By Mick Holien
For sixty years previous recipients of a loosely defined “Honor Court” have assembled in Missoula to recognize area volunteers and sportsmen.
Now monikered as the KPAX Sports Awards Banquet, the now 60th Annual dinner was the idea of Ray Rocene,
And because of the recent discovery in Deer Lodge, we now know so much for about the cast and characters.
I am so grateful with the people who must have recognized the importance of this material.
I learned of their location at my friend Lars Olson’s memorial in Deer Lodge and delayed little to make a quick and timely connection.
As it worked out a few of us stopped in Deer Lodge on the way home from the Montana Football Hall of Fame in Billings and we could have sat at this lunch counter till the sun came up.
After leafing through the material and now methodically absorbing the rich prose of the history’s author, none other than John T. Campbell, already there is so much I don’t know.
I’m not exactly sure where or how the original items should be displayed or why the material disappeared for such an inordinate time but I am sure pleased to be a temporary landlord.
The sports award banquet was a Rocene brainchild in 1957 and the founders established names and requirements of yearly awards.
The Ray Rocene Award described as one of the more prominent scholarships and post-graduation awards. Standards of its rewarding say given to the person who symbolized the spirit of sportsmanship thru activities and leadership and inspiring cooperation.
The Ed Chinske Memorial Award goes to the self-described professional who has demonstrated skill in his own field while providing the community with experience and knowledge to help those of all ages.
There also is an additional award, established in 1981 and known as several names in the past, is given to the person who just goes a smidge hotter than the rest of us. You probably know one of those folks.
A scholarship provision added by former honorees (Honor Court) a few years back provides, after an exhaustive selection process, an annual scholarship to the top girl and boy.
.The original idea was Rocene’s, 51 years at the Missoulian as a columnist and sports editor and readily recognized by his cigar, hat and warm smile.
Described as typing like a frenzied pianist Rocene paid special attention to Fish and Game.
Ray, the Jabster, 74, died in 1968.
Said Campbell It will always perpetuate the memory of the skill and nobility of this paragon of Montana sports writers.