By Joseph T. O’Connor Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

BIG SKY – Last year, Lone Peak High School celebrated its homecoming with a football game, halftime parade and a dance. With the Big Sky School District’s student body now at 276, they’ve stepped up their game this year.

LPHS homecoming is now a weeklong celebration, complete with a local business window-decorating contest, a parade, pep rallies, powderpuff football and volleyball games, the homecoming football game and a dance.

“The goal for this year is setting a precedent for the future,” said LPHS English teacher and Student Council Advisor Patty Hamblin. “Everything we’re doing is brand new. We really wanted to make sure this was something significant for the students and the community.”

The week kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 6 when each class will decorate a section of the school and athletes’ parents have the opportunity to decorate their kids’ lockers. Sunday also represents the beginning of the window-decorating contest for Big Sky businesses.

The first rule of the contest is, “You must love the Lone Peak Big Horns.” Displayed Oct. 6-11, the LPHS Student Council Committee will judge the window decorations between 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 11.

The committee is organizing all of the festivities and events, Hamblin said, noting that it wouldn’t be possible without them. “They’re going above and beyond.”

The committee will present trophies to businesses for Big Horn spirit; creative use of the school colors, blue and white; and the Traveling Trophy to the best overall entry. The student council is currently designing that trophy, which the winning business will have until next year’s contest.

“We’re going to paint the windows blue and white, have streamers and we’re hoping to get balloons,” said Julie Burgess, operations director for Big Sky Western Bank. “We want to support the high school [and] plan to wear our Lone Peak colors.”

Big Sky Build is also participating in the contest and plans to construct a blue and white quilt to use as a stained-glass window, according to Shana Seelye, whose husband John owns the custom home building company.

“The conference room faces Fire Pit Park, so we’re going to take advantage of our location to show our support for the [LPHS] volleyball and football teams,” Shana said.

On Wednesday Oct. 9, students and teachers will be going head-to-head in a powderpuff volleyball match and football game. The guys will play volleyball, and the girls are going at it on the football field.

Friday morning, Oct. 11, the school is planning its main pep rally for 9:50 a.m., and is inviting parents and the community to rally for the Big Horns.

This will all lead up to the inaugural LPHS Homecoming parade, set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 in the Town Center. The route will begin behind China Café and end at Fire Pit Park, where organizers are planning a pep rally and bonfire for students, athletes, parents and the entire Big Sky community.

The parade will feature floats from each LPHS class, Ophir Middle School and the booster club, as well as the sheriff’s and fire departments, the local Girl Scout troop, the after-school program, and of course, kids on bikes.

Supt. Jerry House encourages other community members interested in participating to contact the school. Prizes will be awarded to the top two entries. At press time, Oct. 2, there were 20 float entries.

On Friday, the LPHS volleyball team will take on Manhattan Christian, and Saturday, the Big Horn football team takes on West Yellowstone in the Battle of 191. This is the third year of this rivalry, and LPHS won the first two matchups. The Big Horns plan to keep the trophy at LPHS again this year.

“The guys said it’s not going anywhere,” Hamblin said.

Get hyped Big Sky! This year’s homecoming promises to be a memorable week.

“We’re getting the kids pumped up with school spirit,” House said. “The whole idea is to get the community involved with blue and white Big Horn colors.”

The homecoming events are posted on the Big Sky School District website at ophirschooldistrict.org, and are open to the community.