The Big Sky State Games has teamed up with the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition and Kenco Security and Technology to recognize the importance of sportsmanship and character in Montana student athletes. CHARACTER COUNTS! is a nonprofit organization striving to improve the character of today’s youth. It is based on common ethical values that transcend political, religious, socio-economic, and cultural differences. Called the “Six Pillars of Character,” these values are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Character Counts! Scholarship is sponsored by Kenco Security and Technology.
Over the past twenty years, the Big Sky State Games has awarded the Character Counts! Scholarship to outstanding Montana female and male student-citizen-athletes involved in the Big Sky State Games. The scholarship can be used for any secondary education after high school. This includes trade schools and community colleges.
Only high school juniors during the 2020-2021 school year are eligible for this scholarship. This is to ensure that fellow students can observe the scholarship winners during their senior year and to recognize the traits the students show. You can download the application application below. It will also be available at all Montana High Schools Guidance Counselor offices.
The Big Sky State Games has selected Ruff Elton of Red Lodge High School, Connor Chase of Billings Skyview High School, Morgan Maack of Laurel High School, Kylie Zimmer of Fergus High School and Riley Gilsdorf of Billings Senior High School as the recipients of the 2020 Big Sky State Games Character Counts! Scholarship. The $500 scholarship winners will be recognized at the 35th Annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies event Friday, July 17.
The winners were selected based on their character, community involvement, and participation in sports. Character Counts! promotes sportsmanship and fosters good character by teaching, enforcing, advocating, and modeling, the "Six Pillars of Character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship
Ruff Elton has competed in nine Big Sky State Games Shooting events for three years. He has been a cadet with the Roberts Volunteer Fire Department since 2018. Ruff runs varsity cross country and performs in the pep band at Red Lodge High School. Other achievements include three academic welding awards and the President’s Education Award. Ruff spends many hours volunteering in his community and coaching junior 4-H and BB gun.
Connor Chase has participated in the Big Sky State Games Basketball competition for eight years, 5k Road Race for one year, and Ultimate Frisbee for one year. He has achieved Academic All-State for track & field and cross country for the past two and three years respectively at Billings Skyview High School. Connor volunteers at two elementary schools in Billings. Connor also enjoys his involvement with his church youth group where he has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities.
Morgan Maack has participated in Big Sky State Games Soccer for eight years, Track and Field for two years, and Basketball for one year. She has received eight Academic All-State sport awards, the Triple A award, and two MHSA National Guard Academic All Team awards while attending Laurel High School. She volunteers her time at youth basketball and soccer camps as well as the Reading Under the Lights program for elementary students. Morgan also coaches and officiates for the Laurel Storm Soccer Program.
Kylie Zimmer has participated in Big Sky State Games Track and Field for four years. She has received three Academic All-State awards for volleyball, two for track and field, and two for basketball at Fergus High School. Kylie is also a member of FCCLA, FFA, and Key Club. She is a Kiwanis Achievement Team Scholastic Award recipient. Kylie volunteers her time with various mentoring programs such as youth sports camps and clinics.
Riley Gilsdorf has participated in Big Sky State Games Tennis for six years and Track and Field for one year. She is on the Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council, an Ashlie Tate Junior Ambassador, and the President of the Key Club at Billings Senior High School. Riley plays an active role in the community by volunteering with many different organizations in Billings. Riley is a varsity tennis team member at The Elks Tennis Center and Billings Senior High.
|Audrey Sipler||Big Sandy|
|Loren Murphy||Huntley Project|
|2016||Cory Kistler||Huntley Project|
|Brianna Jo Robinson||Billings|
|Emily Grace Walker||Huntley|
|2008||Cord Blanchard||Great Falls|
|Kylie Medicine Horse||Pryor|
|Chris Blanchard||Great Falls|
|2002||Sara Patterson||Great Falls|