heart and apply them in their everyday lives. We regularly hear stories from and about students who demonstrate confidence, self-discipline, respect, courage, and humility. We are proud that our students make Billings a better place.

Fun fact about your business?

Refreshments, protein drinks, and smoothies are available at the smoothie bar. Some students take advantage of the weight room, cardio room, sauna, or swimming pool before or after class. Some parents go get their workout in while their child is having fun in class.

FINALISTS

  • Grindhouse, 1140 1st Ave. North
  • Martial Arts Academy of Billings, 528 Lake Elmo Dr.

SKI MOUNTAIN/RESORT

Red Lodge Mountain

60 years in business

305 Ski Run Rd., Red Lodge

(406) 446-2610

redlodgemountain.com

FINALISTS

  • Big Sky Resort, 50 Big Sky Resort Rd., Big Sky
  • Bridger Bowl Ski Area, 15795 Bridger Canyon Rd., Bozeman

CATS OR GRIZ?

Montana State University Bobcats

128 years in business

#1 Bobcat Circle, Bozeman

(406) 994-CATS

msubobcatclub.com

FINALIST

  • Montana Grizzlies, 32 Campus Dr., Missoula
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