Trump Signs, Buisness Impact of Trump Visit

Pro-Trump signs adorn hay bales and an old barn on Thursday afternoon off of River Road near Four Corners.

With both a Montana State University football game and President Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday, local hotels and the airport are gearing up for a busy weekend.

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If you need a hotel room near Bozeman this weekend, good luck.

With both a Montana State University football game and President Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday, local hotels and the airport are gearing up for a busy weekend.

While Bozeman hotel workers say rooms almost always sell out on weekends, hotels out in Belgrade usually have a little more availability this time of year. But with a Trump rally expected to bring people into town this weekend, lodging near the airport is filling up.

About five minutes from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, where the Trump rally will be held in a private hangar, the Quality Inn in Belgrade is completely sold out on Saturday and only had one room available on Friday as of press time. That’s rare for November, front desk attendant Stephanie Olson said.

Lisa Owen, general manager at the Holiday Inn in Belgrade, said the hotel has definitely seen an increase in booked rooms this weekend, though it’s hard to say how much of an impact the rally had on those numbers.

“We pretty much sell out whenever there’s a home game,” she said. “I think we would fill up even without the rally.”

Getting to the airport from hotels is another story. Though Gallatin County Undersheriff Dan Springer said traffic should not be impacted by the rally, if there are any road closures, it will only be for a few minutes at a time.

Nonetheless, Montana Department of Transportation released a statement reminding rally-goers that Jackrabbit Lane is still under heavy construction. Though both sides of the roadway are open and the project is nearly complete, DOT said travelers can expect delays and should avoid the area.

Airport Director Brian Sprenger encouraged those attending the rally to take Frontage Road and those flying out of the airport to use Interstate 90, as flights will continue as usual.

The airport will mainly be in charge of crowd management, coordinating with law enforcement and providing parking on a 35-acre field east of the airport. Sprenger estimates it will cost the airport roughly $10,000 in overtime for staff.

There will be space for protesters, but as of press time, Sprenger said no one had applied for a protesting permit.

Though Sprenger wasn’t aware of any firm numbers for ticket sales, he said the rally will take place in the hangar right next to the one where former President Barack Obama spoke during his visit to Bozeman in 2009. Obama’s hangar held 4,000 to 5,000 people, and Sprenger said Trump’s hangar will be slightly smaller.

“Fortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo,” he said.

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Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

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