Does Bozeman Have More School Spirit Than Missoula?
Montana is split into two different sections. It isn't just Western Montana and Eastern Montana, it is "Griz Country" and "Cat Country". Montana's two biggest schools Montana State University in Bozeman and the University of Montana in Missoula are the closest thing our state sees to professional sports. Some fans on both sides could be described as "rabid". After all "fan" is short for the word "fanatic".
I Was Raised a Griz Fan
Full disclosure, I was raised a "Griz" fan. My first memories of seeing the "Griz Football" team play were a crisp cold October afternoon watching them play at Dornblaser Field on the corner of South and Higgins, before they moved to Washington-Grizzly Stadium. One of the first jokes I learned at a very young age is, "Do you know what the first two letters of Bobcats spell? BOOOOOO!". I understand it spells "BO", but rivalries don't always make sense.
Missoula vs. Bozeman
When it comes to which city supports their teams more, I always thought that Missoula was the undisputed champ, hands down. I am re-thinking that after spending a few days in Bozeman last week. I saw "Bobcat" logos almost everywhere I looked. You couldn't escape them. I am not talking about fans, and clothing. I am not talking about reader signs outside of businesses or windows painted with logos. I am talking about more permanent logos scattered across the city.
"Bobcat" Logos Everywhere
The city street signs around the campus have the "Bobcat" logo on them. We saw the "Bobcat" statue outside a CVS, not on campus. The entrance to a grocery store had a huge "Bobcat" logo in the tiles on the floor, not just a soda display with Dr. Pepper that says "Go Griz". The portable toilets had "Bobcat" logos on them too. The hotel had a "Bobcat" football helmet and bronze in the lobby. You can see those in Missoula hotels too. It really did seem like wherever you went their logo was there too.
Are All the Bozeman Logos Because of Recent Success
The Bobcats football team has had a lot of success over the past few years. They were lucky enough to have ESPN Game Day host the "Brawl of the Wild". Maybe there is something to that. Maybe I have become immune to seeing the "Griz" logo in Missoula and I don't notice it as much as I used to. Maybe it was because I was in an unfamiliar town so I noticed the little things all over town.
I am Still Very Much a Griz Fan
Does Bozeman actually support the Bobcats, more than Missoula supports the Griz? It all could just be my imagination. I am still very much a "Griz" fan. I will leave you with this, what do the first two letters of "Griz" spell? GRRRRR.