Mobility & Public Transportation

WTI’s Mobility and Public Transportation program provides a comprehensive approach to the issues facing rural transit agencies. We focus on offering research, outreach and education/training for concerns such as rural public transportation and rural mobility. We also facilitate rural transportation coordination among stakeholders.

Program Overview

The Mobility and Public Transportation program research area works at providing a comprehensive approach to solving issues facing rural transportation (transit), federal lands (national parks, forests, etc.) and tribal agencies through research, outreach and education/training. It does this through facilitating transportation coordination among transportation providers, including human service, tourist industries and other organizations, and increasing mobility for individuals of all ages and abilities by using innovative solutions that include bicycle, pedestrian and all other modes of transportation.

About the Mobility and Public Transportation Program

This program expanded in 2004 from a focus specifically on public transportation (transit) to a program that included additional modes, including aviation, rail, bicycling and pedestrian travel. The program looks at how various modes interact, and how individual and public mobility can be improved by improving the link between the various modes.
Today, the Mobility and Public Transportation Program focuses on how to improve mobility in rural and frontier areas by coordinating resources so that even basic public transportation services can be provided. This is a challenge in rural and frontier areas due to a scattered population or seasonal visitors (tourists), who must travel great distances to reach medical and other life-line services (educational campuses, business centers, airports), and recreational sites.


Ongoing Projects

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25 Projects

NADO-USDA Lebanon, Missouri Rural Transportation Feasibility Study

Started November, 2017

WTI will provide technical assistance to three rural communities and regions to identify and evaluate options for expanding transportation options, through a new partnership with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)'s Research Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA sponsors technical assistance grants to rural communities and regions for transportation development, and NADO's Research Foundation, working in conjunction with WTI, was selected to receive three grants

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Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM)

Started November, 2016

The objective of the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer in all transportation-related aspects of mobility for people and goods, focusing specifically on small urban, rural and tribal areas.. .

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Last Mile Commercial Package Delivery as a Revenue Generation Tool for Rural Public Transportation Systems in Wyoming

Started October, 2016

The goal of this project is to assess the feasibility of last mile package delivery as a revenue generation tool for rural public transportation systems in Wyoming, which will include exploring
the impact of technologies and innovative last mile package delivery systems, and how rural public transportation systems may have a role in the process.. .

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Dynamic Warning Systems to Alert Motorists to the Presence of Bicyclists

Started September, 2016

Bicycle use has been increasing nationwide and many people enjoy riding bicycles along rural roads in scenic places. These roads often have high speed traffic, narrow or no shoulders and/or limited sight distances that put people on bicycles in a particularly vulnerable position. Engineering solutions such as wider shoulders or separated paths are not always possible due to political, topographic or economic constraints

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Bozeman TDM Coordinator

Started August, 2016

The objective of this project is to work with the City of Bozeman, Montana and Montana State University to implement transportation demand management (TDM) strategies.. .

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Sharing the Roads to Federal Lands

Started February, 2016

The purpose of this research is to develop guidance that can be used by transportation agencies when considering bikeway designations to reduce liability concerns and improve safety for people biking and driving on shared roads.. .

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Livability in State Departments of Transportation

Started January, 2016

The goal of this project is to learn if State DOTs are defining “livability” and incorporating it in their policies, procedures, and projects in a meaningful way.

View more details about this project on the SURLC website at .

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25 Projects

Completed Projects

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56 Projects

Small Town and Rural Street Guide

Started September, 2014

The USDOT Federal Highway Administration has released “Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks,” a report based on this project.  The report is intended to provide ideas and guidance to small towns and rural communities who wish to enhance active travel networks for modes such as bicycling and walking.  The guide also provides innovative examples of successful projects that are applicable to rural communities.

View more details about this project on the SURLC website .

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BLM Idaho Owyhee Transportation System Development

Started August, 2014

The public benefit of this work is an organized system of routes that will protect natural and cultural resources. The final organized routes inventory with all routes numbered and connected will provide clarity to the public during the BLM Transportation and Travel Management Planning.  This organization of routes will help remove redundant routes that crisscross the landscape and help prevent conflicts with natural and cultural resources.  This route numbering system may also be used “on the ground” so end users will understand what sub-region of Owyhee County they are in and whether or not they are on a main route based off of the route number..

