This summer marked the first O2 Experience Montana tour since we began the event in 2004. We’ve held an O2 event in Kalispell before, but never an actual tour through the Treasure State. That all changed this June. We traveled over 900 miles across our massive home state to take the message of life, death, sex and romance on the road to Billings, Missoula and Kalispell.
We kicked off the tour in downtown Billings at the historic Babcock Theatre. Billings is Montana’s largest city with a population of over 100,000 people, and is a center for retail, hotels, conferences and events in the state. It’s nicknamed the “Magic City,” due to its rapid growth from a small railroad town in the late 1800’s to a booming hub for trade and distribution.
Our team, traveling with two trucks hauling 24’ and 32’ trailers, and two vans carrying tour team members, began load in to the venue the day before the event. The Babcock is a vibey old theatre built in 1907. The outside features a killer old school sign and marquee, and the inside of the 750-seat theatre has just as much character.
I had the opportunity to talk about O2 Billings on both TV and radio interviews while we were in town. It’s incredible to see the platforms that open up to help spread the vision and heart behind this event. According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 46% of teens in the state are sexually active, with 65.9% of male and 62.5% of female high school seniors having had sex. In Yellowstone County alone there have been more than 34,000 births to teen mothers, ages 15-19, over the last few years. There is a need not only across the U.S. for this message about the power connected to purity, but right here in our home state.
The day of the event we encountered a crazy storm – with flooding across the city shutting down some major roads, leaving our team scrambling to bring outdoor booths inside the venue at the last minute. Despite the intense rain and floods, we saw a few hundred people attend, with many giving their lives to Christ and a majority of attendees making a commitment to strength and honor.
It was a killer kick-off to our Montana tour, here’s a lookbook for the event: