MILES CITY – It’s Badlands Bowl week.
The 25th annual all-star football game will once again pit Montana against North Dakota. The Badlands Bowl roster is arguably the most talented team put together for Montana’s all-star games each year, and there’s even a special head coach this time.
Billings Senior activities director Mark Sulser has come out of retirement to lead the Montana squad. Sulser replaced former Helena High coach Tony Artnson, who stepped down after taking a job with Carroll College earlier this year. Sulser coached the Broncs until 2012. While he hasn’t forgotten everything in six years, there are a few gaps.
“I got to admit, I’m a little rusty,” Sulser joked during a practice Monday. “We had lunch with the Kiwanians today in Miles City and it’s been a while since I’ve talked football in front of a large group of people. It’s one of those deals that doesn’t take long to get the kinks out I hope.”
He added that while his focus is on getting his players prepared to win Saturday, he does take a moment to enjoy the talent level on the field.
“It’s pretty special watching certain guys. I need to remind myself to do that – to sit back and enjoy the experience a little bit and recognize all the work these guys have put in and the success they’ve had these last four years of high school,” Sulser said.
Sulser likely jumped at the chance to coach son Gabe, the 2017 Montana Gatorade Player of the Year, who was still in middle school when Mark left the Broncs. Unfortunately, Gabe won’t play this week because of a lingering hamstring issue. The rest of the team will face North Dakota in Dickinson, N.D. Saturday night with kickoff at 6 p.m.