BUTTE, Mont. - Butte-Silver Bow is one of the better vaccinated counties in the state of Montana at 64%, but that number falls short of the county health department's goal of 70%. And not even the incentive of cash--and lots of it--could get the county to reach that mark over the summer.

From June through September, Town Pump, headquartered in Butte, ran its vaccination sweepstakes in coordination with Silver Bow County, where any and all fully vaccinated members of the community could enter a weekly lottery with two top prizes of $10,000 and three more of $5,000.

And although Town Pump handed out $500,000 total in winnings over the summer, the total increase in vaccination rates were ultimately minimal: just a rise of about 7% according to the numbers.

"We had successes, but we would have liked to have seen more people get vaccinated," said Bill McGladdery, the Town Pump director of corporate communications. "Another 900 to 1,000 people would have really made this a screaming success."

Although the sweepstakes didn't improve vaccination rates as much as the county wanted, McGladdery still sees plenty of positives with the program, especially economically.

"[The sweepstakes] also put a half million dollars into the Butte economy," McGladdery said. "So that kind of helps as we come out COVID [by] getting people to support Butte businesses once again."

The weekly sweepstakes ended in September, and McGladdery says that Town Pump currently has no plans to continue with the sweepstakes going forward.

If you are a resident of Silver Bow County, and you're still looking to get vaccinated, you've got options: CVS, St. James Healthcare, the county health department, and more all have locations and appointments available.

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