BILLINGS — The 121st edition of the Brawl of the Wild took place today. And while many headed to Bozeman for the showdown, the biggest sporting event of the year in the treasure state means big business for bars and restaurants around the Magic City.
The Montana - Montana State rivalry is one of the oldest in the country and fans of both schools packed eateries across Billings Saturday, to take in the showdown.
"Generally, we have quite a few people out but today we’re going to be fully packed. We put out an extra row of tables to make room for everyone. So, we’re expecting full capacity for the game today," said Regan Haman, a bartender at Hooligans said Saturday.
At Hooligans, as kickoff got underway, business was booming, and that full capacity meant a great day financially for restaurants around town.
"We’re probably going to double our sales today from what we normally do on a Saturday," added Haman
Across town at the Red Door, fans showed up early and just like at Hooligans, Brawl of the Wild has quickly become one of its busiest days of the year. For almost a decade the Red Door has been a go to spot for Bobcat Alumni to gather and watch the big game.
"This place will be packed. It’ll get to the point where it’s only standing room probably.... From this day to a normal day, I would say it bumps our sales up probably about 60%," said Bobbie Jo Montoya, bar manager at the Red Door said Saturday.
The day also "helps exposure and has consistently made a big difference" for the Red Door for years according to Montoya.
"It’s brought in more clientele every year from what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard from the couple years I’ve been here. It definitely just brings in people and it gets our name out there. The Red Doors name, so people know that we do these things here. So, they can come here and enjoy the game," added Montoya.
And despite the rivalry, the ability for both the Cats' and Griz fans to enjoy the game together is the "best part" of the day according to Haman.
"It’s great, we get a lot of rivalries, but we get a lot of good banter. Everyone is just joking around with each other, making bets, having a great time. So, it really does bring both sides together," Haman added.