Missoula made its last best bid for ESPN's 2002 Great Outdoor Games on Tuesday, pitching woo to network executives in Bristol, Conn.
"They had a really positive feeling after the meeting, and we're down to the final two," Kim Latrielle, chief executive officer of the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, said after speaking with chamber officials who made Missoula's presentation.
Missoula was one of four semifinalists to get the games, a televised combination of target, fishing, timber and dog-related sports events. Also vying for the games are Eau Claire, Wis., Hot Springs, Ariz., and Richmond, Va. All four cities made presentations Tuesday, and Latrielle said Missoula and Richmond appear to be the finalists.
"I guess (the ESPN officials) were really wowed by our presentation and our video," Latrielle said. "They said there were ESPN employees in the halls saying 'Go Montana.' "
Although Missoula officials thought a final decision would be made in June, Latrielle said Tuesday that ESPN officials said the decision could be made as early as Friday.
"We're feeling really good about things right now," Latrielle said. "We've got a lot of things going for us."
Latrielle was working late Tuesday to overnight more information about Missoula to ESPN headquarters.
The games have most recently been held in Lake Placid, N.Y., which will host this year's edition in late July. Last year's games drew about 18,000 spectators and featured 12 hours of programming seen in 106 countries. Admission to the games is free.
ESPN officials visited Missoula on May 1 and 2, and were set to pick two of the four cities as finalists on May 15. Instead, they opted to have officials from the four cities travel to Bristol to make presentations.