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Incorporating Livability and the Urban Form into Travel Demand Forecasting Models in High Growth Rural and Small Urban Communities

Started July, 2014

The objectives of this research are to:

Develop a consolidated list of livability metrics that could be incorporated into TDFM,
Conduct initial analysis on the feasibility of incorporating each of these metrics into TDFM for a rural or small urban area,
Fully implement at least one livability metric into a full TDFM, and
Share results through technical transfer activities.
. .

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University Trip Exchange District Study

Started January, 2014

The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of creating a district around Montana State University in order to measure how travel to and from a university is different from travel to and from other types of development.. .

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Small Urban & Rural Livability Center (SURLC)

Started October, 2013

The objective of this project was to create a University Transportation Center charged with conducting research and providing leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer on the transportation aspects of livability, focused on small urban and rural areas.. .

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Safe Routes to Schools FY12

Started July, 2011

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE, will serve as the state of Montana's “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school..

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Montana Intercity Bus Service Study

Started November, 2010

The goal of this project is to provide the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) with an assessment of current intercity bus services within the state, and a methodology for determining future needs.. .

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Safe Routes to Schools, FY11

Started July, 2010

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE will serve as the state of Montana's “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school.

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Safe Routes to Schools

Started November, 2009

Through this project, Taylor Lonsdale, PE will serve as the state of Montana's “Safe Routes to School” Coordinator on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation. This program aims to encourage active and healthy lifestyles by increasing the number of children in grades K through 8 who walk and bike to school..

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Bike Sharing Programs on Federal Lands

Started August, 2009

This project will analyze the challenges bike sharing programs in some national parks and national wildlife refuges are facing, including liability and risk management, helmet use, business models, operations and maintenance, and funding mechanisms, and offer recommendations for Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) interested in implementing bike sharing programs. The results can help transfer knowledge on this new technology among the FLMAs..

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National Technical Assistance Center for Parks and Public Lands

Started April, 2009

Alternative transportation systems (ATS) can provide effective, environmentally sensitive solutions to traffic congestion, parking, pollution, and other transportation related challenges. The increased use of alternative transportation can help public land managers find the balance point between visitor access and experience and resource protection. Therefore, in order to increase the use of alternative transportation on public lands, managers need an easily accessible, central source for information, technical assistance, and coordination and outreach assistance

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Automated Cost Recovery

Started November, 2006

Identify practices and technologies to automate cost recovery in Montana transit systems making transportation business practices more effective and efficient.. .

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Big Sky Snow Express

Started July, 2003

The purpose of this project is for WTI to provide support for the development of new routes and a schedule for the Snow Express system in Big Sky, which is funded by resort tax dollars and managed by the District.. .

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Gallatin County Big Sky Transportation District

Started January, 2003

The purpose of the project is to provide support for the development of a Request For Proposal (RFP) for transportation services (buses and their operation) for the District, in addition to a survey of clients who utilize the services of the District.. .

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Paratransit Systems Operations Models

Started June, 2002

The objective of this project is to develop and test prototype models of paratransit systems that can be used to evaluate routing, scheduling and dispatch alternatives. The models will be demand-driven and will be developed using historical data available from Galavan. Testing and validation with other data sets will also be done, time permitting.

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56 Projects

Our News

35 News Posts

WTI Researchers Take Center Stage at National Public Lands Conference

Posted on September 25th, 2017

WTI Researchers Address Future of Transportation in Public Lands at National Conference The Western Transportation Institute played a prominent role in the recent Transportation Research Board (TRB) Conference on Transportation Needs of National Parks and Public Lands, held in Washington, DC from September 11 -13. Steve Albert and Natalie Villwock-Witte served on the planning committee for this national conference, which brought together practitioners from around the country to exchange ideas on how to enhance mobility, environmental stewardship, and visitor expericence in public land settings.  Several researchers were invited to present their work during the three day forum: Tony Clevenger co-led a workshop on wildlife crossings in Banff National Park, Rebecca Gleason and Taylor Lonsdale presented guidance on improving safety on rural roads with both vehicle and bicycle traffic, and Natalie Villwock-Witte gave presentations on both collaborative approaches to road safety plans and generational interest in visiting US Fish and Wildlife Refuges. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Presentation

Gallatin County Approves Funding for Skyline Bus Service

Posted on August 21st, 2017

On August 15, the Gallatin County Commission approved $68,500 in funding for the Skyline bus service in Big Sky, Montana, for fiscal year 2018.  This is the second year in a row that the Commission has invested in the service, according to WTI Program Manager David Kack, who also serves the Big Sky Transportation District Coordinator. The new funding was mentioned in a feature article about the growth and development of the region on the website of Explore Big Sky magazine. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

