It’s time. The 117th Brawl of the Wild is here and tensions are high across the whole state. Jabs about which school is better are all too common this time of year and, for the most part, it’s just playful joking that usually never goes too far.
As a community bank in Montana, we have plenty of grads from both schools and the rivalry runs deep here. With that in mind, we asked three employees to write a little bit about what the Cat/Griz, or Griz/Cat depending what team you root for, means to them! Enjoy!
The In Between-er
Cody Walk, Digital Media Coordinator
Cats or Griz? Blue or maroon? Bozeman or Missoula? For me, the answer is always…“Both!”
With no allegiance to either team, the Brawl of the Wild has been a little different for me. Having parents that attended college in Iowa and no other relatives that graduated from UM or MSU, I was never pressured to pick a side. Being born and raised in Billings didn’t sway me one way or the other either.
This next part may ruffle a few feathers, but as a child growing up, one year I would deck out in Griz gear for the game, and the next it would be all Bobcat blue and gold, usually depending on which team had the better record!
Even now, I still haven’t picked a team to cheer for. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching the game every year. I’m just saying I don’t bleed maroon or blue like the majority of Montanans. I went to Rocky Mountain College to get an education and play football, so even there I wasn’t forced to pick sides.
I played with a bunch of die-hard Griz and Cats fans in college though, so watching the games with them made for a very interesting day. I also have friends, and old Badlands Bowl & East-West Shrine Game teammates, who play for both teams so it’s always fun getting to watch them clash in one of the best football games of the year.
The best part about not having a team to root for during Cat/Griz? My team always wins!
Wytni Spranget, AVP, Gallatin Valley Market Operations Officer
I’m a true blue Bobcat fan. I bleed blue and gold. Born and raised in Bozeman by parents who attended MSU, there was no other choice for me.
I grew up being toted along to every Bobcat football and men’s basketball game. My memories are of my Uncle, Aunt and cousins coming over from Helena for the home football games in their Winnebago that served as the headquarters for tailgating no matter the weather.
I was there through the thick and thin along with the other true Bobcat fans that cheered on the student athletes through every losing or winning season. In my family, our two favorite teams are the Bobcats and whoever is playing the Grizzlies. My dad was a member of the Booster Club (now the Bobcat Club) and is a past Booster President.
Now I’m a board member of our local Bobcat Club Chapter, helping to raise funds for student athletic scholarships. Since I’m such a diehard Bobcat fan, people always assume I graduated from Montana State. However, as an 18-year-old who didn’t want to attend the local university, I went out of state to the University of North Dakota (the University of Montana was never on my radar since I’m allergic to maroon and silver).
Even though UND is now in our conference and I’m a UND alumnae, I cheer for the Bobcats. In the end, it’s about supporting our local student athletes. I’m proud to be a Bobcat and watch our local athletes succeed both on the field and in the classroom.
So everybody, let’s “Stand Up and Cheer… for dear Montana State.” Go Cats go!
Bill Toner, VP, Cash Management Services
First off, I’m not a “hater” like so many fans I’ve run into over the years. I’ve watched many of the Montana kids play high school football and I’m happy for them when they do well at either school.
I’ve had to try and console or convince some colleagues and friends from the “Cow College” over the years that it’s just a game…not a life and death event to get all worked up over.
Seems they agree with me when they win and tell me where I should go when my team wins! I’ve been watching the Griz since the Dornblaser Stadium days and it sure is nice to see 25,000+ of your closest friends clad in Maroon and Silver in the friendly confines of Washington Grizzly stadium (which is sooo much nicer than Dornblaser).
I’ve got to watch the most amazing wins, miracle comebacks and even crushing defeats all the while cheering on the many Montana born and bred players that define the heart of the team.
It always seems like it’s a Montana-born player that steps up and makes a special play or two for either side that makes the difference in any “Brawl of the Wild” game.
Maroon and Silver is the only color allowed in our house on gameday though, so if someone shows up in Blue and Gold then I thank them for wearing their Notre Dame colors. Go Griz!
When the dust settles, players shake hands, and the Monday trash talk is through, we go back to living our lives – and half of us with bragging rights for a year. Although the outcome is important for a lot of us, at the end of the day, it’s just a game.
I would wager that the great majority of us couldn’t recall the game scores of years prior, but rather the memories of fun times had at a tailgate, in the stadium, or at home watching with family and friends.
That’s what makes this game so special to Montana. It brings us all together in an odd way – dividing us.
It’s not uncommon for the game to be played in the snow, wind, and frigid temperatures, but no matter what, the stands are PACKED and spirits are high. This game reminds us that we’re all Montanans through and through and are blessed to live in such a great state where rivalries like this exist.
Go Cats and Go Griz!