Mid-Rivers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. members gathered at the Richland County Event Center in Sidney, Montana, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, for the Mid-Rivers Annual Meeting. Items of business included electing three Cooperative Trustees, informing members of the cooperative’s financial performance and future plans, and awarding scholarships to area students.

Kali Godfrey, Executive Director of the Sidney Chamber of Commerce, gave the welcome speech and thanked Mid-Rivers for hosting the event in Sidney. “The Mid-Rivers logo is on pretty much everything the Chamber is associated with,” she remarked, and she also praised the company’s Internet services, employees, and overall presence in the community. Reverend Tim Tharp gave the Invocation and Benediction.

Trustee Dave Rice of rural Glendive (District 5) was re-elected to a three-year term. Michael Conroy II of Circle (District 4) and Zachery Sverdrup of Sidney (District 6) were newly elected to serve three-year terms to the Mid-Rivers Board of Trustees. At the Board of Trustees’ organizational meeting held after the Annual Meeting, Dane Castleberry was re-elected President, Dave Rice Vice President, and Nick Schultz Secretary.

Mid-Rivers’ General Manager/CEO Michael Candelaria provided an update on the financial condition of the cooperative. He reported that the Cooperative is currently in a financially strong position to serve its customers and has been proactive in positioning the Cooperative to remain strong into the future. Candelaria also gave an update on the status of the Cooperative’s long-term fiber build out plan where he announced that the plan is well ahead of the schedule to build fiber to as many customers as possible. Several member questions were addressed regarding fiber construction timeframes, internet plan pricing, calling features and other issues.

During the meeting, nine door prizes including iPads, AirPods, a DJI Drone, and cash prizes were handed out through a drawing of registered members in attendance.

Mid-Rivers awarded 38 $1,000 scholarships to qualifying students attending the meeting. These scholarships are offered to any student attending a higher education institution in the fall of 2023, whose parent or guardian is a member of the Cooperative and who has not previously received a Mid-Rivers Scholarship. Originally the Board of Trustees had chosen to draw for 22 scholarships. However, the Board of Trustees made the executive decision to award a $1,000 scholarship to all 38 eligible students in attendance!

Winners of the 2023 Annual Meeting scholarship drawing were Alexis Moline, Amber Durden, Boston Peters, Bradyn Page, Chay VanDyke, Ellie Brown, Espyn Hostetler, Frank Kunda, Grady Gonsioroski, Hannah Anderson, Hattie Brothen, Jacey Gorder, Jacobi Dore, Justin Filler, Karina Melton, Katie Wise, Keela Kary, Landynn White, Lauren Treu, Lexi Morlock, Maddie Peters, Madison Dykstra, Mataya Tipton, Max Nicholson, Mikael Savage, Mike Tiutiunyk, Morgan Candee, Nicholas Engesser, Olivia Schoepp, Parker Mindt, Ryan DeSaye, Sophia Schock, Sophie Peters, Tristen Jarvis, Ty Lovegren, Whitney Van Hook, Zander Dean, and Zoe Roberts. Mid-Rivers Higher Education Scholarships are funded by unclaimed capital credits. Montana Law requires that after 5 years, capital credit payments that remain unclaimed be placed into a fund for educational use. Mid-Rivers has chosen to use these funds for scholarships and educational grants to members.

Following the meeting, 279 guests and community members joined Mid-Rivers for a Customer Appreciation Lunch prepared by local food truck vendors Miki’s, 2 Sisters Concessions, Island Cuisine, Tailgators, and The Rush.