On the Climb to Big Sky – Skyline Bus Service Growing in Popularity

Posted on August 7th, 2017

The Skyline bus service from the Bozeman area to Big Sky is not just for skiers anymore.  Ridership grew by almost 9% last year, or an additional 16,000 rides, and a lot of the riders are traveling to Big Sky for work, not play.  In an interview on KBZK TV, WTI Program Manager David Kack (who is also the Coordinator for the Big Sky Transportation District), explained that 83 % of the Big Sky workforce commutes from surrounding communities like Bozeman and Belgrade, which likely accounts for part of Skyline’s growth in ridership. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

National Transit Program Promotes Intercity Bus Report

Posted on July 17th, 2017

Last week, the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) highlighted a report by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) in its online newsletter. The “Intercity Bus Stop Analysis,” authored by WTI’s Karalyn Clouser and David Kack, analyzed demographics in each of the forty-eight contiguous states, and provided an analysis of the number of rural and small urban communities that have access to the Greyhound intercity bus service network. RTAP described the publication as a resource that “should help state DOTs as they determine whether intercity bus service needs are being met in their states. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

WTI transit project spotlight in Rural Connections Magazine

Posted on May 15th, 2017

A WTI project on developing viable transit options in Wyoming is the subject of a feature article in the Spring 2017 issue of Rural Connections Magazine. David Kack, Jaydeep Chaudhari, and Taylor Lonsdale authored “Exploring Transit Feasibility in Park County, Wyoming,” which highlighted their collaboration with the Powell Economic Partnership, Inc. and the Forward Cody, Inc. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

Connected Vehicles Presentation Featured at Statewide Traffic Education Conference

Posted on May 1st, 2017

Craig Shankwitz spoke to the Montana Traffic Educators Association conference in Great Falls, Montana last week, delivering a presentation on emerging vehicle technologies.  In his remarks, he stated that the connected vehicle technologies are more likely to be widely deployed before autonomous (or driverless) vehicles. Connected vehicles communicate to other vehicles or to roadside infrastructure, which enables important updates and alerts about safety, traffic, or road conditions that can be sent directly to one’s car. View Full News Post »

Bozeman Commuter Challenge starts today!

Posted on May 1st, 2017

Got your bike, walking shoes, or bus schedule ready? May 1 is the first day of the Bozeman Commuter Challenge. Special thanks to the Montana State University News Service for highlighting the event last week in a story on the MSU website.  WTI will use Bike Walk Montana's Commuter Challenge website to keep track of miles and compete both statewide and locally. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, News

Montana State University highlights WTI research.

Posted on February 27th, 2017

Montana State University is highlighting WTI research on its website this week.  MSU News posted a feature article about Natalie Villwock-Witte’s research on the transportation preferences of rural Millennials, and the publicity it has received by national publications including Wired Magazine. If you missed it, you can read the article here. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Research

Natalie Villwock-Witte's Millennial research featured in WIRED magazine

Posted on January 30th, 2017

Last week, WIRED magazine published a feature article on its website about one of WTI’s projects documenting Millennial transportation trends. “Rural Millennials Still Dig Driving. They Have No Choice” highlighted the findings of WTI’s survey of Millennials in four states (Minnesota, Montana, Washington, and Wisconsin) to determine whether there are differences in transportation preferences between Millennials in urban and rural areas. View Full News Post »

New Publication: Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks

Posted on January 9th, 2017

The USDOT Federal Highway Administration has released “Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks,” a report developed by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) at WTI, Alta Planning and Design, and the National Association of Counties through SURLC’s Street Guide Project.  The report is intended to provide ideas and guidance to small towns and rural communities who wish to enhance active travel networks for modes such as bicycling and walking.  The guide also provides innovative examples of successful projects that are applicable to rural communities. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Publication

New Center Attracts Local Media Attention

Posted on December 12th, 2016

Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM), led by WTI was selected by USDOT as Tier 1 University Transportation Center, and will receive approximately $1.5 million a year for up to five years to lead research that improves the mobility of people and goods. Montana State University published a feature article about the selection on its website, and the story was also picked up by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

