About 250 contestants, ranging in age from nine to 14, will be in Havre Saturday for the State Hershey Track and Field Meet.
The meet is schedulded to begin at 9 a.m. at the Havre Middle School track. Participants will compete in various running events, including relays, and field events such as a softball throw and standing long jump.
This year is the 25th year of the Hershey Track and Field Program. Hershey's support of the program over this span is based on its mission statement "To provide a quality recreation and school program where children have fun and are introduced to physical fitness through basic track and field events, such as running, jumping and throwing."
Event winners from each community represented in the local meets will be on hand for this meet.
"The Hi-Line and north-central Montana will be represented by participants from Chester, Hingham, Gildford, Kremlin, Big Sandy, Loma, Chinook, Harlem, Glasgow and Havre," meet director Pam Wilson said. "These young athletes are ready to run, jump and throw in this year's meet. We are very excited to be the site for the 25th anniversary Hershey State Meet."
All participants and their families are invited to attend a picnic tonight from 5 to 7 on the south lawn of the Armory Gymnasium on the Montana State University-Northern campus. A pancake breakfast for the participants will also be served Saturday morning from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. at the Armory Gym.
Participants will be able to check in and pick up their T-shirts at the picnic or at the Middle School Track at 8 p.m. According to Hershey Program State Coordinator Ron Egeland of Billings, all participants will receive a T-shirt and the top eight finishers in each event will receive a certificate for participating in the meet.
Event winners at the state meet qualify for selection to the Region 3 Team for the North American Final, which will be held August 8-11 in Hershey, Pa., Egeland said. The trip to the North American Finals includes a visit to the Hershey Chocolate Factory and Hershey Amusement Park. The trip is an all-expense paid trip for the select participants.
Montana averages four to six participants selected for the North American Final. Last year two local participants were selected for the trip to Hershey, Pa. Karla Hellegaard of Havre and Jacque McMaster of Chinook made the trip. Hellegaard competed in the standing long jump for ages 9-10 and McMaster competed in the same event for the 11-12 age group. Both girls placed fourth at the national meet.
Admission to the track meet Saturday is free for all who wish to attend.