BUTTE — When Tim Fox handed Treyton Anderson a license plate with the word "HURDLER" emblazoned on it, it felt like a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation of track stars to another.
At the State A track meet in Butte on Friday, Anderson bolted to a time of 14.40 in the prelims of the 110-meter high hurdles. That mark matched the class record originally set by Glasgow's Roy Robinson in 1966, tied by Fox a decade later in 1976 and then matched by Corvallis' Slater Powell in 2010.
Seeing Anderson join him, Robinson and Powell in an elite Class A club brought back a flood memories and emotions for Fox.
46 years ago I tied Roy Robinson’s all-class 110 meter high hurdle high school state record at 14.4 seconds. That record is still the Class “A” record & was tied by Dillon’s Treyton Anderson at the state championship this weekend. I gave Treyton a license plate & challenge coin. pic.twitter.com/Pz6K4hDr3a— Attorney General Tim Fox (@AGTimFox) May 29, 2022
"It was very exciting for me," he said. "I get butterflies, even though I can't really translate that into running anymore."
The former two-term Attorney General of Montana from 2013 to 2021 was a standout athlete for Hardin and then the University of Montana back in the 1970s.
Fox got his first car in 1978, and his father, Rich — in a nod to his son's talent in the hurdles — had the custom plates made.
"I figured they'd just be Big Horn County plates," Fox said. "And when they came in the mail it said 'hurdler.' And there was a note with it saying 'I'm real proud of you son. Keep it up.'"
Fox talked about the many people who mentored him during his decorated track career, which includes a Big Sky Conference record that will stand forever since the event no longer exists — the 60-yard indoor run. He also holds the all-time men's record at Montana in the 110 hurdles (14.24) and 55 hurdles (7.40).
The gift and words of encouragement he shared with Anderson were a way of continuing that.
"That's what it's all about is paying it forward, paying it back," Fox said.
For Anderson, it was a special experience to meet the person someone who shared the record and did it 46 years ago.
"It was really cool to meet him and share a record with someone like that," Anderson said.
Anderson finished his high school career with three more individual victories, winning the 110 and 300 hurdles, the 400 and helping the Beavers to a victory in the 4x400 relay. That effort lifted Dillon to the team title.
He'll now join the track and field program at future Big 12 Conference member Brigham Young University.
Jokingly, Fox said he's relieved Anderson didn't decide to enroll at his alma mater.
"It means he won't get my records at the University of Montana," Fox said with a chuckle. "Maybe they'll last a little while longer."