Article Published in Journal of Transport Geography

Posted on December 12th, 2016

The Journal of Transport Geography has published an atricle by Yiyi Wang and her colleagues: “Does bicycle network level of traffic stress (LTS) explain bicycle traffic behavior?” The article summarizes a case study in Oregon, and draws on census data, mode choice, and regional household travel survey data to investigate the relationship between the varying levels of traffic stress (LTS) routes and bicycle travel behavior. Citation: Wang, H., Palm, M. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News, Publication

Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board

Posted on November 21st, 2016

Hello Friends and Constituents, The Montana Department of Transportation is conducting a corridor study of the Frontage Road between Belgrade and Bozeman. This study will help to develop a comprehensive, long-range plan for managing the corridor and determining what improvements could be made to improve the corridor based on identified needs and financial constraints. Please click, or copy and paste the following link to add your commentary to anywhere on the comment map on the study "Wikimapping" website. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach

Local News covers WTI and City of Bozeman Traffic Project

Posted on November 7th, 2016

Last week, MSU, WTI and the City of Bozeman announced that they will team up to address local traffic growth. WTI will implement a transportation demand management initiative to address Bozeman’s significant growth in population and subsequent increase in the number of vehicles on the road and resulting traffic. Transportation demand management programs focus on changing or reducing travel demand, particularly at peak commute hours, instead of increasing roadway supply, making more efficient use of the current roadway system. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

Taylor Lonsdale to present in Safe Routes to School Webinar

Posted on September 7th, 2016

WTI’s Taylor Lonsdale will be a presenter for the September Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Webinar: Safe Routes to School in Small Rural Communities: Challenges and Strategies to Accessing Funding. Taylor will be highlighting the work on pathways in Highwood, MT which will be included in an upcoming publication from the SRTS National Partnership. Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 11:00am MST To register: https://attendee. View Full News Post »

Gallatin County Approves Money for Skyline

Posted on August 26th, 2016

WTI’s David Kack, Skyline Bus Coordinator, went before the Gallatin County Commision to request $75,000 in support of the bus service connecting Bozeman and Big Sky. Skyline has made budget requests for the last seven years, but never had any funding approved by the Gallatin County Commission. In a split vote, the commission approved a one-time $50,000 expenditure for new buses. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

WTI has Bikes to Share

Posted on July 29th, 2016

Need to attend a meeting on campus? Need lunch from Town and Country? Need to run an errand downtown? Need some exercise and fresh air? Hop on a WTI BikeShare bike! The five bike fleet can be found on the bike racks below the WTI building and they are marked with yellow tape or WTI signage. No need to sign them out – just return to the WTI building bike rack. Helmets, pumps, or other tools are available on the 3rd floor if you need them (contact Taylor Lonsdale ex. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News

WTI's David Kack Quoted in Helena Independent Record

Posted on July 25th, 2016

The Helena Independent Record included quotes in Sunday’s edition from WTI’s David Kack in “More and more Montanans depending on rural public transit.” The article highlights the vital role public transit plays in improving access to employment and medical facilities for those who live in rural areas of the state. Read the article here:http://helenair. View Full News Post »

Posted in: In The News

WTI's Taylor Lonsdale assists with Road Etiquette and Bike Safety Workshop

Posted on July 25th, 2016

Special thanks to Taylor Lonsdale who assisted Case Managers at the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC) and the Bike Kitchen with a Road Etiquette and Bike Safety Workshop for youth in Bozeman last week. The workshop sessions included bike safety, bike maintenance and repair, and a trip down the local city trails. Some of the youth participants were awarded free bikes for attending the workshop. View Full News Post »

The Montana Commuter Challenge is on!

Posted on May 16th, 2016

The Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board (BABAB) and WTI are sponsoring Bozeman’s 5th annual Commuter Challenge, May 1-31, 2016. If you haven’t already registered, sign up today. This month-long friendly competition between workplaces encourages people to park the car and walk, bicycle, or take a bus to work during May. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event, Outreach

WTI and Moscow State University to Collaborate

Posted on October 27th, 2015

WTI and the Moscow State University for Transport Engineering (MIIT) in Russia received Contract Funding from the Eurasia Foundation's University Partnership Program for collaborative activities aimed at establishing resource sharing mechanisms and a joint course. Shared resources and coursework will focus on enhancing mobility and equitable access to transportation services for persons with disabilities. (Susan Gallagher and David Kack). View Full News Post »

Posted in: New Research, Outreach

WTI to work with City of Bozeman

Posted on October 6th, 2015

WTI will be working with the City of Bozeman on the development of a Travel Demand Forecast Model (TDM) as the City has just begun working on an update to their Transportation Master Plan (TMP). WTI will develop a TDM that the City of Bozeman can utilize to more frequently evaluate transportation investments and will parallel the work being done for the City by Robert Peccia and Associates and MDT. The goal is to develop a model and methodology that will enable the city to incorporate the use of a TDM into development review, as well as annual capital planning for transportation. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Research, Student

Get out and Bike, Use our Bike Share!

