After three cards in Great Falls this past year, they didn’t slow down come summer as they did a motorcross event and then their debut in Washington State a few weeks ago.
We talk to owner and CEO Cory Smith about the busy year so far and his upcoming 5th card in Great Falls, which will be during the Montana State Fair.
MTCage: How was it to do a show in Washington for the first time?
Cory Smith: It was an experience that’s for sure. Working with another promotion has its positives and negatives, but it was good to see our boys go out there and compete. I met a lot of great people in the process of the show, and being out in Seattle was an awesome experience in itself. To bring my brand that I have created and put a lot of hard work into out to a market like Seattle was fun, and I look forward to branching into other markets very soon.
MTCage: You got a great sampling of northwest talent on that card. Are we going to expect more talent in the region to come to Montana to compete?
Smith: Our matchmaker is from the Seattle/Tacoma area, so we try to draw as much talent from over there as possible, those guys always show up on time, on weight, professional, and ready for war, in the near future we will bringing out 185lb champ Jared Torgenson back, and hoping to sign Matt Kovacs and Robert Canns very soon to come over and let them compete against our best in front of our fans.
MTC: You did the Motorcross event, then the Washington card, and now the State Fair card. This is a quick turnaround. How are you handling it?
C.S.: Its been a blur, but that’s the nature of the beast I guest. I knew it coming in that this was going to be a challenge, but I’m kind of enjoying it. Going, going, going has made the summer fly by that’s for sure, but I have an awesome staff. They have been working their butt’s off when I am gone or busy so that’s making it easier. I’m gonna be happy when its all over, but for now, all I can say is “What a Ride!” haha.
MTC: You are doing this next card during the State Fair. How is it to do it during this event and have a possible bigger audience?
C.S.: I am truly humbled that the Commissioners voted yes on my show. It is truly an honor! There is MMA promotions that have been doing shows in the state for 10+ years, one of which comes to Great Falls twice a year, and the State Fair wanted us. Its nice that our presentation to the commissioners wasn’t us trying to talk ourselves up. I’m very firm believer in actions speak louder than words, so all we did was present out ticket sale number and a our beer sale numbers and that was enough to make people happy. I am so stoked to be the first ever MMA promotion at the Montana State Fair.
MTC: Leo Bercier and Nate Cook are set for the main event. Bercier seems always to be a crowd favorite. What are you expecting in the match?
C.S.: It’s awesome to have Leo back under contract, he is a crowd favorite, and is putting in a great camp down in Missoula at the DogPound. If I am a fan in the stands, I would get your camera’s out because the “KO KING” in very hungry, and I chose Leo because he is a long time MMA and boxing fighter in Montana, and he deserves the first ever state fair spot.
MTC: Any other matches we need to look out for?
C.S.: Sam Atkins looks to get back in the KO circle, and one of my favorite’s Brandon Caldwell makes his return to the ICF after a long lay off, Brandon is a good name in Great Falls, and is putting in the hard work. Team Evolution here in Great Falls is putting out some awesome talent right now, everyone will be very happy with their roster.
MTC: You keep up racking sponsors. Now Bai health drink has joined up with you guys. How has it been to get so much support from the business community, local, national, or otherwise?
C.S.: It’s awesome, again I go back to “Actions Speak Louder than Words”, these sponsors come to us because of our brand and how professional we are. When I sit down in meetings with these sponsors and propose to team up with them, I am confident that we can promote that company or brand in a very professional way, and they usually see it that way as well. With our crowds continuing to grow and grow, its cool to look back at the sponsors that signed on at the beginning as well and see them still sitting front row 4 years later. The new sponsors are awesome, I am enjoying promoting their brands through my company, and its humbling knowing these big time companies and brands want to be associated with 221 Industries and the ICF.
MTC: We never really talk about all the hard work the 221 Industry girls do to help promote your events. How is it to have a group of ladies dedicated to the company?
C.S.: These girls are awesome! They are all so professional a go getters. I tell them all the time that they are the face of the company, they are the ones out promoting our events and clothing line, and its so great that our sponsors utilize them for their promo events. I have the best promo girls in the world, Ill put them in a booth next to any company/brand in the world and watch our girls go head to head.
MTC: Anything you want to add/thank?
C.S.: Thank you Montana, and our sponsors! You guys rock!
Tickets for ICF 14 in Great Falls are available at GoExpoPark.com and at the 4 Seasons box office.