It's been a long and tedious process, but the Billings Bullets management group, coaches and players can finally focus on football.
The expansion semi-pro outdoor football team cleared its final hurdle with ease on Friday night as they were officially inducted into the Rocky Mountain Football League.
The decision to accept the Bullets -- and four other teams -- was announced as the teams wrapped up the opening day of league meetings in Pocatello, Idaho.
"The RMFL has been very receptive to us joining the league," said Bullets president/general manager Jamie Farnsworth. "Everyone's been great to work with here at the meetings and we're excited to be joining such an established league."
Teams from Boise, Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho, Elko, Nev., and Logan, Utah, were also inducted into the league on Friday. Five other teams submitted applications to the league, but were not invited to the meetings.
Each team was required to give a presentation to the league and then asked to leave the room while members voted individually on each team.
"It was a little nerve-wracking," Farnsworth added. "But we were pretty confident we'd shown them we belong in this league."
The RMFL is entering their 15th season of play and will again feature a 27-team, two-tier structure with more established teams competing in the AAA division.
"To be accepted into the league is a great honor considering the history of (the RMFL)," Farnsworth admitted. "We are excited to bring good, quality football to the community and hopefully build some rivalries that can revive the competitive nature of Montanan's"
The Bullets will enter their first-year of play in the AA classification and will be a member of the Montana Division.
The AA's other divisions will be a five-team Utah division and an eight-team Idaho Division.
The league also announced on Saturday that the eight-game regular season will begin on April 7 and conclude with the AAA and AA championship games on June 30.
"We have requested to open the season at home so we can do something special for our fans," Farnsworth said of the Easter-weekend opening date. "We won't know for sure until they release the schedule sometime later this week."
The Bullets schedule will feature four home and away games apiece, as they will square off against Bozeman (Gallatin), Bitterroot (Hamilton), Helena and Missoula.
The Great Falls Gladiators are the two-time defending AA champions but will be making the jump to AAA for 2012.
Other topics discussed and voted on were the league's budget and playoff structure.
The top two teams from the five-team Montana and Utah divisions will earn postseason berths, while the top four squads in the eight-team Idaho division make the playoffs. The top team in Montana will host a first-round playoff game, while the second place team will hit the road for the first round.
"We're very happy to be in AA this year and especially in a division featuring four other Montana teams," Farnsworth said. "It will significantly reduce our travel costs and I know we will be competitive (in AA)."
Farnsworth added that the Bullets are still looking to add to the list of 45 players they currently have on their 2012 roster and are looking for anyone who "just wants to play football".
If interested, players are asked to contact Farnsworth at 406-633-0773.