Four Years After the Tornado - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Four Years After the Tornado

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BILLINGS - June 20, 2010 -- a day Billings won't soon forget. A tornado ravaged through Rimrock Auto Arena, destroying the venue and other businesses and homes in the heights.

Rimrock Auto Arena General Manager Bill Dutcher says, looking back on that day, he's very thankful the arena was empty when the storm hit.

"Everything that is history now happened on that day with no injuries or deaths," he said. "I think that's the best thing that's come out of emergency situations -- crowd management safety."

Dutcher says the cost of reconstructing and repairing the arena cost nearly $40 million dollars total, but the improvements made, including more bathrooms, side doors with windows and a new sound system, would have taken decades to finance if not for the disaster.

"All of those came out of a quick, one year repair," he said. "It would have taken 30 years of dollars to do."

The majority of the money came from insurance claims, while a small portion came from Yellowstone County. With the upcoming Tim McGraw concert, the Montana Fair and the emergence of the Billings Wolves -- Dutcher says the Metra has a lot to look forward to.