Maybe it's the long winters.

How else to explain why Montana and many of our neighboring Northern Tier states are tops on the list of places that absolutely love "Star Wars"? I guess we must all be bundled up inside 6-months out of the year, and between ski trips, ice fishing, and snowmobiles we're all secretly doing our "Force moves" and practicing with plastic light sabers.

A new analysis by the website (no, read that carefully. It's NOT or I would have been suspicious too) dived into Google Trends data for the past four years, from 2020 into 2023. And while Montana finished just out of the Top 10, it's still an impressive number given our relatively low population.

The data looked at the raw search for "Star Wars", using points averaged over 4 years.

Montana was at #11 out of all 50 "Star Wars" states

The Treasure State finished with a score of 72, just behind Wyoming with 73.5. So much for the "Cowboy State."

But what's interesting is that of the Top 10, only California and Arizona have access to what you would call "mild winters", although Lake Tahoe would dispute that this year. It looked more like the Ice Planet Hoth. In all the other states winter is a common factor. Utah finished first with a perfect "100". Maybe not surprising since half the state looks like Tatooine. But Alaska wasn't far behind with 87, with Idaho in at 85.

Others on top include Idaho, Washington, and Oregon (something going on there with Bigfoot sightings and Chewbacca I bet), with Colorado and Indiana. But other northern states like Michigan, Minnesota, and South Dakota weren't far off the pace.

Leia in Livingston? Han in Havre? Luke in Lewistown?

Either the stereotypical Montana "ranch family" has a lot more time in front of the "tube" than we thought, or Missoula, Bozeman, and Kalispell are burning up the broadband dreaming of "Bespin". It's interesting to note interest here peaked at "81" in 2021 when there were still some COVID kids at home, and "80" in 2023, about the time The Mandalorian and other Star Wars shows were dropping on Disney+.

Either that or Montana really IS on the "Outer Rim".

"May the Forsyth be with you"…

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