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PickUp USA Fitness opens Montana's first location in Montana City

Montana City hoops
Posted at 3:19 PM, Nov 22, 2023

MONTANA CITY — PickUp USA Fitness is providing a new way to look at basketball. The nation's leading basketball gym chain is now represented in Montana City and offers a full range of services for both youth and adult players.

"It’s the perfect combination of basketball and fitness, so yeah, we can do it all,” says United States National Army Guard veteran and former high school coach, T.J. Lucas.

Lucas, who also happens to be a certified personal trainer, has been a vital part of the basketball community in and around Helena for well-over a decade.

“We finally have a dedicated space just for basketball players, (and) we have officiated PickUp games, which has helped solve a lot of issues,” he said.

Lucas, along with his wife Ashley, are the franchise owners of the new gym in Montana City.

“My passion is about coaching and helping kids. We love working with them and watching them grow by helping their game,” said Lucas.

The new hoops-specific facility also offers a coed youth development basketball league equipped with individual team coaches as well as weekly practices and games.

“The coaches are passionate about it and the kids are learning the game the right way, they are paid coaches and they’re bringing their expertise from their experience to these practices and this league," continued Lucas. “To be honest, I was a little nervous about how the girls were going to do (in a coed league) but these girls come to play and they are not backing down from the boys, so it’s a lot of fun to watch."

Coaching for over 25 years, Erica Smith also played college basketball at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, prior to moving to Montana with her family.

“I have kids in the district that love basketball. So, just trying to find places for them to fit in, I wanted something a little more competitive than some of the other things that we’ve been involved with. The rest is history. It’s a beautiful facility.”

Having opened in mid-October, Pickup USA Fitness is here to stay.

"Anybody’s welcome, you’ll love it if you come out. The love of basketball is all you need," added Smith, who has played both softball and basketball at the collegiate level.

Cambria Berg is an elementary aged player in the new youth development league led by Smith. Berg's mother tried finding gym space for her AAU travel team before joining PickUp USA fitness.

“I love it, it’s so fun to come out here and play, and getting to run all the plays with my teammates, we all get along really well. We’re kind of like a big family, joined together," said Berg. “You get free gym time. You can come out here whenever, open gym time, you can use the equipment, and they give you jerseys for practicing and games."

“What we really want to bring to the youth is fundamentals, and not just games but learning the game\ instead of them just running around picking up bad habits.” said Hasani Simmons.

Simmons, an assistant on the Carroll College men’s basketball staff, grew up in North Carolina prior to moving to Helena nearly two decades ago,

"Watching Bozeman, Missoula and Billings, they all have programs and gyms for the kids. Other than trying to get into the local YMCA, this is the place where you can just hoop. I’s hoops central at PickUp USA Fitness, Montana City,” Simmons said.

Plenty of man power went into the first and only PickUp USA Fitness establishment in the entire state of Montana, but Mr. Lucas highly recommends "coming by to check it out first hand."