BUTTE — From a ranch kid in Dillon to a second-round NFL Draft pick, Troy Andersen's rise from a small town to the big time has been astonishing.
But despite everything he's accomplished — including recently signing a four-year rookie contract with the Atlanta Falcons — he recognizes that the people who invested and believed in him have played a tremendous role in his success.
"I've had so many people believe in me," Andersen said. "You never know what the little words of encouragement mean to a young boy or girl. To be able to provide that is great."
Andersen's presence at Colt Andersen's Dream Big Montana skills camp at Naranche Stadium on Thursday was fitting.
For the hundreds of Montana kids in attendance, Andersen was living proof that — with hard work and determination — goals can be realized and dreams can come true, even for someone from rural Montana.
"This is an awesome event," Andersen said. "First time that I've been here and fortunate that Colt invited me. To be able to experience this and see all the kids running around, enjoying football and outdoors in awesome.
Andersen is back in Dillon after participating in the Falcon's rookie minicamp last month as he prepares for training camp in late July. He's glad to be back home for awhile as he gears up for the rigors of his first season with Atlanta.
"It's a long season in the NFL," he said. "To hang out with my family and friends for a bit is definitely appreciated."