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News briefs

Fernie outskates Billings, 7-5FERNIE, British Columbia – Fernie scored four third-period goals to upend the Billings Bulls 7-5 Saturday night in America West Hockey League play.

With the victory, the Ghostriders snapped the Bulls’ 13-game unbeaten streak which dated back to Dec. 31. Fernie received two goals and a assist from Jared Sailer.

The second-place Bulls dropped to 30-8-4 on the year, while third-place Fernie improved to 29-15-1. Billings suffered a 5-4 shootout setback to Fernie on Friday night.

The Bulls jumped ahead 2-0 in the first period on two goals by John Sullivan. The game was tied at 3-all heading into the final period.

Stephen Canter and Dan Knapp chalked up a goal and two assists apiece.

Billings plays at Helena on Saturday night.Peaks to Prairie set for April 28The 24th annual Peaks to Prairie triathlon is scheduled to be held on Sunday, April 28.

One of the oldest races in the Pacific Northwest, the Peaks to Prairie course stretches from Red Lodge to Billings and is presented by Rocky Mountain College.

The competition includes an 8.8-mile run, a 43-mile bicycle race and a 22-mile canoeing and kayaking leg on the Yellowstone River. The course starts with the running leg in the Beartooth Mountains south of Red Lodge, continues with a bicycling race to Riverside Park in Laurel and concludes at Coulson Park at the edge of Billings.

Particpants can compete as soloists or in two-, three-, or four-person teams in a variety of different divisions. A lunch will be available after the race.

Applications are available at First Citizens Bank, Orthopedic Associates, The Spoke Shop, Comfort Inn of Red Lodge, Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce and Rocky Mountain College’s athletic department.

For information, contact Rocky at 657-1001 or register online at www.rocky.edu/campus/athleticsFrontier tourney tickets availableBUTTE – Tickets are already on sale for the Frontier Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournament scheduled for Feb. 27-March 2 at the Butte Civic Center.

Advance tickets are available at the Montana Tech HPER Complex. An all-session pass is $15 for students and $20 for adults.

Tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling Darlene Olenick or Bob Green at 496-4420 or 496-4292 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. during the week.Outlaws tickets available nowSeason tickets and game day tickets for the 2002 Billings Outlaws season are on sale at Metra.

Season ticket holders from last year who have not yet renewed their seats for the 2002 season will have until Feb. 15 to renew their tickets before they will be released to be sold.

The Outlaws’ home opener is set for March 15.

Anyone with questions may call the Outlaws office at 259-2226.Record field begins sled dog raceLINCOLN – A record field of 23 teams of sled dogs and mushers will kick off the 17th annual Race to the Sky here at noon Sunday.

They will begin returning to the finish line sometime between Tuesday and Thursday after completing a 350-mile backcountry loop that makes the event the longest and oldest sled-dog race in Montana.

Dogs and mushers will be on display for an hour before the race at the 7-Up Ranch.

The route will take the teams through downtown Lincoln to the Whitetail Ranch outside Ovando, then to checkpoints at Holland Lake Lodge and Seeley Lake, then back to Lincoln.

Neither last year’s Race to the Sky champion, Sarah Spinola of Meeker, Colo., nor any previous winner of the race is entered this year.

Big-name mushers in the race include Rick Swenson of Two Rivers, Alaska, five-time winner of Alaska’s Iditarod race. He came to Montana because there is little snow in Alaska, said race secretary Pam Beckstrom.

However, said Beckstrom, the field is a “who’s who” of veterans from the Iditarod, Minnesota’s 400-mile John Beargrease Marathon and the Race to the Sky. They include Helmville’s John Barron, a two-time Beargrease winner and Harry Lambirth of Blackduck, Minn., second-place finisher of the 2000 Race to the Sky. Only 2 days off for ABC tourneyThey won’t be bowling in Billings for 135 straight days, after all.

Between now and June 23, there will be two days when the pins at the American Bowling Congress Tournament will get a brief reprieve.

No bowling is scheduled for this Wednesday and Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the 48-lane MetraPark Expo Center.

Butch Wittman, customer relations manager for the ABC, said the break is by design.

While the bowlers are idle, Wittman said new employees will go through training sessions.

While two days will be completely quiet, there will be other days this month and in March when only doubles and singles competition will take place in the morning and afternoon. There will also be nights when only one team shift will be held.

After Tuesday, March 26, however, there will be bowling from 7 a.m. to around 1 a.m. every day until June 23, Wittman said.

The ABC Tournament has attracted 10,806 five-person teams. It is the largest ABC event held away from Reno’s National Bowling Stadium and the fourth largest in the 99-year history of the ABC.

Admission to the bowling competition is free. Seating is available for 1,500 spectators.

The bowling shifts are scheduled for 7 a.m., 9:20 a.m., noon, 2:20 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. All of the team competition – the showcase event of the tournament – will take place during the two night shifts.Robinson signs with South CarolinaCOLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina football coach Lou Holtz has announced the signing of offensive lineman Brandon Robinson to play for the Gamecocks next season.

Robinson, a senior at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga., is the son of former Billings residents Gene and Sherri Robinson.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Robinson was an all-state selection in Georgia and was rated the No. 13 offensive line prospect in the Southeast Region by Prep Star magazine.MSU vaulter earns awardBOZEMAN – Montana State pole vaulter Shannon Jones was named the Big Sky Conference women’s field events athlete of the week for her 13 foot, 3 inch vault last weekend in Pocatello, Idaho.

Jones, a senior from Helena, provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and missed automatically qualifying by 2 inches. The vault is the highest in Big Sky Conference history and broke Jones’ previous record by 1.5 inches.Griz name new football assistantMISSOULA – Former University of Montana defensive back John Hefty was named secondary coach at UM and will work primarily with safeties, coach Joe Glenn announced Friday.

Hefty, 23, played strong safety at Montana, earning letters in 1998 and 1999 before his football career was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

“John worked with our defensive backs last year during our championship season as a student assistant coach, and he contributed a lot and paid his dues,” Glenn said. “He is an up-and-coming young coach, and a welcome addition to our staff.”

Hefty, who is originally from Laguna Niguel, Calif., began his duties at UM on Feb. 1.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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