By Tim Leeds
The population of Havre swelled once again as teams and fans arrived for the State Class A Volleyball Tournament this week.
The top eight teams in the state will compete for the state title at Havre High School.
Charlie Klimas, activities director at the high school, said he expects each of the teams will bring between 50 to 200 competitors, families and fans to town for the tournament.
He said he expects Lewistown in particular to bring close to 200.
"They really support their volleyball there," he said.
Klimas said other towns might not bring as many. He said when teams have to come as far as Colstrip and Corvallis do, not as many fans might be able to attend.
He said the event will once again pretty well fill the hotels and motels in the town. He said they arranged the motel accommodations for the teams almost a year ago. They didn't know which teams would be at the tournament, Klimas said, but reserved the rooms that far in advance for whichever teams did qualify.
He said the families and fans have made their own reservations and arrangements for housing during the tournament.
Debbie Vandeberg, general manager of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, said area businesses have been warned to expect high traffic this weekend with the tournament in town.
She said the chamber's athletic committee has received tremendous support from the area's businesses to feed and house the people at the tournament. She said without the support of these businesses it would be pointless to try and bid to hold these events in Havre.
Vandeberg said the community support for volunteering to help with the tournament has also been tremendous.
"We appreciate the business community and volunteers that help us out," she said.
Klimas said the preparations went well. This is the third time Havre has held the state tournament, and he said they know now how to set it up.
"We've done it before and know what we need to do," he said. "I feel like we're more ready than ever before."
The competitors and fans began arriving Wednesday night. Klimas said the teams would practice at the university and the middle school, and some practiced on the way to Havre.
The doors of the school were open to competitors at 9 a.m., with the first competition at 10 a.m. Klimas said the last match is at 8 p.m., with the schedule repeating on Friday. s
He said the matches will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with either two or three matches on that day. Klimas said this is a true double-elimination tournament, with each team having to lose twice before being eliminated.