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Tavern association goes virtual with convention
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Tavern association goes virtual with convention

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The Montana Tavern Association is going virtual with its convention this year.

“The association is doing something pretty innovative,” said John Iverson, the MTA’s lobbyist and government affairs consultant. “I’m excited for it.”

The MTA has worked diligently for several weeks to pivot to the virtual convention, set for Tuesday, Sept. 22, after the normal convention, originally scheduled for Butte in late September, was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

The high-tech affair combines the “renowned hospitality of Montana tavern owners” with an online experience that will feature a business meeting, a general session with updates from regulators, and a forum with candidates for key offices, Iverson said. The event runs noon to 5.

An experienced webinar company has been hired to manage the event, which will include 10 satellite venues at host taverns in 10 cities across the state where MTA members are encouraged to gather to take part in the convention and enjoy “amazing hospitality,” MTA President Mary Jane Heisler said.

“The convention is essentially being broadcast to 10 live, satellite locations,” Iverson said. “This allows everyone to still enjoy some of the social aspect of the convention experience, while taking proper COVID precautions,” Iverson said.

The host sites are the Riverside Country Club, Bozeman; Columbia Club, Billings; Metals Sports Bar & Grill, Butte; Cottonwood Inn, Glasgow; Pit Stop, Great Falls; Oxford Bar, Havre; Jorgenson’s, Helena; Monk’s Bar, Missoula; Bull n’ Bear, Red Lodge; and Trojan Lanes, Troy.

Though tavern owners are strongly urged to take advantage of the host sites “to ensure a fun, educational afternoon,” Heisler said, they can register individually and participate at their home or office. To register individually taverns can contact the MTA office.

“Registration is required by individuals to receive the log-in information,” Iverson said, adding that those visiting a host site don’t need to register.

Next year the convention will return to its regular in-person format Aug. 24-26 in Butte at the renovated Copper King Inn.

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