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Billings’ Rimrock Auto Arena to reopen in April; Outlaws fold

Billings OutlawsRimrock Auto Arena in Billings, heavily damaged by a tornado last summer, is slated to reopen April 15, as crews are rebuilding the roof and cleaning up the interior. It won’t be soon enough for the Billings Outlaws (IFL), as the team folded operations.

To say the folding of the Outlaws is a surprise is an understatement: the team has arguably been the most successful team in the IFL over the last decade, as owner Mike Parnell — a founder of Oakley sunglasses — pulled the plug on the team over a $21,000 deficit last season. Parnell estblished an amazing operation by IFL standings, building an indoor practice facility for his team and launching a hotel to house them. The team drew well, even in the playoffs, and won the IFL title last season for the second consecutive year.

That Parnell didn’t seek to sell the team is interesting: normally a franchise perceived as being successful can find a buyer. And indeed, some in Billings are talking about putting together resources for such a sale.

Meanwhile, Rimrock Auto Arena will reopen April 15, sans the Outlaws.

RELATED STORIES: Initial cost estimates presented for Billings arena renovations; Yellowstone County to rebuilt Rimrock Auto Arena Tornado rips roof off Billings arena; damage is extensive

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