Athletes of the Year

2020 Big Sky Games Athletes of the Year

The Big Sky State Games 2020 Athletes of the Year are Brenda Rose of Billings and Bob Sager of White Sulphur Springs. Youth Athlete of the Year is Taylee Chirrick of Billings. These awards are designed to recognize individuals who best personify the ideals of the State Games movement: participation, sportsmanship, effort, and positive attitude.

Brenda Rose

Female Athlete of the Year Brenda Rose's love for cycling began with teaching cycling classes at the Billings YMCA. Rose stated, “I got into cycling by accident. I was teaching high impact aerobics and running which resulted in a stress fracture in my foot from overuse. In 1996 the YMCA offered to train me in "spinning". I took the training and the rest is history!”

From 2010 to 2020, Rose earned 22 medals, 20 gold and 2 silver, in the Big Sky State Games Cycling Time Trial and Road Race events. She has consistently finished as the first overall female in the time trial, first or second overall in the road race and always first in her age group.

Big Sky State Games Time Trial Cycling Commissioner Chris Cook said, “The bicycle brings out the physical, mental strength and toughness which is at the core of Brenda Rose.”

Rose has been an integral part of organizing the Big Sky State Games Road Race Cycling event for the last eight years as one of the Big Sky State Games Cycling Commissioners. She continues to teach cycling classes at the YMCA and also enjoys riding for charities and ultra-distances. Rose also was a middle school track and cross country coach until 2012 and also served as the race director for the Yellowstone Alpine Klimb Ride. When not on her bike, Brenda is an art teacher at Billings West. Brenda has been teaching for 36 years. Rose loves cycling, competing and always striving to do her best on and off her bike.


Bob Sager

Male Athlete of the Year Bob Sager has been in the Big Sky State Games from the start in 1986. He has earned over 40 medals since 2001. Sager broke the (70-74) age group Hammer Throw record in 2020 and also holds two other age group records in that event.

He had good success as an athlete in high school throwing the shot and discuss. On August 6, 1981, he was thrown through the window of his truck in a roll over and was pinned under his truck for 45 minutes. He dug himself out and walked 7 miles for help. During that hike, he made a mental "bucket list" and first on the list was to throw again. Sager has not looked back since. He started lifting, throwing and studying the technique. He has competed in 37 national meets, 14 World championships on 5 continents from Australia, Japan, to Scotland, has 22 national championships and three medals in World Masters Championships.

“The Big Sky Games have always given me a competitive opportunity to see how I was doing as it was usually a month before nationals. I use the Big Sky State Games as a "marker" to see how I am training and I measure myself on the ability to compete and enjoy the sport,” stated Sager.

Sager is a veterinarian, consults for large beef cattle ranches and speaks nationally and internationally on beef production. “I have been blessed to have had a great career and throwing is a wonderful hobby as it is good for my body, my soul, and my mind. I throw twice weekly on hand made circles and 5 throwing rings that I built,” Sager said. In 2006 Sager even held a national competition at his ranch near Wilsall.

In 2013 he received a new right femur ball prosthesis which allows him to continue his competitive spirit.


Taylee Chirrick

Taylee Chirrick is the Big Sky State Games Youth Athlete of the Year. Chirrick began competing in the Big Sky State Games Track and Field when she was 7 years old. In the last eight years, she has accumulated 22 Gold, 9 Silver and one Bronze medal in Track and Field. She also participated in Basketball in 2017, 2018 and 2019 earning two Gold and one Silver medal.

Chirrick holds 1500 meter age group record for ages 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13 age group in the Big Sky State Games. Her record for the 12-13 age group is the fastest of all recorded times of 4:57.97 in the 1500 meter. She also holds the 400 Meter and 800 Meter age group record for ages 10-11.

At the 2017 State Games of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan she brought home the Gold in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and Bronze in the long jump. Throughout the years she has also competed in USATF and AAU track meets winning numerous medals.

Chirrick’s running encompasses all lengths from the 100 meters to the 5k. In 2014, she set the record for the 8-9 year olds in the 2 mile Montana Women's Run. Also, she holds the YES Cross Country elementary record for the mile for 4th and 5th grade girls. This year at the Big Sky State Games, she not only competed in Track and Field events on Saturday but ran the 2020 Montana Mile Friday night

This Fall Chirrick is a freshman at West High School.


