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Brawl of the Wild game both dividing and uniting Montana for 122 years

Brawl of the Wild game both dividing and uniting Montana for 122 years
Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-17 20:26:01-05

BILLINGS — For 122 years, the annual college football game between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats generates both excitement and occasionally some friendly trash talk about which team is better as the game approaches.

It's a game that divides the state with Bobcat fans and Griz fans standing strong behind their favored team. But year after year, it brings thousands together into one stadium to watch as their team takes the field to battle in the Brawl of the Wild.

For longtime Bobcat fan Rick Steinmetz, when the brawl is in Bozeman, it's a day he wouldn't trade for any amount of money.

“Cat-Griz game, everybody wants (tickets), so you could sell your tickets double or even triple the value,” Steinmetz, who lives in Billings, said. “I had two guys last year offer me $600 a ticket.”

Steinmetz turned the two men down last year and instead showed up to the game with his granddaughter at 6 a.m. to see the ESPN pregame show College Gameday in Bozeman.

Steinmetz has 11 season tickets and enjoys taking his friends and grandkids to watch the college football games. But he won't be traveling to Missoula this year.

Instead, he'll be staying in Billings to watch the game to root for the Bobcats.

There are many fans across the state who refuse to step foot in the opposing team's stadium. On a KTVQ Facebook post, fans on both sides share their stories about why they don't want to attend the Brawl of the Wild when it is in the opposing city.

Some Bobcat and Griz fans go as far as to not stop in either Bozeman or Missoula to get gas while traveling.

There is one thing every fan has in common: Their support for whichever team and the excitement for the upcoming game. Whether attending the game this weekend or watching from afar, Montana college football fans come together year after year to watch in one way or another as the teams take the field.