Posted on September 29th, 2015

Need to get to campus during the day? Don’t want to drive? The WTI Bike Share is at your service. Bikes are marked with yellow tape on the racks in front of the building. WTI’s Taylor Lonsdale has worked hard to build this fleet equipped with accessories including racks, baskets, and fenders. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach

David Kack Leads Livability Webinar

Posted on September 21st, 2015

Livability Webinar – Last week, David Kack led a webinar for the Sonoran Institute entitled “Livability and the Connection Between Housing and Transportation.” More than 130 people participated in the webinar, which is part of a series from the Institute’s Community Builders project. David provided an overview of the six principles of livability, with a focus on the interrelationship between housing locations and employment locations, and the cost impacts this can have on a family’s budget. View Full News Post »

Posted in: Outreach

The Road Less Traveled: Can well-informed visitors help ease congestion in gateway communities and near or within our National Park Roads?

Posted on April 29th, 2011

(Article from WTI eNews April 2011) As winter comes to a close and the days become longer, summer travelers begin looking for places to wander. Despite the recession, or maybe because of it, national parks stand poised to receive yet another summer of near record visitors. A National Park in the Colorado Rockies is investigating whether drivers with more information about their transportation options will change how they travel to and through the park, and ultimately, reduce traffic and delays on popular roads and have a better visitor experience. View Full News Post »

Posted in: News, Research

WTI Hosts Bike Sharing Program Webinar

Posted on April 28th, 2011

More and more cities around the country are considering bike sharing to help achieve environmental, public health, and transportation related goals, while also improving a community’s livability. The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) presented a 90 minute webinar on Bicycle Sharing Programs on January 19. WTI served as a host site for the event with members of the Bozeman community in attendance. View Full News Post »

NRITS 2006

Posted on March 5th, 2006

NRITS sessions NRITS_2006_Agenda Al_Kaisy_A1 Allemeier_D1 Allen_B3 Askelson_E4 Ballard_Vanderbilt_G3 Blaine_E3 Boselly_C1 Brindell_F2 Burrows_D4 Cameron_A4 Campbell_E3 Churchill_H2 Couch_A3 Danczyk_A4 Danczyk_B2 Danczyk_B2_wvideo Davies_F4 Dgrabow_B1 Douglas_G3 Eidswick_A2 Flanigan_G1 Foderberg_H3 Franklin_F3 Frevert_E4 Funke_E2 Gaddy_H2 Galarus_A4 Galarus_B4 Galarus_G2 Galarus_H2 Gerfen_B3 Gilbertson_C3 Gilbertson_Fowler_D2 Grabow_B1 Gregory_B4 Gross_B3 Gulen_E1 Hansen_D3 Hansen_E2 Hansen_H1 Hanson_B1 Hardy_E1 Haskins_Hanson_C1 Hershey_B1 Hodges_G4 Huft_C2 Huijser_E1 Ivanovic_C3 Kack_A3 Kack_C4 Klatt_B2 Krause_A3 Kumar_A1 Kumar_D3 Kumar_G2 Laragan_D4 Legg_C2 Loftus_Otway_F3 Mann_H1 McCormack_D1 McGinnis_E2 McGinnis_H1 Murphy_C1 O'Keefe_A1 Osborne_B1 Parkany_G4 Parry_B2 Powell_C3 Redd_D1 Rosenbohm_E4 Ryen_C2 Sanddal_G1 Schneider_C3 Schopfer_G4 Scott_H3 Shaw_H3 Shi_A1 Shi_C1 Smadi_E3 Stanley_E1 Starr_C2 Stickel_B4 Stickel_E4 Stickel_H1 Strong_B2 Strong_F4 Thompson_B4 Thompson_D2 Turnbull_H4 Virshbo_E3 White_A2 Wolff_A4 Young_A2 Young_C4 Zhang_F4... View Full News Post »

Posted in: Event Archives

35 News Posts

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