Past Winners

*Indicates National Athlete of the Year
Year Name Sport
2019 Female: Lisa Reimer Track & Field
Male: Dr. Gregory Dorow Cycling
Youth: Peter Thompson Swimming
  Team: Wildwood Cloggers Dance
2018 Female: Sharon Harris Road Race, Cycling, and Swimming
Male: Sean Phelps Road Race, Cycling, Triathlon, and Swimming
Youth: Mallory Simons Shooting
  Team: Hack Panthers Curling
2017 Female: Kamber Kelly-Brodock Volleyball
Male: Dave Winslow Bowling
Youth: Hailey Poole Track & Field, Volleyball, and Swimming
  Team: Team Rio Grand Casino/Bud/Pepsi/Midland Implement/Dale Construction Mens Softball
2016 Female: Mary Owen Road Race
Male: Jim Wright Armwrestling
Youth: Colter Barnett Ice Hockey, Triathlon, Cycling
  Team: Team Chase Co-Ed Volleyball
2015 Female: Bobbi Knudsen Basketball
Male: Al Vietz Road Race
Youth: Torie Jamieson Karate
  Team: NAPA Flag Football
2014 Female: Robin Hanel Road Race, Track & Field, Cycling, Triathlon/Duathlon
Male: Brendan Murray 5k Road Race, 10k Road Race
Youth: Shea Esp Swimming, Dance, Volleyball, Track & Field
  Team: Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears Adult Volleyball
2013 Female: Jen Reiter 5K Road Race, Biathlon, Triathlon, Volleyball 6-on-6, Volleyball Grass Doubles
Male: Bryan Brosious Triathlon, Road Race, Swimming, Cycling
  Youth: Ethan Harder Swimming, Team Triathlon
  Team: Dinosaurs of Doom Adult Co-Ed Soccer
2012 Female: Anita Rawlinson Road Race, Track and Field, Arm Wrestling and Swimming
  Male: Ken Cottrell Swimming, Cycling 25 mile, Triathlon, Track & Field
  Youth: Megan Sweeney Shooting Rifle Pistol
  Youth: Hayley Moen Track & Field
  Team: Northeast Montana Boys 11th/12th Grade Basketball
2011 Female: Lisa Minnehan Road Race
  Male: Cecil Pegram Cycling, Road Race, Triathlon, Ballroom Dancing
  Youth: Keegan Kampschroer Swimming
2010 Female: Iona Stooky Volleyball
  Male: Steve Mysee Cycling (Mt. Bike & Road Race), Triathlon, 5K Road Race
  Youth: Zach Holmes Archery
  Team: Sure Shank Reception Volleyball
2009 Female: Kristen Holland Fencing & Road Race
  Male: Lorn Welch Dance Sport Ballroom
  Team: GDR Flag Football
2008 Female: Marlene Tetrault Road Race, Tennis, Swimming, Cycling, Triathlon
  Male: Garth Kallevig Handball
  Team: Montana Hoops Girls 9th & 10th Grade Basketball
2007 Female: Denby Gardiner Swimming
  Male: Alan King Road Race, Track & Field
  Team: Karma Flag Football
2006 Female: Sarah Graves Road Race, Cycling, Triathlon, Biathlon, Track & Field
  Male: Bryon Johnson Armwrestling
  Team: Res Gestae "Things Done" Softball
2005 Female: Pat Jaffary Road Race
  Male: Lewis Elliot Road Race, Cycling, Triathlon
  Team: Onyx Soccer
2004 Female: Jen Allen Track & Field
  Male: Duane Cole Road Race
2003 Female: Jennifer Drinkwalter Triathlon, Cycling, Road Race
  Male: Dan Berry Cycling
2002 Female: Renee' Coppock Cycling, Road Race
  Male: Charles Jannings Track & Field
2001 Female: Laura Esp Swimming, Cycling, Road Race, Triathlon
  Male: Tony Banovich Road Race
2000 Female: Kathy Aragon Cycling, Road Race, Track & Field
  Male: Alfred Funk Track & Field
1998 Female: Sue O'Connell Karate
  Male: Trent Hartl Swimming
1997 Female: Cass Bauer Basketball
  Male: Dave Coppock Road Race
1996 Female: Debbie Magilke Road Race
  Male: John Collins Archery
1995 Female: Marjorie McLean Swimming
  Male: Lonn Saunders Shooting
1994 Female: Exel "Ekkie" Wedul Road Race
  Male: Glen Kapitzke Shooting