For the first time since its inception in Montana in 2011, the popular “Tip-A-Cop” event will expand to Billings.

On Monday, June 22, Mackenzie River Pizza will partner with local law enforcement agencies to host a “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics Montana.

This annual fundraising event involves local law enforcement officers volunteering their time as “celebrity servers” in an effort to earn “tips” for Special Olympics Montana athletes. These special tips are in addition to the normal tip you leave for your server.

All proceeds derived from these tips are distributed directly to local and state-wide Special Olympic Montana athletes, according to Officer Chris Evans of the Billings office of the Montana Probation and Parole Division.

All money raised through the “Tip-A-Cop” event stays in Montana with 60 percent of the proceeds staying in the local area to help cover costs associated with competition and training, Evans said. The remaining 40 percent helps cover the costs at the statewide level.

More than $33,000 has been raised through the “Tip-A-Cop” events at Mackenzie River Pizza since the program started in Montana four years ago.

Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Montana

This is Evans’ first year coordinating the event along with Mackenzie River Pizza and finds it a natural fit.

“I have participated in the Torch Run Relay and Circle of Honor at the opening ceremonies in the past,” Evans told Townsquare Media. “That sealed my interest in this great program.  Getting to interact with the athletes and volunteers is such a fun and rewarding experience.”

This year, the event will be held at both the Heights and West-End Billings Mackenzie River Pizza locations from 11 a.m. to close.

Keep an eye out for the specialty pie that Mackenzie River Pizza will create specifically for the “Tip-A-Cop” event. During the fundraiser, Mackenzie River Pizza will donate $1 for each specialty pie sold that day.  Last year’s specialty pizza was “The Guardian” – a popular pie with pesto sauce, chicken, spinach, roasted garlic, red onions and mozzarella cheese.

The first “Tip-A-Cop” event with Mackenzie River Pizza was held in 2011 at the Whitefish location.  In 2012, the event expanded into the Kalispell locations. Bozeman, Belgrade and Helena held their first “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser in 2013, with Great Falls and Butte joining the effort in 2014.  This year, there will be 12 locations across Montana hosting a “Tip-A-Cop” event at Mackenzie River Pizza. In addition to Billings, Missoula is also for the first time hosting a “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser.

For more information on Special Olympics Montana and the “Tip-A-Cop” fundraiser, please visit www.somt.org.

To view photos of previous “Tip-A-Cop” fundraisers, visit the Special Olympics Montana online photo album at http://somt.smugmug.com/2014/MacKenzie-River-Pizza-TipaCop.

Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Montana

Tip-A-Cop is an official Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) fundraising event. In 2014, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® raised more than $550,000 for Special Olympics Montana.  This amount is generated through events like “Tip-A-Cop,” the Polar Plunge and the Torch Run Relay, where officers carry the Flame of Hope to the Special Olympics State Summer Games.