KALISPELL — The Glacier Range Riders continue to make their presence known in the Flathead Valley, and with players from all across the country, many have been graciously welcomed into the households of Flathead families through the organization’s host family program.
"It’s been awesome, this is my second time having a host family and it’s everything you can ask for from a host family, you know, they’re super supportive, they go above and beyond with what they’re supposed to do," said Glacier Range Riders outfielder, Dean Miller.
The families that have taken in players have all been given high praise for their generous hospitality.
"It’s a little community that you feel welcomed in, and I’ve heard only good experiences from the other players about their host families, and it’s been an awesome experience so far," said Miller.
Not only have the players been thankful for their host families, but all the fans as well.
"The fans have been awesome," said Miller with a grin. "At the places I’ve played this is probably the most support I’ve seen consistently, day in, day out from the fans and they show up every game. Their support and their energy that they bring everyday it’s been, it’s been fun to play for."
Miller is just one of the many players who’s been fortunate enough to land with a one of the families up in Kalispell.
"They’re really awesome, I’m beyond blessed to be in that house with this family and I’m with two of my good friends on the team as well, and just coming home to home cooked meals is just, it’s awesome," said Glacier Range Riders catcher, Justin Mazzone.
For most of the players it’s their first time staying with a host family.
"Having a host family, having a place to go instead of staying in a hotel, I know a couple of guys that had to stay in hotels, it’s just more of a home feel," said Mazzone. "I feel like it just helps your performance, being able to have that, that roof over your head rather than just staying in a hotel and just playing baseball you know what I mean, it’s just more of a family feel and you feel more at home."
For Mazzone being able to finish a game and be treated with a home cooked meal from people supporting you is a feeling that can’t be beat.
"Just coming home every night and having those people there just saying great game and just being there to support you every single game, every single day," said Mazzone.
Mazzone and Miller are just two of the Range Riders who have been lucky enough to land in the home of a welcoming Flathead family and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.