COLSTRIP — The University of Montana Grizzlies defeated the Montana State Bobcats 37-7 on Saturday in Montana's rivalry football game. The stadium was packed with maroon, silver, blue and gold. In Colstrip, a local bar had a similar scene.
The rivalry between Montana State and the University of Montana dates back more than a century to the late 1800s.
“It can be intense (but it can also) be a lot of fun," said Eddy Strand, a UM alum, on Saturday. “I think it’s one of the top 5 oldest rivalries in the U.S. for college football."
At the Whiskey Gulch Saloon, it didn't matter if you were rooting for the Cats or the Griz. Everyone was invited to watch the 122nd Brawl of the Wild.
"I love both (teams). I love Montana in general, so go Cats and go Griz!” Connie Judge, the co-owner of the Whiskey Gulch Saloon, said on Saturday.
A special watch party was organized by UM alum, open to fans from both teams.
“Lots of good tailgate snacks. We’re going to do drawings, 50/50, prizes," said Terra Lei, an organizer of the watch party and alum of UM, on Saturday. "Lots of cowbells and lots of pom poms."
The bar, located at 17 Spruce Street in Colstrip, recently reopened and was excited to host the party.
“We sold the bar on contract and it came back to us," Judge said. "We just kind of revamped it and reopened."
It was a room divided as fans closely watched the game.
“I think that this is going to actually come down to whoever has the ball last," said Spiro Mack, a Cats fan, on Saturday. "(Today is) all about the teams getting on the field, playing each other, and the bragging rights for the year."
Attendees showed support for friends, family, and strangers on the team.
"I had friends that went and played for the Griz. My wife, she went to the school there, and her stepdad (and his father) played for the Griz," Bear Lei, a Griz fan, said on Saturday. "Now our daughter goes there, she’s a freshman this year."
Other attendees, like Mack, were supporting locals now on the teams.
“There are 92 players (from Montana) on the roster between the two schools,” Mack said. “Look up the road to Melstone, we got our starting defensive end, Brody Grebe. Melstone, Montana. Who would have thought."
Colstrip locals have long been recruited to join the teams.
“There’s been some Colstrip graduates from the high school that have played in Missoula for the Griz and Bozeman for the Bobcats," Terra Lei said. "So this town’s kind of half and half."
Regardless of the final score, fans were excited to come together as a community but still poked fun at one another.
When asked what they were most excited about from the game, Strand and Mack (fans from opposing teams) answered in unison, "The win!"
It was all in good spirits, celebrating Montana’s teams.
“Oh, I think it will be loud. Definitely lots of fun,” Judge said. “Good, friendly competition."