Can anyone explain to me why Montana holds their state competition so early?
I think it's due to a couple factors:
1. They are a relatively small state in terms of # of teams (88 total), but pretty big in terms of geographical area. That means they likely have teams spread out quite a bit, making having regionals or invitational tournaments pretty hard due to the small number or participants and great distances involved. Thus they only really need 1 state tournament each year.
2. According to Wikipedia, snow season is November to March, with most cities getting 30-50 inches per year and the average temperature below freezing during that time. That makes it virtually impossible to hold certain events like bottle rockets, and also probably presents general long-distance travel issues. Hence, having the competition early makes the weather less of a factor and probably helps boost participation.